Youngsters help international designer to add sparkle to Catwalk

International fashion designer Debbie Wingham is working with patients at Alder Hey Hospital and students at The City of Liverpool College to help them create a stunning collection of designs to feature on The Very Big Catwalk, and even make a guest appearance at London Fashion Week.

Debbie, designer of the world’s most expensive diamond dress, is working with the aspiring young designers during a series of workshops in the run up to Liverpool’s Transatlantic 175 celebrations on 4 July, which includes the record breaking catwalk, in association with retail giant

Debbie Wingham with the fashion students at City of Liverpool College
Debbie Wingham with the fashion students at City of Liverpool College

Items created by The City of Liverpool College students, aged 17 to 45, include spectacular outfits for them to wear on The Very Big Catwalk such as brightly coloured evening wear splashed with jewels and stretch fabrics combined with elegant chiffon prints for the fashion savvy.

All of which will be accessorised with bold and bright Duct Tape Mache handbags, headpieces, necklaces and belts, created by the talented children at Alder Hey Hospital.

Not only will the lucky Liverpool students proudly parade their designs on the city’s giant runway on 4 July, but they will also join Debbie at London Fashion Week in September, where they will get to model their creations at the world famous fashion event in front of Britain’s most acclaimed models and designers.

The workshops are part of Deborah’s creative academy, Future of Fashion, which aims to help youngsters learn new creative skills and gain confidence through a series of design activities. Pupils learn skills including upcycling, template and pattern-making skills, design and mood-board techniques.

Debbie Wingham said: “I love fashion and I adore working with children – I have three of my own. So it is extremely rewarding to be able to combine two of my greatest passions and pass on my experience and knowledge to the next generation of young designers.

“The children of Liverpool are extremely talented and have come up with some absolutely amazing designs – who knows, you may indeed have the next Giorgio Armani or Donatella Versace in your midst. I’m sure the city will be very proud to see what their youngsters have created and that their designs will light up the runway on 4 July”.

Debbie’s creations, which include the $17.7 million red diamond abaya dress, have featured in Vogue and Vanity Fair, been worn by Hollywood’s most acclaimed actresses and appeared on shows including Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty.

Vicky Charnock, Alder Hey Children’s Foundation Trust , Arts co-ordinator, said: “These workshops are a great way for our patients to engage in working with an internationally renowned fashion designer, learning new skills and techniques in fashion designing, and a chance to take part in this exciting project which will be showcased in the centre of Liverpool in July”.

Poppy Chantler, a 19 year old fashion design student at Liverpool City College said: “Debbie was so encouraging and friendly. She gave us all great advice, not just on our designs, but also how to break into such a tough industry like fashion.

“I loved working in such a fast paced way as we had to design and create a red carpet gown in only 2 days, so it was nerve-wracking, but incredibly exciting at the same time and everyone came up with a variety of great garments and I can’t wait to showcase mine with Debbie during London Fashion Week!”.

Jan Schofield, head of fashion, art and design at Liverpool City College, added: “The Debbie Wingham competition is a fantastic initiative which allows students to present their designs and work in a setting which related directly to the way one would work within the industry. I was thrilled these students acted in such a professional and proactive manner throughout the workshops”.

The Transatlantic 175 weekend is curated by Creative Director Wayne Hemingway MBE and organised by Liverpool City Council to mark the 175th anniversary of Transatlantic travel and celebrate the Transatlantic links between fashion capital New York and Liverpool.

The Very Big Catwalk, in associated with retail giant, is attempting to smash the Guinness World Record for ‘most models on a catwalk’ – Mexico City currently holding the title with 3,083 participants.

It aims to capture every aspect of Liverpool’s diverse community, everyone from canines to carers, brownies to belly dancers and hockey players to hospice workers will be gracing the catwalk.

The Very Big Catwalk will take place at the Pier Head in Liverpool on Saturday 4 July at 5pm.

If you are interesting in taking part in the catwalk please visit to enter or for more information follow @OMCLpool on Twitter and One Magnificent City Liverpool on Facebook.

Liverpool Waterfront