As part of our In Conversation series, where our community of artists, designers and makers interview each other about college life, we sat down with BA (Hons) Fashion graduate Alice Vandy.
Alice is one of our BA (Hons) fashion graduates, who's unique range of digitally printed garments are being worn by celebrities like Jessie J, Little Mix, Cher Lloyd and Rita Ora. We asked her about her first impressions of the college, and how her time with us helped her make the step up.
What were you doing before you joined us? And what was the first thing you noticed about the college when you joined back in 2005?
Alice: Prior to starting Fashion at the college, I’d studied Fine Art. I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer but at the time I hated sewing! As I loved art, it was a more attractive route to take.
When I finally joined the college I remember being really excited about mixing with new creatives. The first thing that hit me was just how vibrant the students were. Everyone at Plymouth College of Art is unique – there's a really great energy.
"The college really nurtures creativity and there's a lot of one-on-one help." — Alice Vandy, BA (Hons) Fashion graduate
Students here often talk about the positive relationship between students and staff. Was it the same when you studied with us?
Alice: Absolutely. I had a great relationship with my lecturers. Art and design is, of course, very subjective, so there will always be some people who understand you more than others.
But I was always strong-minded, so I stuck to my guns regardless – and the lecturers and technicians at college were always supportive of what I wanted to do.
And looking back at your time with us, would you do it all again?
Alice: A hundred percent. I always think if there was an era I could go back to, it would be that. I have really positive memories of my time there.
The facilities were all great, and sometimes I find myself wishing I still had access to the production equipment. And the surrounding pubs and bars were fabulous too!
Other than access to facilities and support from staff (... and the surrounding bars!), what do you think has helped you achieve the fantastic things that you have since graduating?
Alice: Drive and ambition. During my final year at college, I focussed on doing exactly what I needed to do to end up with a strong portfolio. You have to be able to think for yourself, and not be too concerned with what other people are doing, as there is no right or wrong way.
You need to come up with your own strategy that suits your work. I have a long-term goal, but to get there I've worked out short-term goals. An ultimate ambition is completely reachable, but it's just working out how to get there.
"Everyone at Plymouth College of Art is unique – there's a really great energy." — Alice Vandy, BA (Hons) Fashion graduate
And so what advice would you give to young students who are thinking about moving to Plymouth, to study with us?
Alice: Just do it! The college really nurtures creativity and there's a lot of one-on-one help. The lecturers treat everyone as an individual and they’ll help you reach your own goals. And when you're there, use the help as much as you can.
Ask the right questions, and use all the support you can get – so that when you graduate you’re fully prepared for life in industry.
See more of Alice's designs by visiting her website.