A top tailoring company is preparing to kit its customers out in the cutting-edge couture of a talented Coventry student.
Diana Oancea is in her final year at Coventry University, studying a BA (Hons) Degree in Fashion, and is one of three up-and-coming designers picked from across the country to have her sketches turned into a tailor made suit.
Bespoke tailors, A Suit That Fits launched a competition in January 2011 to find three dapper creations by suit-loving new designers to sell on their website in the New Year of 2012. In May 2011, 10 designers were shortlisted from 93 entrants by an expert judging panel including TV presenter Rick Edwards; Leon Bailey-Green, founder of internet business network Directors Of.COM; Alan Cannon Jones, Principal Lecturer at The London College of Fashion; and Mighel Critten, Product Development Manager at A Suit That Fits.
The design brief was to create a suit that was functional, or suitable for a special occasion. The shortlisted designs were posted on A Suit That Fits’ website for public vote – with more than 2,000 people voting to find the final three winners, whose suits will be available to buy from this week.
Originally from Romania, 37 year old Diana Oancea studied law and practiced as a barrister for five years in Bucharest, specialising in criminal law, before coming to the UK in October 2008 and deciding on a radical change of profession; studying fashion at Coventry University. Diana said: “The transition from law to fashion was not difficult because law and art are both open to interpretation. This contest attracted me because I like the idea that women can wear suits, which are a symbol of elegance and power. After seeing the fabrics available on A Suit That Fits’ website, I decided to create an outfit which would cover every aspect of a woman’s persona; elegant, casual, businesslike, Amazonian – a strong woman, sure of her charms.”
Diana’s love of haute couture is echoed in her winning suit, which is made from a heritage check and brings a strong tradition right into the 21st century; having a fitted, waist-length jacket with round-edged step lapels and sleeves cropped at the elbows, and traditional jodhpur-style trousers, flared at the hip but cropped around the knee, reminiscent of early 20th century knickerbockers.
Diana said: “I took inspiration from characters such as Beau Brummell and Oscar Wilde – whose dandyism and aestheticism remain landmarks in history and male fashion, then transposed these images into female fashion, thinking of women like Marlene Dietrich and Catherine Deneuve – who both wore men’s suits, but never compromised their femininity.
“I’m ecstatic to have won the competition and to have my creation made and sold by A Suit That Fits. It’s a double victory; having my talent confirmed by a panel of people involved in the fashion industry and then to have the support of the public vote.
“None of this would have been possible without the training and support I’ve received at Coventry University, especially Technician Eva Schulha, who helped with making up the designs. I hope to get as much experience in the fashion industry as possible and enter more competitions, to help me evaluate my creative talent. Then one day I’d like to have my own brand and become a fashion queen like Coco Chanel.”
The other two winning designs were created by 23 year old Tom Evans from Plymouth University and 25 year old Trung Le from London College of Fashion. All three suits will be available to purchase from this week.