June 14, 2024

Fashion Design

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M&S to Host Reality Competition Series to Find its Next Fashion Designer

2 min read

British retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) is on the hunt for a new fashion designer, and the search will play out on screens across the UK in a new reality TV series set to arrive on ITV1 and ITVX this fall.

M&S: Dress the Nation (working title) will see 10 candidates compete in a series of design competitions over the course of six weeks, with the winner securing an in-house junior design role at M&S. Each week a judging panel made up of senior M&S leaders, alongside a rotation of celebrity guests and designers, will select which budding designers move forward to the next round.

“The UK has some of the best emerging design talent in the world and we want to meet them,” said Anna Braithwaite, Marketing Director for Clothing and Home at M&S in a statement. “We’re on the lookout for the next generation of designers who can be part of our journey to evolve M&S’ style credentials and design original products that not only appeal to our existing customers but also turns the heads of customers who may not have previously considered us.” 

The challenges will be created to reflect the M&S design and product development process and assess competitors’ design, problem-solving, commerciality and collaboration skills. Candidates will work out of a purpose-built design studio for the duration of the competition and compete in challenges both individually and in groups. 

Perhaps most importantly, M&S was very clear that the competition is not limited to people with formal fashion design experience, saying that it “wants to hear from people of all walks of life” and that “what’s more important is creative flair, a willingness to learn and a passion for design.”

The series will be hosted by fan-favorite TV presenters AJ Odudu and Vernon Kay. M&S has previously worked with ITV on the behind-the-scenes documentary Inside M&S at Christmas in 2022 as well as the reality competition series Cooking with the Stars, which will return for its fourth season this year.

M&S: Dress The Nation offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance for a member of the public to be able to design their fashion collection of dreams,” said Katie Rawcliffe, Head of Entertainment Commissioning at ITV in a statement. “We’ve had real success previously marrying two of the UK’s most loved brands in ITV and M&S for food content, so we’re hugely excited to be able to extend this partnership into the world of fashion.”

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