Three candidates pitched their business ideas at the Student Enterprise Team (SET) Challenge finale to a panel of expert judges after battling and perfecting their concepts over the last four months, Contour brand Lara Intimates was awarded Gold and won £5000 to help develop their business. 

SET Challenge winners Lara Intimates (Cynthia Liberman and Faith Leeves – BA (Hons) Fashion Contour)

The teams have been developing their ideas since November before reaching the finale of the Student Enterprise Team (SET) Challenge. The finalist groups were Lara Intimates (Cynthia Liberman and Faith Leeves – BA (Hons) Fashion Contour), Brand With Benefits (Patricia Zasadzinska – MSc International Fashion Management), who was came Silver and won £2000, and Atelier Theory (Zoe Shaughnessy, Guilherme Campello, Michelle Muirhead and Pak Chiu – MSc Applied Psychology in Fashion), whom were awarded £1500 for finishing Bronze.

All three finalists at SET Challenge finale.

There was a total of 72 submissions and a total of 82 students. 56 applications were individuals and 16 applied as a team. 44 students applied from Fashion Business School, 28 from School of Design and Technology and 10 from School of Media and Communications. Most applications came from MSc Applied Psychology in Fashion, followed by BA (Hons) Fashion Marketing and MA Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation. SET coordinator Tim Isle spoke to us after the event. He said, “It’s incredible to see how far the finalists have come since they started working on their ideas. We are proud to be part of their journey.”

SET Challenge judges were Andrew Hughes, Professor Frances Corner, and Professor Helen Storey (L-R).

Professor Frances Corner, Head of London College of Fashion, Helen Storey and Andrew Hughes, Dean of Fashion Business School, were the judges of the competition. Matthew Drinkwater, Head of Fashion Innovation Agency at LCF, gave a presentation of his department’s work in a bid to showcase to students what is happening in digital fashion and how it might be relatable to their work. He spoke about the future of innovation and ways to both technology and fashion can work with one another in the future.

The winning team, Lara Intimates, was made up of BA (Hons) Fashion Contour students Cynthia Liberman and Faith Leeves. The pair pitched to the judges their sustainable women’s underwear business model. Cynthia and Faith launched are hoping to launch their business in September 2017, offering a complete underwear wardrobe for women that rivals high-street styles but also incorporates sustainability into their ethics. The pair aims are to source locally and keep production within the UK, ideally wherever they setup up their business so they can oversee all of the production. All the garments are made out of 80% or more reclaimed materials, they use industry offcuts, unused or dyed by large factories or brands. They hope to open a Lara Intimates factory in east London by 2022, calling it a ‘central base for all design, manufacturing and business operations’. The judges awarded them for their concept, research, and presentation.

MSc International Fashion Management student Patricia Zasadzinska presenter her Brand with Benefits idea at SET Challenge.

MSc International Fashion Management student Patricia Zasadzinska was awarded 2nd Prize for her Brands with Benefits business idea. Her idea is to provide a matchmaking platform for start-ups and freelancers to source collaborations, business partnerships, and grow their business through strategic alliances. Although platforms like LinkedIn and The Dots already exist, Patricia wants to target recently graduated or new to the industry individuals. She explained to the judges that there has been a significant rise in creative start-ups but there aren’t any tools to encourage networking and collaboration between creatives at all levels. The judges were very impressed with her research and presentation, and how she targeted Millenials and felt she was onto a successful business already.

Atelier Theory came 3rd. L-R: Pak Chiu, Zoe Shaughnessy, Guilherme Campello and Michelle Muirhead.

Collective fashion psychology group Atelier Theory were awarded Bronze at the finale. Zoe Shaughnessy, Guilherme Campello, Michelle Muirhead and Pak Chiu are all course mates on MSc Applied Psychology in Fashion and have previously gained experience in multiple different disciplines. The group said they wanted to offer a “fresh perspective on the consultancy model by rooting our research in psychological underpinnings, which is the study of human behaviour.” Psychology within the field of fashion is still a relatively new and gray subject, Atelier Theory told the judges they have a very niche market at the moment but she this as an area with tremendous growth potentials as the industry slowly addresses sustainability and ethics. The team was awarded £1,500 for finishing Bronze, the judges also said they expect them to eventually be millionaires because of their idea but suggested it needed a little more contextualising to make it a fully functioning business idea. 

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