At the 14th International Talent Support (ITS) Awards in July 2015, LCF’s MA Fashion Artefact alumna Vann Kwok won Jewellery Of The Year Award. She was among seven students from the College present at the awards, four of whom won prizes. Vann’s award was in association with Swarovski, she then produced a new-body piece with the Austrian jewellers following ITS. We caught up with Vann following the awards to discuss the Swarovski collaboration, why she chose to study at LCF and her evening residency at The Victoria & Albert Museum’s Savage Beauty exhibition last summer.
Why did you want to study a postgraduate at LCF?
I came from a womenswear design background, but also worked in Hong Kong films as an art director and in production. I wanted to take a break from that and go back to education, so I researched MA courses in New York and London. I found the LCF MA Fashion Artefact course, it sounded perfect for me so that made my mind up.
What made you want to study MA Artefact after studying Womenswear Design in Hong Kong?
After completing my degree in Womenswear Design, I designed costume for films and performances for a few years. However, this environment meant I only worked with fabrics. I wanted to explore different materials and experiment with new designs. I always had an interest in different forms of arts, and thought the MA Fashion Artefact was the perfect platform to bring together my skills and interest. The course seemed outstanding compared to all the other MA courses available. I wanted to study something that challenged existing notions of accessories design, but also had a great appreciation for traditional craftsmanship. The course pays respect to the past, but also pushes forward with the new.
Who are your idols, and where do you draw inspiration from?
I don’t have an idol. I draw inspiration mainly from art – paintings, sculptures, installations, etc. But sometimes I just get inspired simple daily objects, or even from a conversation with someone.
How would you describe your style?
I think it’s important for my work to have a purpose than a style. I hope it brings a sense of wonder and joy to my audience.
You previously worked as a freelance fashion stylist in China, how does China’s fashion scene compare to Europe’s?
China is a different place to what it was just a decade ago. Today it’s well connected to the world and Chinese people are very open-minded when it comes to different styles – they now dare to dress up. They are also up to date with the latest trends and new designers. In Europe, people are more enthusiastic to dress in their own style which is very often a reflection of their history, culture and personality. There’s a lot of interesting mix and match, or sometimes mismatch compared to China. European people just dress their own way, sometimes not caring about fashion.
Congratulations on winning Jewellery Of The Year Award at International Talent Support Competition. What did you produce, and have you enjoyed being partnered with Swavorvski?
Thank you! I have produced a new body-piece in partnership with Swarovski. The idea behind the collection is exploring the space between the human body and the jewellery. It was a great experience working with Swarovski, I enjoyed every minute of it and got their full support with material selections. I also had 100% freedom for my concept and design, it was an honour to work with them and have their recognition.
There was a huge LCF presence at ITS Trieste 2015, is the college one of the best places for creative young talents?
I think so! LCF itself is a place for students to stimulate creativity. At Golden Lane, where the Fashion Artefact course is based, there was always a good vibe. The site encourages students to explore their own design pathways. We gained a lot of support and input from amazing teaching staff who are extremely creative. The facility and equipment at the site is equally important, without them our ideas would have only been ideas. We also had access to studios with a large variety of machinery, and a technical team of professionals from different backgrounds. They helped advice and gave practical solutions to students when we encountered problems.
Can you tell us about your evening residency at Savage Beauty?
I was invited by an artist, Kees van der Graaf, to participate in The Quartz Rock Crystals workshop. This was one of the events that ran alongside the V&A exhibition. It was a show-and-tell workshop to discuss how quartz rock crystals can be used in fashion and jewellery design, including their source, colour, shape and form. It was a great success, audiences were very interested and ask loads of questions.
You’ve worked with some big clients like Apple, HSBC, and CitiBank. Do you get interesting briefs from the bigger clients, or do you prefer making accessories for art purposes?
I enjoy both – they serve different purposes to society but both are essential. I’d get bored working in just stayed in one area. I like taking challenges, working with people from diverse backgrounds and showing my work in retail and gallery environment.
What have you been doing since graduating in February, and what advice would you give to students close to graduating now?
I was in Italy for the ITS competition, and I’m currently working on a few applications for competitions and artist residencies. My advice is to take risks, spend time in the workshop, enjoy the journey of learning and to be proud of what you have created.
What’s your plans for the next five years?
I hope to collaborate with creative peers from different backgrounds, and hopefully start my own fashion jewellery label.
- Find out more about MA Fashion Artefact
- Find out more about other postgraduate courses at LCF
- Find out more about Vann Kwok
- All courses available at LCF
- LCF’s previous success at ITS
- ITS 2015
Alumni can connect with LCF in the following ways: