London College of Fashion believes that fashion and design education should be open to all. To help ensure we support and encourage as many students as possible from diverse backgrounds, our Widening Participation Unit (WP) works to assist students in applying and successfully progressing through our courses. CAPS (Compact Agreement for Progression Scheme) is a scheme that the Widening Participation unit runs which works with partner schools and colleges to offer students introductory courses, portfolio advice, guidance from LCF tutors, summer school opportunities and a guaranteed interview to their selected course.
To celebrate the far reaching work the Widening Participation team do LCF News will be speaking to some of the fantastic CAPS students to find out about how they found their course, their future plans and the support they received from CAPS.
Here we talk to BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring Arthur Sinclair, who is curating his own brand and still keeps in close contact with the CAPS team.
LCF News: What course did you study?
Arthur Sinclair: I started at London College of Fashion in 2012, studying BA (Hons) Bespoke and Tailoring.
LCF News: Tell us about how your degree, and your LCF experience?
AS: When I first went into university, I had a lot of difficulties adjusting to the course and its requirements. I thought LCF would be the same format as Kensington and Chelsea – where I was originally studying. But I had a lot problems in my first term, because of my background and the student loans company. I got a lot of support and advice from Michele and Katie at CAPS. I used their advice to embrace and guide myself through my first year, I wasn’t able to understand what I was doing until my second year. The CAPS department helped guide me in the right direction through support. They gave me a lot of advice, valuable knowledge on how the industry and big brands operate. I don’t know how I would have got into university, or understand how the industry works without the help of CAPS. They gave me this big opportunity, and helped to me to organise my creative skills and family issues.
I had a few issues with family, my children and student loans that could have really affected my progression at LCF. CAPS helped me realise how big an opportunity I had to study at LCF. A place where I could express myself creatively. Kate and Tina gave me lots of advice during my degree, and constantly wrote letters to the student loan company as it sometimes took two weeks to three months for payments to be approved. They talked me through my problems at home and helped with loans. CAPS wrote to the crisis department and enabled me to receive extra funds to support myself during studying.
If I had any issues relating to fashion or the industry, CAPS would be supportive. They helped with organising and the production of collection for the Platform 14 show. The show was very complex, but brilliant, and CAPS showed support to students, helping them to produce beautiful pieces of art. Because of them, we were able to produce beautiful pieces of garments, shoes and art.
LCF News: Can you tell us about how you got involved with CAPS?
AS: I met them through Kensington & Chelsea College of Further Education. One of my teachers, Stefan, said it would be good for me to go to University of the Arts London because I’m the kind of person that could do tailoring, or work in fashion. The people at CAPS came over, looked at my work and said similar things to me. From there, Katie told me about the CAPS scheme for people from a poorer background. The CAPS course helps students prepare for university life through a two-week course before starting your degree.
LCF News: How did the CAPS course help you?
AS: The course showed what would be taking place at LCF, and what is expected from creatives in the fashion industry. This made me analyse the process I was about to go through to adjust to university and my industry. That two week course helped me prepare myself for what was to come in the next few years. The course helped me understand how brands like Tom Ford, Chanel and Vivienne Westwood have organised themselves. We looked at all of those brands, and this taught me how to apply myself to those brands and Savile Row culture. The CAPS scheme helped me with my development and research for the future and industry. The CAPS scheme has helped me to get where I am today.
LCF: What are your future plans?
AS: I did some amazing pieces of garment for Bespoke tailoring. So I see myself as a designer. I want to try and create a brand that is known. I want to curate a beautiful collection that people speak about in the future. I would also like my brand to work with the CAPS scheme to help students at university and college. I’m still in contact with CAPS and want to work with them. I want the brand and myself to help those students from difficult backgrounds to gain more academic support, but also help with research. I was helped with Bespoke Tailoring- to make my own garments. I want to give back, support and help those without support or education to experience other cultures, arts and research.
LCF News: Please give us a tip for future CAPS students?
Make the most of the department and CAPS staff. They are like my friends and family and I was able to speak to anyone in the department. They helped me through my time of stress, emotional downs, aggravation and any form of social or economic issues. The scheme really helps those from a poorer background, and gives credibility to creative people. Future CAPS students should utilise the scheme and staff as they are very supportive and can help you become the best student possible. I hope the CAPS scheme continues, to help people from poorer backgrounds or those that suffer from different forms of disability.