Heriot-Watt textiles student has designs on the big time

A Bird's Tale is one of the three designs selected to represent the UK in the Bemz People's Choice

A Heriot-Watt textiles student has been picked to represent the UK in a prestigious international competition and could see her designs marketed worldwide.

Bemz Design Award

Twenty three year old Nilufar Islam, a third year student at the School of Textiles and Design, has joined a shortlist of just three UK entries for the Bemz Design Award.

Now the public can vote online at www.bemz.com/designaward/vote-now for their favourite design in the next phase of the competition, The Bemz People's Choice. Voting opens on 1 February and runs to the end of the month.

The three UK entrants will compete against peers from France, Germany and Sweden, for the chance to have their design sold by Bemz, a Swedish company best-known for its extensive range of slipcovers for IKEA furniture.

One lucky winner from each country will win the chance to have their design introduced into the ranks of the Bemz Designer Collection.

If Nilufar wins for the UK, her name will sit alongside long-established and illustrious designers like Marimekko and Designers Guild.

International final

I'm so excited to have been selected and for the judges to admire and see potential in my design. A Bird's Tale was very much inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement, a movement which I believe revolutionised interior design

Nilufar Islam, Heriot-Watt textiles student 

The final four winners will go forward to the international final, judged in Sweden in April, when the overall winner will be chosen.

The UK judging panel, which comprises Abigail Ahern, designer and author; Barbara Chandler, journalist and author; Abigail Edwards, interiors stylist and designer, and Will Taylor, freelance interiors journalist and author, were extremely impressed with the level of the entries from universities and art colleges across the UK.

Chosen from 34 entries to join the UK shortlist of three, Nilufar said how much she enjoyed working on the Bemz Design Awards. "It was a great opportunity to showcase my work and to execute my qualities and skills as a designer. I'm so excited to have been selected and for the judges to admire and see potential in my design. A Bird's Tale was very much inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement, a movement which I believe revolutionised interior design."

Nilufar is going to have her work cut out during February. Against stiff competition, Nilufar has also secured a week's internship with the renowned fashion designer Julien Macdonald in the run up to London Fashion Week. His studio was reportedly very impressed with Nilufar's intricate and detailed hand sewn work and the projects she had completed last summer while interning at the Scottish Bebaroque fashion label, suppliers of decorative and embroidered tights and bodysuits.

"We're delighted that one of our students has made the shortlist of this prestigious international competition," said Mark Parker, Director of Studies for Textiles at the School of Textiles and Design.

"The competition brief really echoes our approach which is for students to develop their design and business skills by working closely with industry."