A FORMER Colchester student has been recognised for her sustainable fashion designs inspired by the Essex coast.

Katherine-Jayne Watts won an award at the annual Graduate Fashion Week event.

Her collection, called the Last Breath, picked up the top prize for sportswear and leisurewear, sponsored by Tessuti.

Katherine-Jayne, a former St Mary’s School and Colchester Sixth Form College student, used her grandfather’s old boat sails and life jackets which were then repurposed into new jackets.

She also intertwined nautical references of maps used to navigate the River Blackwater and Colne and the ropes from the sails in the collection.

The University of Portsmouth student said: “I was shocked to be shortlisted for two awards at Graduate Fashion Week and very pleased to win the award for sports and leisurewear. My collection, the Last Breath, reflects the essence of the sea by using materials that all have a connection with the sea.

“In my collection, I have combined old life jackets with the sails my grandfather once used and re-purposed old boat fenders into bags.

“I used old nautical charts of the coastal marshes on the Essex/Suffolk coast as inspiration for my printed fabrics.”

This year’s awards saw designers focus on sustainably and the need to re-use clothing.

Katherine-Jayne said she hoped to inspire young people to be more cautious about the brands they buy.

She also urged brands to make a conscious effort to be more environmentally friendly.

She said: “I want my work to inspire the industry to do better.

“I hope to influence the fashion world to do better and I think I can contribute to a better, greener future.

“The fashion world is capable of innovation and within such an industry I would love to be able to continue developing my ideas.”

The Graduate Fashion Week ends with the Gala Catwalk Awards which celebrate the talent of tomorrow.

More than 150 judges assessed the collections and decided on the 23 award winners.