Shrewsbury Colleges Group students had the chance to design and make clothes and accessories to be sold to Christmas shoppers in the Darwin Centre.
In the build-up to Christmas, SCG’s second year Extended Diploma in Fashion & Textiles students have spent their time working on an unusual and exciting project: creating products to be sold for profit in Shrewsbury’s largest shopping centre.
Since the second year students are currently studying a unit about promotion and marketing, Helen Morgan, the Curriculum Leader for Art & Design, thought that setting up a pop-up shop would be the perfect way for them to put their ideas into practice. With the help of Shrewsbury BID, the college secured a unit in the Darwin Centre from 8 to 10 December, meaning the students got to venture into the world of retail while the centre of Shrewsbury was packed with Christmas shoppers.
The products created by the students included everything from graphic t-shirts and wrap-around trousers to crocheted hats and handmade jewellery. Their colourful, one-of-a-kind pieces were a stand-out feature in the shopping centre throughout the week, resulting in the shop becoming more successful than they’d ever envisioned.
Bethany Gregson, 17, with a display of the printed bags she created for the pop-up shop.
For most of the students, this has been their first chance to sell their own designs. Bethany Gregson, 17, spoke enthusiastically about the experience: “This is the first time I’ve got to see clothes I made for sale. It’s been amazing. It’s only been two hours and I’ve sold two bags already.”
Bethany made an array of printed bags to sell, which were directly inspired by what she’s been studying at college. “We’ve done a lot of sustainability units and these bags are made from sustainable materials,” she explained. “They’re also reversible, so you get two-in-one and don’t go out and buy loads of bags.”
Elizabeth Opare, 18, also created her own bags for the pop-up shop. This wasn’t Elizabeth’s first experience selling her own items, but she used the opportunity to take a different approach to her designs: “I already had an embroidery tote bag business, so I wanted to include fabrics of where I’m from, which is Ghana.”
Elizabeth Opare, 18, modelling one of her tote bag designs.
Every student in the group imbued their products with personality and individuality. The overall result was the shop feeling like a collection of small business stands, which was what Helen aimed to achieve when organising the project. “They sourced all the materials themselves, paid for everything themselves, and they are actually selling them for profit,” she said. “They are experiencing running a small business.”
As this is a future career path for many Fashion & Textiles students, the popularity of their pop-up shop has provided them with a thorough insight into how to succeed as a small business owner.