A dazzling display of creativity and skill

The Royal Opera House Design Challenge is an engaging design skills programme tailored for students in Years 11-13. It aims to enhance their problem-solving abilities, deepen their understanding of careers, and establish connections between STEM and the arts. Moreover, it can help students develop empathy skills crucial for designing for diverse audiences and user groups. Teaching staff can draw upon expertise at Royal Opera House (ROH) and draw upon the connections between STEM and the arts at with consideration to set design, costume design, hair wigs and make-up design for performance.

Ellie, a Year 12 Design and Textiles student, recently participated in this renowned competition. She followed the same process as a professional designer and met the brief set out by the ROH director. 

Ellie tackled a brief centred on opera, curated a portfolio, produced storyboards and crafted a final design piece.  In line with the project and the directors' vision, Ellie watched "The Barber of Seville" opera while conducting research on the characters and contemplated how to incorporate this into her designs. She focused on designing a costume for Rosina, the leading lady in “The Barber of Seville”.  Her favourite scene was towards the end, where Rosina finally discovers that the man she loves is actually a count who can rescue her from the control of her guardian, Bartolo. In this scene, they have an impromptu wedding ceremony in the courtyard.

Ellie’s design takes on board that the outfit she will wear will be made up of items gathered from her wardrobe. A full dress with skirt overlay was designed. Ellie focussed on making the bodice fully from drafting the pattern to final hand stitching to realising her full design conception.

A beautiful midnight navy silk bodice has been handcrafted by Ellie and is currently on display in the SWPS Atrium. 

With elegance and sophistication, combining intricate detailing and impeccable craftsmanship, her creation is a true testament to her talent and vision.

The Royal Opera House Design Challenge showcases the best in fashion, and Ellie's presence has certainly made an impact. Her unique design has been described by Head of Textiles as a beautiful fusion of contemporary and classic, creating a perfect harmony that evokes a sense of timeless beauty.

We wish Ellie luck in this prestigious competition.