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Grayson Perry challenges UAL students to design his Chancellor's robes

Grayson's Robes composite image
Grayson's Robes composite image
Grayson's Robes Competition 2019
Written by
Published date
18 January 2019
new image to use

In a unique UAL tradition, Grayson Perry will wear custom made Chancellor robes for 2019’s graduation ceremonies. For the last two years, Grayson has worn inspiring alternatives to the traditional black robes conventionally worn by other Chancellors at graduation. Both gowns were created from designs by UAL students, hand-picked by Grayson in UAL’s annual ‘Grayson’s Robes’ competition.

In 2018 he took to the stage in robes designed by London College of Fashion, BA Fashion Textile: Knit student, Yuxuan Yang, and prior to that, BA Fashion Design and Knitwear Central Saint Martin’s Keith Tovey made the inaugural design.

This year it could be your turn and the competition is now live!

We're seeking entries from all year levels and disciplines. You will not have to make the robes – just design them.

Shortlisted students will personally meet with Grayson to pitch their ideas in detail, after which he will choose the winner.

You have until 28 February to enter the competition by doing three things: (1) read the brief and register your interest, (2) submit your designs online in Portfolio with the tag #GraysonsRobes2019, and (3) hand in your well-presented full entry, including swatches on 1 March at your college, to be used for the judging process.

DESIGN BRIEF: Grayson says:

I’m looking for: Drawings that can be easily interpreted into a finished robe. Show how the garment can be constructed and what fabrics, materials and techniques would best achieve the result – swatches and samples are essential.

The robe needs to: Retain some of the elements of traditional chancellor robes, it’s a formal event – but also take into account my personal style. Go for an eye-catching design – strong colours and reflective surfaces are encouraged. I’d also love a glamorous crown or headpiece.

Comfort is key: The graduation ceremonies always happen at the hottest time of the year and involve a lot of clapping, standing up and sitting down, so lighter fabrics are encouraged.

I am a man yet I like to look like a female: So attention should be given to playing down the male bits (shoulders, long tubular body!) and playing up my assets (good legs!)


You’ll need to provide both digital and physical designs for your entry as below:

Step 1: Read the brief and register your interest

If you're thinking of taking part, register your interest so that we can keep in touch with you with important dates and details to help

Step 2: Submit your entry on Portfolio by 28 Feb

Use your UAL Portfolio account (or create one if you haven’t already) and upload the front and back of your design, plus any other additional sketches or details and use #GraysonsRobes2019 to tag your work.

Then email us with your name, college, year group, and link to your Portfolio entry.

Step 3: Hand in your swatches on 1 March

We’ll be collecting your swatches and sketches at your college on 1 March. The location and times will follow. Grayson uses these as a key part of the judging process so make sure they're well presented.

Check out the last year’s ‘Making of Grayson’s Robes’ for some insight into the process.