Sale student Sian Whitefoot is the queen of the corset after winning the Lingerie Designer of the Year title

Sian Whitefoot

Sian Whitefoot - Credit: Archant

WORDS BY POLLY BERKELEY PHOTOGRAPHY BY kirsty thompson

Sale student Sian Whitefoot had her future mapped out when she left school for college but as the saying goes the best laid plans...often go awry.

For the 21-year-old former Sale High School pupil, a change of direction has led to an amazing opportunity and the major accolade of Lingerie Designer of the Year.

Sian scooped the title at the prestigious international Triumph Inspiration Awards beating off global competition netting a 15,000 Euros getting and the chance for her winning design to go into production worldwide.

It’s an achievement made even more extraordinary when she reveals that her original aim had been to study textiles not fashion, at De Montford University in Leicester.

‘That’s what’s so weird about it. I had planned so much what I was going to do. I was convinced I would do textiles – not lingerie design. In fact that never even crossed my mind. And what I found was, there really is no telling where you might end up.’

It was when she saw some pieces from the Triumph Inspiration Awards from Contour Fashion students at De Montfort University on display that she was suddenly seized with the desire to design lingerie.

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‘Looking at these was the reason I took the course,’ she explains.

‘Lingerie design is so precise but it is also creative and fashion forward and this was a really specialised course with quite a good reputation and I really wanted to do it. So I applied. I had always enjoyed fashion but this had an added dimension as I love designing beautifully sculpted, timeless pieces.’

The first stage of the Triumph Inspiration Awards was at the London College of Fashion where she won the UK final before being whisked away to Shanghai and competing against 37 other counties to win the international final and the coveted title, surprising her family mum Kim, dad Alex and sister Ashley, who were of course brimming with pride.

Her winning outfit is a gorgeous halter bra and thong under a corseted layered skirt in tulle, ridgeline and guepiere lace and this is now being developed ready to be sold in Triumph stores worldwide in 2015.

‘When I look back, it was crazy,’ she says. ‘I had no serious expectations of winning and I couldn’t quite take it all in. I was in shock.’

Following this impressive achievement, she was then invited along with other directional designers including Manchester born Matthew Williamson, Louise Gray, Fyodor Golan and Felder Felder to display a customised work made from pieces from the Triumph lingerie collection at the ‘Maison Triumph’ pop up exhibition space in Covent Garden during London Fashion Week.

All this and she has yet to complete her degree: ‘I am in my last year and designing my final collection at De Montfort and if I get through I will then be showing at Graduate fashion week on June 3rd,’ she says.

Eventually, after embarking on a Masters degree, the plan is to design a mixture of lingerie and fashion.

Favourite pieces she has already designed include a blue gown with gold appliqué which will go into the graduate collection and a black sheer gown for Courtaulds who came to the university in materials such as crepe georgette, chiffon and “a lot of lace”.

She doesn’t design for friends and family much as she hasn’t got the time, admitting to creating a few simple bikinis for her sister and friends.

‘I design a mixture of boudoir, lingerie and outerwear. I like working on sheer gowns, high end glamour and expensive pieces that are sculpted to the body,’ she explains.

‘I really appreciate the importance of keeping things classic, timeless and elegant as well as wearable.’

‘That’s the thing with underwear. People don’t realise - a bra can change the way a garment looks totally. It can make you feel great on the inside and make what you put over the top look even better. You know, something like 80% of women are wearing the wrong sized bra? I really believe the right foundation garment can change how you feel for the rest of the day. I’m just an underwear freak really.’

While studying for her Masters, Sian also hopes to launch a business with a friend and soon as well as her Facebook page there will be a website (www.sianwhitefoot.com) so that fans can check out what she’s working on.

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