Design student puts the feel good factor into PE kit for girls

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Thursday 21 April 2011

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A final year Sports Product Design student from Coventry University has created a PE kit which aims to encourage young women to feel more comfortable with their bodies.

Sarah Johnson, 23, from North Yorkshire, came up with the idea for her Degree Show project following a national survey by Sport England about PE for teenage girls, which found that 70% of young women feel they would get more involved with sport at school if they had more self-confidence.

Sarah’s own research for her project, which involved her visiting secondary schools, interviewing girls aged 13–17 years and talking with psychology experts within the University, also found a strong correlation between how girls feel about their bodies and how regularly they participate in school sports.

Through the design of her PE kit – which has no size labels and features a range of choices and colours to make the wearer feel more comfortable with and in control of their appearance – Sarah hopes to improve girls’ self-esteem, which in turn she hopes will increase their participation in physical activities.

Sarah said:

A lot of girls avoid physical education at school because they feel bad about how they look, so with my design project I hope to help these girls develop a positive relationship with their bodies. This encourages a positive cycle in which they take part in sports more often, which in itself increases their confidence.

Last year Sarah worked on a live brief for swimwear manufacturer Speedo, during which she helped design the company’s new range of children’s swimming products. Having begun her studies on Coventry University’s fashion course, Sarah transferred in her second year to study Sports Product Design.

She added:

Having some background in fashion has had a really positive influence on my Degree Show project, which combines garments, design, technology and sport.

Sarah’s project will be available for the public to view from June 4th–8th as part of the Coventry University School of Art and Design’s Degree Show 2011. The Degree Show takes place in the Maurice Foss Building on Cox Street, city centre, and is free to attend.

For further information and images, please contact Alex Roache, communications assistant, Coventry University, on +44 (0)24 7679 5050 or email