Fashion and science have formed an unlikely alliance to highlight inequality in male-dominated industries.

Students at Carlisle College of the Arts have designed, made and modelled outfits with a twist.

These are students on the UAL Foundation Diploma in art and design, with a fashion and costume specialism.

There are 40 students on the course, which covers a variety of disciplines from fine art to fashion.

Wendy Oxley, fashion tutor at Carlisle College, said: “They were asked to produce a design to highlight the issue of the WISE campaign: Women In Science, technology and Engineering. It’s incredibly important to raise awareness.”

There is a big gender disparity in these professions, with far more men than women employed.

Wendy said: “They were asked to examine the subject, mixing historical women who were pioneers in STEM [science, technology, engineering and maths] subjects with a modern design.

“It was a struggle for them at first. How can fashion and STEM subjects work together? They had to unpick their brains.”

Sophie McNichol, 18, from Carlisle, created an eye-catching black lab coat with pink trim.

“I started off thinking of a historical scientist,” said Sophie. “I went with Marie Curie.

“I was really fascinated by her work with radiation and how that developed into discovering cancerous cells.

“I looked at abnormal cells for breast cancer and used their shapes in the design.

“On the empowering women side, I took the theme of taking back control of the female body and not sexualising it.

“I came up with a lab coat design, and I modelled it wearing just the lab coat to highlight its importance.

“The idea is that it’s my body: I can wear what I want and I can be what I want.

“Looking at the statistics, there’s a very small proportion of women in STEM industries.

“I’m an artist but I still understand the importance of science and technology.”

Wendy was hugely impressed with her students’ work and how it highlighted the message of gender equality,

“As one student said, ‘It’s no longer a man’s world.’”

The students specialising in fashion and costume worked with colleagues specialising in areas such as marketing, textiles and make-up.

The students’ work will be highlighted on Instagram and Twitter pages on February 11 next year: the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Some of the work may be selected to be displayed in an exhibition at Carlisle’s Lanes shopping centre next April.