WINNER: Zainab Vandu-Chikolo (right) poses with a model
A FASHION graduate has been crowned winner of a high profile television series competition to design an outfit for superstar Rihanna.
Zainab Vandu-Chikolo, 23, was handpicked by the Diamonds hit-maker in auditions for Styled to Rock and was among 12 designers in the 10 week show screened on the Sky Living channel.
In each program the designers were briefed by a celebrity on their requirements, and style and then had three days to design and create a ‘bespoke and innovative’ outfit for the star to wear to a high profile events.
The final three were tasked with designing an outfit Rihanna's performance at the Wireless concert, with the winner only finding out they had scooped the top prize when she walked on to stage in their outfit.
Zainab proved successful throughout the competition after winning the first challenge in episode one to design an outfit for Kayne West. For the final she closely studied Rihanna’s style, performances and stage set, to create a black and gold peacock two-piece outfit incorporating jewellery, silk and fringing which was selected by the star.
Zainab said: “I brought one of the outfits that I created for my final year project to the auditions and was honoured to even be selected by Rihanna for the show, let alone go on to win the competition.”
“For the final designers left at the end of the series, it felt like such a long wait for her to appear on stage at the Wireless concert. I was completely stunned when she came out in my outfit and went crazy! I don’t normally cry, but burst into tears when she walked out in my piece.”
The Middlesex University Alumni, who is now currently working for a British luxury fashion house, is now looking for partners for a collaborative collection and hopes to go on to be a designer in her own right in the future.
“I learnt lots of new techniques in my fashion course at Middlesex, which helped me to be creative while sticking to the brief for each show. The competition was an incredible experience and working with a star as big as Rihanna was fun as she was laid back and pretty normal,” she added.
Top celebrities that Zainab and the designers worked with to create outfits included Cheryl Cole, Katy Perry, The Scissor Sisters, Pixie Lott, Rizzle Kicks, Tinchy Stryder, Little Mix and Little Boots.