Katie May Boyd

How did you first get interested in costume?

My happiest memories as a child are at the circus or the carnival, I think all those amazing arrays of colours and performers and magic must have had something to do with it.

Why did you choose to study BA Costume for Performance?

I was drawn to the course by the prestige of the College and once I found out more about it I thought it was much better than the courses offered by different universities because it seemed to be a lot more creative and open, more cutting-edge and experimental, as opposed to some that were a lot more traditional and theatre based.

And why did you choose London College of Fashion?

It’s the best.

What are your highlights of the course?

I think the technicians on the course are brilliant and their knowledge and experience is a font of wisdom that is easily the best resource on the course. I also think that the tutors are very encouraging and are great at pushing you to fulfill your full potential. I think it is an amazing attitude among all of the staff and students: that you could do anything as long as you try hard enough.

What is the balance of theoretical and practical work on the course?

Percentage-wise, I think the academic / practical ratios are 50/50 for the majority of the time on the course. However time-wise I think we probably spend around 90% of the time in workshops and practical making and about 10% reading and writing essays. This is just my experience though, some other students may have felt differently.

Tell us about your final year project, which we hear married art and science…

The project illustrates the microscopic relationship between malaria and its human host in two costumes that focus on different stages in the life cycle of the disease. The costumes and performance aim to teach about malaria in an alternative way and also to highlight the cross-fertilisation between art and science. I plan to enter my final major project into the 2015 World of Wearable Art competition.

What inspires you about the work you do?

I love creating things. I think the moment a 2D pattern transforms into a 3D object on the body is just sublime. Working with science and art, the thing that I get most out of it is translating something that is very factual and theoretical into a tangible and visual piece that changes the way you understand it.

What’s next for your costumes?

At the moment, the costumes are living in my flat and probably take up more space than all my other possessions! A few people have been interested in using the costumes as part of styling in editorials but nothing that can be seen yet.

We hear that you spoke about your work at a conference – tell us about that…

I took my work to the annual conference of the Wellcome Trust Centre of Molecular Parasitology (WTCMP), whose scientists I had collaborated with during the project. This was a really interesting experience for me as I presented my work to 80 parasitologist’s who had a completely different stand point from anyone else I had shown the project to. Their feedback was really helpful and a few people were keen to collaborate on different parasites as well!

… and you were also on TV in Scotland?

I was interviewed for STV, the Scottish ITV channel, because they had read the Wellcome Trust blog post about my work and saw that I was exhibiting at the Glasgow Science Fair, an event that they had been promoting. They asked me about my design process and what had inspired me to work with science and they were particularly keen to know if I was going to carry on working in Scotland.

Did you do a placement year?

I went on a placement term, which ended up being about 11 weeks; I went to Alice Temperley, The Royal Opera house and Madame Tussauds. I really enjoyed these placements, I chose a mixture as I was really interested to see the differences in fashion compared to costume at Temperly and then I also got to see the very traditional costume workshops at the Opera house. I feel like a learnt a lot and it really helped to improve my CV and make contacts that I have used after graduating.

What are the LCF staff like?

I think the staff at LCF are as varied as the students; they are all very talented and I have had some of the best teaching that I have experienced and on the whole the staff that I have worked with have been outstanding.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about studying the BA (Hons) Costume for Performance?

I would say to new students to push themselves and make sure that they go into the studio every day – even if there is no class scheduled; the help and knowledge that staff can give you will be helping you for the rest of your career!