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Reading College students compete in future fashion tech competition

Students take on digital challenge with festival-inspired raincoat concept.

29 November 2018

Four students from Activate Learning’s Reading College showcased an interactive raincoat for festival goers at an innovative schools competition at the end November.

The Fashtec challenge brought together around 80 participants from a dozen schools and colleges, and formed part of the Festival of Digital Disruption (FoDD), a celebration of digital creativity and innovation that took place from 21-23 November at Reading Town Hall.

The event challenged students to assess how design is evolving in the digital age and its aim was for students from creative backgrounds to investigate the exciting tech-based careers options open to them. The test was to design a wearable piece of tech or a store concept that would appeal to one of five characters especially created for the event by a local illustrator.

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Reading College’s team was made up of Jennifer Foy, Bryce Richards, Lynette Dikobe and Oskar Artur Bandrowski, all studying fashion and textiles. Their idea was inspired by the Reading Festival and involved a raincoat with an integrated circuit board that displayed personalised messages and connected to information on the bands performing via an app. The garment would also have a tracking device allowing festival goers to establish their location and find lost friends.

In the build up to the judging, competitors were supported with masterclasses on product and app design, branding and pitch training. The judges were particularly impressed by the team’s professional design boards which gave clear guidance for their concept.

Caroline Blackburn, a Creative arts tutor at Reading College said. “Fashion design, like any creative industry, is changing rapidly to respond to advances in technology.

“This competition was a fun, imaginative way for our students to make connections, develop ideas and enhance the skills they’ll need to succeed in tech-based business.

We’d like to thank everybody involved; the organisers, mentors, speakers and our fellow competitors. Well done to everyone.”

Reading College participant Bryce Richards said "I really valued the Julie Guppy presentation on branding and learnt lots of new information that I will take on board in future projects."

Fellow Reading College student and competitor Lynette Dikobe said “Presenting on stage in front of so many people was scary but now having done it once, I feel I can only improve next time."