Super Stitchers at The Stitch Festival 2024

Amira Bouaziz and Aaqilah Mohamed Nowfal with their garments.

At the end of March, two of Farnborough College of Technology’s fashion and textiles students will be heading to the capital for the final of The Stitch Festival 2024, where their designs will be on display and then showcased on the runway by two models who were recently Miss Surrey finalists.

Over the past year the stitchers, Amira Bouaziz and Aaqilah Mohamed Nowfal, dedicated considerable effort to their assignments and independently chose to enter the competition – which is renowned as one of London’s premier events for contemporary dressmaking – after their lecturer informed them about it.

Amira said that she applied with the steadying thought that the worse they could say is ‘no’. As a designer passionate about big, showstopping garments, her look was inspired by Zaha Hadid’s impressive, undulating architecture and is a culmination of years of commitment, exemplified by her grade 9 in textiles. She aims to pursue haute couture as her profession beyond her time at the College.

Keen to highlight the negative ecological impact of fast-fashion landfill, Aaqilah worked with genuine off-cuts and scraps of fabric from Farnborough College of Technology’s sewing studio. Employing textile manipulation, a skill acquired during her Level 3 Fashion and Textiles course, she created her thought-provoking piece. With her strong background in textiles and art, where she achieved grades 8 and 9 respectively at school, she feels prepared for this monumental moment and anticipates that this experience will establish the groundwork for her future career in designing occasion wear and bridal garments.

Virginia Barrett, Principal CEO of Farnborough College of Technology passed on her congratulations, saying: “The students have worked diligently throughout their course, completing several different briefs and assignments, which ultimately led to them creating the garments suitable for The Stitch Festival. We are very proud to have the College represented at the 2024 competition and are delighted that they can showcase their creations to the public and the judges.”

Speaking on the competition, award-winning lecturer in fashion and textiles, Samantha Jones said: “It’s amazing that they’ve taken on an extra-curricular activity and put their work out there to be judged – something that is daunting for anyone in this industry, let alone a student. I’m so proud of their hard work and glad that it is being rewarded. Let’s see what the finals have in store!”

Speaking on her journey from GCSEs to present day, Amira shared: “The main takeaway is that you shouldn’t compare your approach or your designs to others because they’re unique and your own style. The only thing stopping you is thinking that you can’t do it.”

Aaqilah spoke on her decision to pursue art and design in further education, explaining: “You learn a lot of different skills on this course and what really persuaded me to come here was the quality of the student work on the open day.” When thinking about her decision to enter the competition, she said: “I just think that people should keep trying new things, keep experimenting and remember not to be afraid.”

Both students are looking forward to watching their garments glide down the catwalk and the College wishes them all the best for the finals and their bright futures in fashion.

Aaqilah working on her garment inspired by the impact of fast-fashion.
Amira working on her garment inspired by undulating architecture.
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