skillVM 2011 finalists announced

The finalists of this year’s skillVM, the national competition to find the best up-and-coming visual merchandisers, have been named.

Four teams were chosen to compete in each of the the Higher and Advanced categories, at the live heats at the London College of Fashion.

The shortlisted teams submitted designs and mood boards which they transformed into scale models and presented to a team of expert judges.

The Advanced category finalists are Patrick Broderick and Charlotte Fox from East Berkshire College; Melissa Dunne and Jenna Stephenson of Liverpool Community College; Megan Hayward and Rebecca Bennett from Preston College; and Jazz Boustany and Elizabeth Sampson of the  City College Brighton and Hove.

In the Higher category , finalists are Lai Chi Ho and Wakana Murata of London College of Fashion; Lauren Ellam and Hollie Keirl from West Cheshire College; Olivia Watts and Kristy Ford,  Hugh Baird College, Liverpool; and James Whitling and Sarah Mosedale of the University of Glamorgan.

Head judge, Alan Westcott said: “The standards have been very high.  The finalists impressed the judges with their imaginative designs and their passion for and understanding of visual merchandising. The high level of skill and creativity of amazed the judging team.”

All eight teams now get the opportunity to build life-size displays at the final at the In-Store Show, Olympia, London, on Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 June. The Gold winners of each category will get their designs recreated, with the help of visual merchandising professionals, in a high-street store this summer.

Anne Seaman, chief executive at Skillsmart Retail, said: “This is the competition’s third year and it’s going from strength to strength. It’s great to see new colleges and universities getting involved to show the talents of their students.

“skillVM is a great way to raise the profile of visual merchandising as a creative, technical skill and encourage young people to consider a career in the exciting and fast-paced world of retail.”

Full competition details can be found at



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