PASSPORTS were as important as pins for fashion students who scoured India and Italy looking for inspiration for their designs.

The fruits of their travels were revealed at a glamorous fashion show at York Racecourse on Thursday.

Anneka Rogers, 21, of Malton, was one of the York College foundation degree students who took part in an academic exchange to India – a first for the college.

The students stayed for three weeks, said Helen Ventress, head of art, design and craft at the college. She said: “They went out to source fabrics, trims and beads. They went to markets and specialist craft areas, visited manufacturers and small factories and dusty street stalls.”

Anneka said she was knocked out by the culture shock and has called her final collection, Indescribable India. “You can hardly describe what it’s like,” she said. “You just can’t take everything in.”

Anneka took the peacock, the national bird of India, as an inspiration. She bought ready-made embroidered peacocks at a street market and incorporated them into her garments back in York. In one dress, featuring a deep purple skirt with an upper body displaying a feather print, a large peacock is stitched across the front.

It was the Duomo in Florence that struck a chord with 21-year-old Alix Shaw from Norton.

“We went on a college trip to Italy last term,” Alix said. “I loved the structure of the Duomo and even used the colours inside the cathedral in my designs.”

The visit has resulted in an eye-catching collection, with large coloured hoops on the neckline.

Other students found their inspiration closer to home.

Olivia Barningham, 18, from Helmsley, took a skeleton theme to its creative zenith, crafting a bodice out of pieces of metal, while the work of Art Nouveau spurred Chelcie Curtis, 18, from Kirkbymoorside, to create a pretty pleated echoing the shape of shells.