HIGH END fashion houses Armani and Calvin Klein are among the latest to snap up designs from Hereford College of Arts students.

Samples from five textile design students have been bought by the two New York-based fashion giants, as well as Dian von Furstenberg and Kenneth Cole, as part of a project with Indesign Recruitment.

Third-year student Alex Guthrie said: “Many of us will graduate having already sold our designs and gained real work experience with a list of great contacts; we have real potential, and it’s a great boost to our confidence.”

Famed for recruiting graduates into the industry, Indesign take two collections a year to the Big Apple, with HCA students represented since 2009.

Mentored by designer and lecturer Jenny Harries, the students are given an industry-standard six weeks to respond to their brief, this year producing a range of samples using weave print and multimedia.

Josh Bolam, who sold his work to Armani Exchange, said: “Working under that pressure brought out our determination to do the job and do it well, and we’re all really pleased with the outcome.”

As was Indesign; owner Julius Schofield describing their work as “really innovative, creative and fashion led; they are really focused collections that demonstrate refinement.”

While such praise from industry insiders is testament to the ability and endeavour of the students involved, it is fast-becoming the standard at HCA – the only specialist arts college in the Midlands.

Elinor Bishop-Greenacre, course leader for BA Textile Design, said: “Our students are making a real statement in the design world.

“The creative industries buck the trends in austerity – and Hereford is becoming the place to be for aspiring artists and designers.”

Local girl Amy Pegler sold her designs to Diane von Furstenberg, Calvin Klein Home and Kenneh Cole.

And her decision to stay in Hereford to study came in part because of the opportunities with top designers and agents these kind of projects create.

While her work is already on sale in the city’s Gallery 25 on Church Street, she will also be exhibiting it at New Designers in London this summer.

Diane Von Furstenberg also picked up designs from Amy’s fellow student Rachel Cresswell – who used an innovative laser-cut paper design – while Louise Russel’s metallic work was picked up by designer Kenneth Cole.

For more information, you can check out the students blogs at www.hca.ac.uk/HCA-Live/BATextileDesign .