Up next on LCFMA16 Graduate Spotlight is MA Fashion Futures student Alexa Feng Kai Chan. Alexa completed her BA at LCF before studying her postgraduate. LCF News talks to her about her final project, future plans and her top tips for any prospective MA Fashion Futures students.
What did you study before MA Fashion Futures?
Why did you choose LCF?
I wanted to continue my studies at LCF because I found its teaching approach to fashion very cohesive. Apart from giving me the technical knowledge that you need to work in the industry, LCF also improved my awareness and understanding of fashion’s psychological and anthropological links with society. I also felt that the dedicated staff, comprehensive resources and networking opportunities offered by the university supported the pursuit of meaningful fashion, so it seemed like the most logical thing to remain at LCF and complete an MA that allowed me to continue exploring fashion.
What was your favourite thing about studying in London?
I love London’s cosmopolitan culture – its vibrancy creates the perfect environment for inspiration. During my time studying here, I’ve been really lucky to have met such a diverse group of people, and attended events that have influenced my work. I think that being exposed to so many different perspectives and ideas can only happen in a city that has a global outlook, and London definitely does.
Can you tell us a little bit about your final project and dissertation…
My thesis proposed clothing as a link for future technological healthcare, offering a more personalised approach in care delivery that empowers patients and healthcare professionals. Clothing is a huge part of our daily ritual, the continuous development of wearable technologies is enhancing the potential of reframing future fashion as a service that supports the improvement of health and well-being.
My research looked at the links between fashion, service design and new technologies like the internet of things and wearables, hoping to explore the future prospects of biotechnology. I approached my project from a designer’s point of view and looked at what kind of technologies can be embedded in a garment and how these technologies allow it to operate in a new system of care. I also explored how design can maximise the delivery of these functions while optimising the public’s physical and psychological acceptance of a new healthcare tool. I worked with scientists, healthcare professionals, patients, utilised rapid prototyping, immersive/participatory ethnography and experimentation to aid my research. This process helped me to find a different approach to design that focused on user-centric garments.
What do you like most about your course, and what have you found most challenging?
I enjoyed everything about my course! It’s hard to pinpoint one single aspect of MA Fashion Futures because the whole course is structured so that every step is crucial in deepening the nature of our practice. One thing that stood out about the course was the progressive and flexible style of teaching. Our tutors encouraged us to look beyond fashion’s status quo and look at other disciplines to push the boundaries of what fashion could be. I think giving us so much freedom helped us to form unique philosophies and visions of future fashion.
The beginning of the course was the most challenging for me. I found it really tricky to express the futures thinking approach as a current and physical manifestation. Coming up with relatable visualisations will always be the designer’s challenge – I struggled to get my head around it in the first term, hopefully I’ve made sense of it now!
What would be your top three tips for prospective students?
- Have self-initiative
- Welcome knowledge and criticism
- Be open to constant change.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m still exploring my options at the moment but I want to continue a multi-disciplinary research and design practice, focusing on the well-being of people. I believe in creating a future that is optimistic, and I’m open to new pathways that can contribute to this vision.