A TRIO of students has been shortlisted to present their textile collections to renowned fashion designer Sir Paul Smith at his studio in London.

The three University Centre Colchester students will go head-to-head and one lucky designer will receive the 2018 Nicole Abbott Award which includes a placement at Sir Paul’s studio in April.

The award was jointly launched by UCC and the fashion brand in memory of Colchester graduate Nicole Abbott, 34, who died in 2013 after a long battle with cancer.

After graduating, Nicole worked as Sir Paul’s assistant for many years.

Fashion students Darcie Olley, Emily Sexton and Hayley Chapman were chosen by Paul Smith designers as well as Nicole’s mother Suzanne Abbott for their textile collections.

Darcie said: “Being chosen to present my designs to him is a real honour and a truly exciting opportunity.

“The inspiration behind my interior-based textile collection came from researching into species of animals and birds such as the Tasmanian tiger and the passenger pigeon, now sadly extinct.

“My aim was to commemorate these lost species through vibrant patterns and hopefully remind people to respect the natural world, in an effort to not lose further creatures to extinction.”

Hayley looked to unite the indoors and outdoors but by using two contrasting themes - ceramic and florals.

She said: “The ceramic inspiration came from the Sir Percival David collection at the British Museum and botanical elements were sourced from Kew Gardens as well as local gardens.

“I’ve always been interested in the outdoors and exploring. This is what I wanted to bring into an interior print collection with homely collections of vases with bold and unusual forms.”

Emily chose to create two mini collections inspired by Scandinavian culture and florals.

“The culture-related prints described three culture types of Scandinavia including fishing, mountain and farming villages,” she said.

“The floral side of the collection was inspired by rare mountain fauna found only in Scandinavia.”

She added: “I’m so excited about being selected. It will be a great insight into the industry and to also get Paul Smith’s feedback on my work will be priceless.”