A creative student combined his design skills with style and sustainability to win the Gawthorpe Fashion Challenge.

Finlay Maguire, 17, was recognised for his bold, character-driven pieces which featured reused clothing to ensure minimum impact on the environment.

The competition saw teams create, photograph, and present fashion concepts around the theme of upcycling and sustainability.

Finlay, from Bacup, studies graphic communication, media, and product design at Burnley College.

Lancashire Telegraph: Finlay Maguire was the winner of this year's Gawthorpe Fashion ChallengeFinlay Maguire was the winner of this year's Gawthorpe Fashion Challenge (Image: Burnley College)

He said: “I’ve always been into design and creating, and I undertook a project to highlight funding in the NHS. As part of that, I started creating merchandise, experimenting with screen printing and gradients.

“An opportunity to venture into fashion came when my tutor, having seen the work I’d created, suggested I take part in a fashion show, which really intrigued me.

“I view all art as a form of expression, and think strong art carries a profound meaning. Themes of sustainability had already been part of my work for some time, using clothing from charity shops – which also provides a huge variety in the type and vibe of the garments you get to work with.”

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The competition is an annual event organised by the Gawthorpe Textiles Collection, an internationally-renowned collection in Padiham.

Amanda Odlin, from the University of Central Lancashire, is one of the people responsible for staging the competition, and said the subject resonated with the young designers.

She said: “Fast fashion is a significant issue when it comes to sustainability and we wanted to see how young people would go about promoting slow fashion and environmentally conscious design among their peers.

“The competition is also a hugely educational experience for the participants who get to work alongside mentors from textile backgrounds who are experts in their field, passing on so much valuable knowledge.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Finlay is in the process of developing his own fashion and lifestyle brandFinlay is in the process of developing his own fashion and lifestyle brand (Image: Burnley College)

Speaking about Finlay’s success, Amanda added: “His graphic skills are evident, but what really impressed us was his open-minded approach on how to translate those skills into creating incredible fashion that really stands out.

“You saw every side of his personality in his process and his designs. He has a quiet dedication while working, but then a vibrant, playful side emerges during photoshoots.

“Whatever he chooses to do, he will do brilliantly.”

Looking to the future, Finlay said: “I’m currently in the process of developing a lifestyle and clothing brand. I’m envisaging a unique marketing style with the use of characters to model the clothes in a cinematic universe, and comic strips for each style of clothing, adding extra layers of detail and interest.”