Just how much fun can a writer have?
Try sitting in a room between Oxford Circus in London (where all the best high street stores are) and Bond Street (where all the top end designers are), looking at the top 30 entries from THE FASHION COMPETITION BASED ON YOUR BOOK.
There were over 200 entries altogether. The judges were from Chicken House (my lovely publisher, Rachel, and me), Modus Publicity (who’ve done the amazing fashion PR for Threads), Tammy (who will make the winning outfit and give the winner and runner-up lots of free Tammy stuff), and Bliss magazine (who will do the photo shoot of the winning dress).
The top 30 entrants – all girls, as far as I know – had put in loads of work and created some beautiful mood boards and folders. We sat around eating yummy sandwiches (OK, it was mostly me eating the yummy sandwiches) and admiring them. There were lots of gasps of pleasure and amazement as we saw something beautiful and original that caught our eye.
So how did we whittle it down to the top 10 finalists, the Highly Commended (we couldn’t resist), the Second Place and the Winner?
Well … we loved designs that
- had interpreted the brief well (which was ‘your idea of the perfect dress’, with descriptions of accessories, fabric and signature details)
- were dresses that girls would want to wear next season – something that’s so hard to do, but means being naturally in tune with the way fashion is developing
- showed a lot of work and thought – making it quick and easy for us all to imagine the dress – how it would be made and how it would look when it was finished
- were really original – showing the unique eye of the designer.
As the competition went on, lots of the younger entrants were worried their designs wouldn’t be good enough to match the older entrants. But we were sure that talent and hard work would show through, regardless of the age of the winner.
And that’s what happened. Because we all agreed that our favourite design – the one that Tammy is really looking forward to making and Bliss are really looking forward to photographing – was by Jewel Simpfendorfer, who’s 11.
CONGRATULATIONS, JEWEL! (And yes, by the way, we loved your name too, but it was definitely your design that won.)
I have a picture of it on my phone and I’d love to show you, but I don’t dare, because Bliss might want an exclusive preview! However, when I can, I will.
Calling Jewel this afternoon was one of the most fun things I’ve had to do. It reminded me of the call Barry Cunningham made to me to say that Threads had won the Chicken House competition. And I think I was as stunned and disbelieving as Jewel was when I called her.
I’ll give you the list of the second place, highly commended and runners-up people when I have it in full. I’d hate to leave anyone out! But meanwhile, THANK YOU ALL OF YOU for entering. You were stars. I’m sorry if you didn’t win, but we were so impressed by the thought you put into the competition, the amount of fashion references you had, the amazing drawings you did and the stunning outfits you came up with. Hopefully, this means there might be another competition one day …
By the way, the strangest moments were when the lovely Michaela from Tammy explained how easy or tricky it would be to make up the designs, and whether or not they were ‘commercial’. It was EXACTLY like a couple of scenes in book 2 (out in May, yada yada yada). Eerily so.
I do wish I’d experience these scenes first, then write about them, rather than the other way around, which is the way it always seems to happen. Luckily, I have a final round of tweaks to make to the manuscript next week, so I can incorporate a couple of new ideas then. And when you read those scenes, you’ll know that I was there and that, if you entered the competition, so were you!