Marks & Spencer has revealed plans to launch a competitive new TV series called ‘M&S: Dress The Nation’ on ITV1 and ITVX, to be hosted by presenters Vernon Kay and AJ Odudu and set to air in autumn 2024.

The winner of the show “will secure a life-changing job as a junior designer at Marks & Spencer”, and no formal qualification or training in fashion design is required to take part.

The series will document the search process from start to finish over the course of six episodes. A total of 10 candidates will compete to secure the highly coveted in-house design role – “working alongside some of the best designers in the industry” at the retailer’s colleague support centre in Paddington, London.

The retailer wants to hear from “people of all walks of life” and says that creative flair, a willingness to learn and a passion for design are more important than a formal qualification.

Over the course of the recruitment process, the 10 candidates will be set a series of briefs which will assess their design, problem-solving, commerciality and collaboration skills.

Each brief will be reflective of M&S’ design and product development process – from gathering insights to identifying key product trends and designing and developing original products.

Candidates will work out of a purpose built design studio for the duration of the competition and work individually, as well as in groups, to design and create garments “that will resonate with the M&S customer” who is seeking style, versatility, value and quality in their clothing choices.

Each week a judging panel – made up of senior leaders at M&S alongside a rotation of celebrity guests and designers – will select which budding designers move forward to the next round and one step closer to being crowned the winner.

Anna Braithwaite, Marketing Director for Clothing & Home at Marks & Spencer, said: “The UK has some of the best emerging design talent in the world and we want to meet them. We’re on the look-out 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.

“We know customers loved the behind-the-scenes look at how we deliver Christmas for our customers, so we’re very excited to lift the lid on our Clothing & Home design process for the first time with this brand new show format.

“It’s going to be fast-paced, creative, and fun – and for the winning candidate a rare opportunity to work alongside some of the best in the business to design collections that will be worn by thousands.”

Katie Rawcliffe, Head of Entertainment Commissioning at ITV, added: “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.

“We’ve had real success previously marrying two of the UK’s most loved brands in ITV and M&S for food content and so we’re hugely excited to be able to extend this partnership into the world of fashion.”

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