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UAL Alumni Competition Winners 2018

Back in April, we held a competition asking for UAL alumni to submit designs that celebrated the spirit of UAL, and the impressiveness of its global community.

We are delighted to announce the winners are Sy-Yu Chen, Beki Gowing and Linett Kamala.

Sy-Yu’s winning design

Beki Gowing’s three winning designs

Linett’s design featured all current UAL courses listed A – Z

Sy-yu graduated from London College of Fashion in 2016 with an MA in Costume Design for Performance. She has recently set up her own studio in Beijing.

London based Beki studied Art and Design at Camberwell College of Arts. Since graduating she has set up her own creative studio, Print & Press London where, alongside a team, she creates bespoke fabrics to order.

Linett studied Graphic Design at London College of Communication. Alongside her work as a visual artist, Linett is very involved in education, and helping to develop the next generation of creatives.

The winning designs were printed on a range of UAL alumni merchandise, which were launched at this year’s graduation ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall in London. The designs were incredibly popular, and we will continue to distribute them at upcoming alumni events across the globe.

We met with the three winners to find out more about what they are up to, and the inspiration behind their designs…

Sy-Yu Chen:

What made you want to enter the competition?
It was just a normal daily check of my email inbox and there was an email from the alumni team at UAL. I read it and realised that there is a design competition looking for good graphics. As a costume design graduate, I am always interested in creating some images using graphics in order to follow the core ideology of all my costume works. Entering the competition was a very random decision, but now I feel I can view myself as an amateur graphic designer.

What is the inspiration behind your design?
My design is based on a Chinese idiom “水中撈月”. The original meaning of it is to net the moon in the pond, which describes things that are impossible to achieve, a vain effort. But “水中撈月” has always been a very romantic idiom to me. It is also a very important thing I learnt in UAL, netting the moon isn’t putting efforts in vain, but to grasp the romance of the moment, and to cherish the imagination not only from personal inspiration but the gift and spirit from Mother Nature.

What is your fondest memory of UAL?
The fondest memory of UAL would be the period of time working on my final project. It was an unprecedented time that I felt like I was an independent individual, an independent spirit that was creating work without restrictions, letting my imagination run wild, and be inspired without boundaries. I felt confident and was always ready for challenges.

What have you been up to since graduating?
I tried to work for others, I did styling, and I am doing costume design for a theatre recently. But what I want to do most is to view myself as a costume artist. Last summer, the WSD (World Stage Design) was held in my country, I met my professor from LCF, she told me not to give up on creating my own works. “You are an artist”, she told me. I was encouraged although we all know that all beginnings are tough, to start a business is also not easy. Recently, I started my studio in Beijing, I am excited to see how far it is going to take me.

Beki Gowing:

What made you want to enter the competition?
I left UAL 10 years ago, but since moving back to London I’ve realised how many people in the design community have ties to UAL, and how being an alumnus has really helped me to network.

What was the inspiration behind your designs?
I wanted to demonstrate how UAL has enabled me to make new connections and meet people, and these conversations all lead to new opportunities and collaborations.

What have you been up to since graduating?
After graduating I joined the John Lewis graduate buying scheme, and then set up the creative studio Print & Press London. The studio supports creative entrepreneurs to develop their ideas into a profitable business and runs a homeware label creating products from printed fabric. At the moment I’m focusing on improving the support services we offer to startups to make that initial year running a business a bit easier and less lonely.

Print & Press London

Has your course had an influence on the work you produce now?
My foundation course at Camberwell is where I realised I love working with fabric, and where I first tried screen printing and print design. Although my work bridges creative entrepreneurship and design, printed textiles have always been the common thread in all of my work, and the thing that excites me most.

Are you involved in anything else at UAL?
Yes, I’m on the UAL Enterprising Alumni Committee, although I promise I wasn’t involved in this competition at all! We’re organising some really exciting events for 2019 to support UAL students and alumni who are running businesses or want to start selling their work. If you haven’t already you can join the Facebook Group to keep up to date with everything.

Linett Kamala:

What made you want to enter the competition?
I was motivated by the opportunity to share my work with UAL’s creative community in a way which would remind them of their area of study as well as inspire potential future graduates.   I wanted my design to celebrate the expansion in the range of courses in the disciplines of art, design, communication, fashion, media and performing arts across its six colleges.

What is the inspiration behind your design?
I consider graffiti art to be one of the most far-reaching global art movements to date.  It was first introduced into the UK when I was a teenager, only a few years before I started my degree.  For me, it was love at first sight.  Graffiti has since progressed to what is known as ‘calligraffiti’ which is how I would describe my current style of work. During my LCC interview, I responded with gusto when challenged by a member of the interview panel’s comment “graffiti is vandalism and not art” that I completely forgot I was being interviewed! Thankfully the tutors appreciated my passion and offered me a place.

What were the highlights of your time at UAL?
I remember looking forward to the weekly cultural studies where I was introduced to classic books and films.  It opened up my eyes to the depth and theory behind design and also triggered my quest to learn about my own cultural heritage.  I became an active member of the student union and made some lifelong friendships.

What made you chose UAL, and LCC, in particular, to study at?
I chose to study at UAL because of its international reputation for producing high calibre graduates, many of whom had gone on to do amazing things within the creative industries.  I particularly wanted to attend the London College of Communications because I was a fan of the work of graphic designer Neville Brody, who had been a former student.  Back then, I was one of a small number of students from London who got accepted onto the BA (Hons) Graphic Design course that year as it was always heavily oversubscribed, taking in students from across the country and beyond.  I remember literally being in shock when I received my acceptance letter! I was also the first member of my family to do a degree, so at the time it was a big deal in my neighbourhood.

How else are you involved in UAL?
Alongside being a visual artist, I am also an educator involved in developing the next generation of creatives through my teaching and collective Lin Kam Art.  Over the years I have supported numerous young people with their portfolio preparation for courses at UAL.  I am presently part of the founding committee of a new Alumni group which I am very excited about.

If you want to see more of the winners work, follow them on Instagram:
Sy-yu Chen: @foolishchen
Beki Gowing: @printpressuk
Linett Kamala: @linett_kamala