Hannah Thomas need no longer keep her talent under wraps –after being discovered by top fashion brand Abercrombie and Fitch. The 22-year-old, from the village of Lydart near Monmouth, is tostart work for the US retailer this autumn after she impressed theupmarket chain with her lingerie designs. Hannah, whose parents moved to Wales from Buckinghamshire fouryears ago, is in the final weeks of her Contour Fashion degree atDe Montfort University in Leicester.
The course, which specialises in lingerie, corsetry and swimwear,is the only such course in the world and only offers places to asmall number of students.
Hannah's interest in lingerie began aged 17 when she took ajob as a bra-fitter at House of Fraser's flagship store inBuckinghamshire, but since then has worked on placements at majorlabels such as River Island and Agent Provacateur. Her ambition has also seen her fly to Hong Kong to spend a summerat Hong Kong Polytechnic working as a design assistant at alingerie company. And her new role comes after she took part in a challenge by thepopular American company to design an underwear collection aimed atyoung women. To land the post, Hannah had to go through a rigorous round ofinterviews, including some in America and is now looking forward tostarting her two-year contract, designing new lines at the headoffice of the firm in Ohio. "Abercrombie and Fitch is such an iconic brand," Hannahtold Wales on Sunday.
"When you walk in the shop, it's not like any othershop you've ever walked into. "It's a great company, and so far it seems like anextension of university. "It's young and fun and everyone's been reallylovely." The company, who employ ‘models' in their stores toappeal to their young customers, will give Hannah two weekstraining. "They're an American casual brand and they lovedetail," she said. "I'm looking forward to adding unique twists whilestill keeping with the brand." Hannah's final university collection was showcased at theuniversity's contour fashion show in London last week and hinted atthe kind of look the label could expect from the young graduate.
"I love really soft fabrics, you wear lingerie so close tothe body so it has to be," she said. "I used lace in scallop and eyelash edge with black, copperand a metallic sheen. "There was velvet because I think it's so decadent, andlots of lightweight chiffon – I love the way it moves." Charnos is also making a collection of her shapewear –it's now being made in Thailand and due to be on the shelvesby winter and Hannah says she is looking forward to adding to thegrowing amount of choice in women's lingerie. "The market has really grown, but the average woman stilldoesn't know about the products out there," she said.
"I love designing for all shapes and sizes. "In lingerie, you need curves." Hannah is now looking forward to spending some time at home inWales "it's so relaxing and such a contrast from themadness of university," before flying out to the states tobegin her career this October. "I'd love to start my own label one day," shesaid. "But of course I've just started and I have studentloans to pay off! "One day I'd love to see someone like Lady Gaga orRihanna wearing my work.".
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