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MA Menswear student is the first to receive UAL Haberdashers Scholarship

Fashion Illustrations from Alice Simpson
  • Written byJ Tilley
  • Published date 10 May 2021
Fashion Illustrations from Alice Simpson
Fashion Illustrations from Alice Simpson - MA Menswear 2021

MA Fashion Design Technology: Menswear student, Alice Simpson, is the first recipient of the UAL Haberdasher's Scholarship. The Haberdashers’ Scholarship of £10,000 is available to one student from either MA Fashion Futures; MA Artefact; MA Fashion Design Technology (Menswear); and MA Fashion Design Technology (Womenswear). We caught up with Alice to hear more about her work and how the scholarship will impact her studies and opportunities as a designer.

Congratulations on being the first recipient of the UAL Haberdasher’s Scholarship. How does it feel?

It feels great! As you probably know putting together a master collection isn’t cheap and while I had saved up for the costs, money and it’s limitations were something that was always on my mind. But now having won the scholarship, I feel liberated to pursue and explore whatever avenue or design methodology comes to mind. It’s also a great motivator now I know that I have the support and it’s important to me to not let those people down and to use their generosity to achieve. I’m eternally grateful to the Haberdashers Guild for this opportunity.

Tell us about the scholarship – what did you propose for your application and how do you feel this will help you take your studies and career to the next level?

I explained the work I had been exploring so far on my course - which is based around using solely donated fabrics as a constructive response to sustainability - an issue I care about deeply. Using only donated fabrics with limited amounts of each, and not having much choice in regards to the weights and colours I receive has really informed my pattern cutting and colour work. I have produced, potentially, really dynamic and innovative results thus far and I’m very excited to see where it goes.

I’m also developing my own natural dyes with a London based sprayer to fulfil the collaborative aspect of my masters which is very different from what I ever thought I would achieve on this course but it’s amazing to think I’m developing a product I could possibly one day sell. I had wanted to explore the use of natural dyes within unit 1 of my course but I was shocked to see the lack of commercially available natural fabric dyes. Especially considering how harmful the waste produced by synthetic dyes can be. These are all avenues I’m very excited to keep exploring and I’m hoping that together they build the base for a innovative menswear brand that values sustainability and explores it in a unique way to create truly unique garments.

How are you finding the MA Menswear course at LCF? What is your favourite thing about it?

It’s a lot of hard work and there are times when it feels like I’m running non-stop but honestly wouldn’t change it for the world. I love to be busy and I chose to continue my studies to a masters level to be pushed and to explore new areas of thinking outside my comfort zone, which my tutors have certainly been wonderful at doing. Outside of the friends I’ve made and everything I am learning, I think I most enjoy the feeling of being surrounded by so many wonderfully creative and talented people. Being in a environment where everyone around you is working to innovate within a industry you are passionate about helps motivate your own work in a way you just can’t get anywhere else.

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    Fashion Illustrations by Alice Simpson - MA Menswear 2021
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    Fashion Illustrations from Alice Simpson - MA Menswear 2021
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    Fashion Illustrations from Alice Simpson - MA Menswear 2021
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    Fashion Illustrations from Alice Simpson - MA Menswear 2021
Tell us about your ethos as a designer – what do you stand for as a designer?

Among a dedication to sustainability and environmentally friendly practices, it’s important to me that my clothes speak to those that have often felt left out or unwelcome within luxury fashion. As a black female from south London that’s definitely more on the curvy side, it’s a feeling that I’m sadly no stranger to. I’m often aware that I will be the only person like me wherever I work within the industry. I used to change how I acted, dressed and talked in order to fit in and not offend but over the last few years I’ve started to find empowerment through unapologetically being who I am. I want that feeling to emanate through my work and I believe that it’s important that the men that wear my clothes, feel empowered to stand out unashamed.

What do you feel makes a successful designer in 2021?

The ability to never stop the only thing that gets in anybody’s way in today’s world is giving up. Always searching for opportunities, people to connect with and ways to reach new heights. Nothing good comes without hard work. You're going to be knocked down a few times and there is going to be many times it feels like it’s not worth getting back up, but if you keep going that door will open for you one day. I also think it’s important to remind people in an article where we are talking about me having being awarded a wonderful scholarship that money isn’t everything. While abundance helps you innovate in one way, so does a lack of resources. Don’t let a lack of financial resources stop you from pushing forward. Find ways to work around it, some of the best work I’ve seen has being produced on the smallest of budgets.

What would be your advice for prospective students looking to join the MA Menswear course at LCF?

Remember your undergraduate course how hard that was? well an MA is no different. There’s a lot of hard work that you're going to have to put in but an MA allows you to explore your work on a much deeper level. That will put you ahead in the way that you think when re-entering the industry. So always keep that in mind when applying and consider what it is you want to achieve by the end of the course be that your own brand, a better job or to expand your horizons. That will allow you to make a decision on what course is best for you. The great thing about LCF among the great staff and technicians it provides is that you have access to all the resources provided by UAL as a whole.

Find out more about UAL Scholarships.

View more work from MA Fashion Design Technology (Menswear)