Students' seal of approval from Very

Representatives from the Shop Direct Group joined the judging panel for Hugh Baird College’s Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design End of Year Degree Show last week. Organised by Hugh Baird’s Foundation Degree and BA (Hons) students, the annual event showcases their final course work with prizes awarded for the best.

Shop Direct Group is the UK’s leading online and home shopping retailer, with brands such as Littlewoods, Very and Isme. Their Head of Merchandising, Annie Ventre, and Merchandiser for Ladies, Celebrities; Men’s and Sportswear, Jackie Stockdale, helped select the winning designs at a Private Viewing to launch the exhibition. This year’s themes were based around ‘Retail Facelift’, using creative thinking skills to come up with ways to improve the high street with concepts for the future. Best in Show went to Foundation Degree student Olivia Watts for ‘Digital Double’ and BA (Hons) student, Lesley Armstrong, for ‘Compartment Stall’. Olivia’s concept would replace standard fitting rooms with scanning rooms, where the customer’s image, complete with skin tone and hair colour, would be uploaded to an interactive screen. The technology would then suggest clothes to flatter the customer’s shape and allow them to see on screen exactly what they would look like in the clothes. Lesley’s idea was for modern day market stalls to entice people into town centres and give struggling independent retailers the same platform as the big chains. Winner of the Tutors’ Award, chosen not only for her standard of work but also for her commitment, distance travelled and creative thinking was BA (Hons) student, Kirsty Isibor. Her concept was ‘MixMix’, offering shoppers the chance to mix, but not match, their clothes and encouraging them to push the boundaries of traditional styles. Her idea offered a new concept on the interface between customer and retailer, taking their experience outside the boundaries of the store.

Speaking at the private viewing, judge Jackie Stockdale from Shop Direct Group Liverpool said: “It’s our first time at the event and we’ve been very impressed. It was an absolute pleasure to be a part of the judging panel. The students’ work is truly amazing and they’ve done a fantastic job of thinking outside the box. They’ve created imaginative concepts that could transform the shopping experience of the future.”

The free of charge public viewing of the exhibition took place on 24th and 25th May at the University of Liverpool’s Foresight Centre. If you would like to find out more about the Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design courses at Hugh Baird College, why not come along and speak to the tutors and students at the College’s Open Day on Wednesday, 20th June at the Sixth Form Centre, Balliol Road, Bootle. Alternatively, follow Hugh Baird College on Facebook to see footage and photos from the exhibition.

Image Gallery available on Facebook

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