NewsUCA Epsom

UCA graduate winning handbag design sells out in Urban Outfitters

Melanie Pace-Lupi, BA (Hons) Fashion graduate from the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) has been declared a winner in the Urban Outfitters X Arts Thread Make It competition. 

Melanie’s winning piece was a leather handbag, with the design derived from research completed for her 2013 graduate collection. The bag was available to buy from the Urban Outfitters’ website and in the brand’s New York store, and quickly sold out.

Her graduate collection, titled “The Geometrics of Louise Nevelson”, was inspired by Nevelson the sculptor and explored shape and exaggerations as well as featured details of wood texture. Melanie focused on the wood and perspex that Nevelson uses in her sculpture and geometric shapes that were derived from cubism and futurism. She later created the leather bag design which was more wearable in a daily context. 

Urban Outfitters award win

“It is incredibly rewarding to have a design concept chosen and turned into a product, and have it available to buy under a well-known brand,” said Melanie, 26 and originally from Malta. “I love that there was people out there who have chosen to buy and wear my design. It was even more amazing that the bag sold out quickly. It feels good to have your work being appreciated on a global level too!” 

The competition saw designers from all over the world showcase their work, with winners hailing from the UK, Australia, the US, Mexico and Guatemala. 

Melanie was introduced to Arts Thread during her studies at UCA Epsom. “Everyone at UCA has helped me grow as a creative,” continued Melanie. “They also helped me realise my potential and drive to jump into the fashion industry and give it my best shot.” 

She is currently working as a studio assistant at luxury French designer Roland Mouret. “Working with such an established brand is teaching me a lot about how fashion labels work,” she said. “I hope to expand my own experience through practice and maybe even further studies one day.” 

She also hopes to contribute fashion and culture related articles for a newspaper in Malta, as well as developing other products that she has designed.  “I look forward to one day setting up my own small label,” said Melanie. “It is something I have always seen myself doing but it not the only thing I hope to achieve!” 

To see more of Melanie’s 2013 graduate collection, please visit: (images 78-83)