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Student Competition

Win specialist training at Shima Seiki Headquarters Wakayama, Japan and at Shima Seiki Europe Head Office in Derbyshire, UK

Your Challenge

Using Shima Seiki Apex 3 Design software, demonstrate an innovative approach to fashion or textiles development, showcasing a balance of originality and commercial suitability incorporating virtual sampling as a smart way to work.

The Prize

5 days specialist training on the use of the Apex 3 Design Software at Shima Seiki Headquarters in Wakayama, Japan – all expenses paid, with an additional 2 days incorporated for relaxation and sightseeing. This is followed by a further 5 days training at Shima Seiki Europe Head Office, Castle Donington, Derbyshire where training will be given on the transition of your projects created using the Design software onto Shima Seiki knitting machines, so you can program, knit and operate the machine.

The Brief

Your lecturers should set you a brief that relates to the current commercial market and could connect to a project you’re currently working on.

Convey your ideas within your designs and with your choice of colours.

Gather inspiration and images relating to your topic, to create a mood board which shows your concept and colour palette.

Drawing inspiration from your mood board, start designing a selection of fabrics using Shima Seiki design software found on the Apex 3. This can be knit, weave, print, embroidery or a mixture of all these applications.

Feel free to mix processes, experiment with different techniques and machinery. Make sure you use the variety of equipment your university has to offer.

Try and incorporate different structures and textures – don’t just rely on colours to demonstrate your concept!

Create a collection of at least 6 different designs, incorporating different colourways to demonstrate a variety of possibilities.

Present at least one of your designs mapped onto a sketch, photograph or 3D model.

All applicants must show evidence of the following

  • Development of designs working from concept to final outcome.
  • CAD skills using Shima Seiki's design system with an innovative approach to virtual sampling tools
  • Excellent presentation and a clear concept.
  • Designs with universal appeal that must fit into the commercial market.

As your work is being judged by industry experts, it is essential to show that there is a commercial aspect to your designs and that you understand the commercial market.

Entry Requirements

The competition is open to all final year and MA fashion and textiles students in the UK and Ireland. All applicants must have access to a Shima Seiki Apex 3 Design System.


You should have produced a strong collection of virtual samples and potentially knitted swatches which reflects all aspects of your project brief.

We expect to see the following:

  • a written statement explaining your design ideas, inspiration, market potential and end product ideas (max. 600 words).
  • also include in your statement a brief outline on what your plans are for your future career. For example, will you look to develop your skills in the use of cutting-edge CAD technology such as Apex for product development via virtual sampling, or are you more technically minded and so will seek a career in say knitting programming?
  • A3 mood board
  • your work mounted on a maximum of four boards, up to A2 size
  • we also offer you the opportunity to submit one extra piece of work, which does not have to be mounted on board. (for example, a finished article or garment)
  • incorporated in the above, we expect to see evidence of your use of the Shima Seiki Apex 3 Design System.

Judging Criteria- What we are looking for...

Work will be judged on the originality of the overall concept and how that is balanced with commercial viability, it is essential for the designs to fit into the commercial industry. Innovative use of the Shima Seiki software and machinery is key; take technique, yarns, materials and colour into consideration using both virtual and real sampling.

The judging will take place over two stages. At the first stage, the judges review all submitted work and draw up a short-list.

For the second stage, short listed students will be invited to Shima Seiki’s offices in Castle Donington for ‘Finals Day’ on 27th March 2019 where students will have the opportunity to discuss their competition entry and some of their other work with the judging panel on a one-to-one basis.

The judging panel will consist of Shima Seiki Staff, Aimee Wilson - Head Designer Boardman Bros Ltd and Nikki Newport - Design Studio & CAD Manager for Menswear Design Marks & Spencer PLC

Send submission boards, additional piece of work and written statement to:

Shima Seiki Europe Ltd,
Sills Road,
Willow Farm Business Park,
Castle Donington,
DE74 2US.

Please make sure to include your name, return address, e-mail and phone number in your submission.

Closing date

Closing date for final submissions is Friday 8th February, work will not be considered after this date.

Short listed applicants will be notified by email.