Successful students celebrated at Art and Design Degree Show

Thousands of pounds and prestigious prizes will be presented to talented final-year students during De Montfort University Leicester’s (DMU) annual Art and Design Degree Show.


Opening this Wednesday, the week-long event is the largest of its kind in Leicester, taking place throughout DMU’s landmark Vijay Patel Building until Tuesday 25 June.

Among the hundreds of expected visitors will be talent scouts from leading brands such as Sainsbury’s, ASOS and Next, all hoping to recruit the next generation of talent during an exclusive industry viewing.

The show will spotlight innovative and spectacular creations across art, architecture, design, fashion and textiles, with dozens of DMU and industry prizes awarded to outstanding students.

Fine Art student Phitchapa Jiu-Chaisak will be displaying her vibrant paintings on canvas, one of which was picked to feature on the show’s poster and marketing materials. Her work explores the intersection of androgynous identity, punk subculture fashion and the complexities of early adulthood.

Phitchapa's artwork

The 21-year-old from Thailand said: “I’m truly grateful and excited to display my work at the Degree Show. It's a unique opportunity to share my artwork with a broader audience.”

Phitchapa chose to study Fine Art at DMU because the curriculum aligned with her interests and she were impressed by the facilities. “My decision proved to be a good one as it provided me with a supportive environment with extremely helpful tutors, technicians and classmates,” she said.

“DMU allowed me to experiment and try out many new things for my art practice and beyond. It also helped me become more confident and ambitious.”

Millie Rees, a Product Design student, will be showcasing her innovative aid for archers, which has won the Sport Equipment Design / Sport Gadget category in the Fit Sport Design Awards.

Millie's award-winning device

Through a series of mental and physical exercises, her device helps archers to practice slowing down their shots and performing better in competitions.

The 22-year-old from Northampton said: “I loved Robin Hood when I was younger and one of the reasons I picked DMU was the Archery Club. I joined as soon as I could and absolutely fell in love.”

Millie’s home communications device, designed to reduce loneliness and associated issues for older people, has also earned her a spot in the finals in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition. Soon she’ll find out if she’s won £10,000 to continue developing her idea.

As well as benefitting from a placement year at Array Marketing during her course, where she designed point-of-sale displays for some of the world’s biggest beauty brands, Millie has also landed a graduate job at SharkNinja.

“I’m so happy with everything I’ve done since being at DMU,” she said. “I’ve taken every opportunity that came my way and it’s really paid off. It’s been a fantastic experience, including all the help and support you get from your lectures. I couldn’t have asked for more.”

Ra'kin's architectural concept

Architecture student Ra'kin Ashadi is displaying his concept for reinvigorating an abandoned textile factory in Leicester’s Frog Island. The ruin was mostly destroyed by a fire and Ra’kin has reimagined it, bolstered by modern architecture.

The 20-year-old from Brunei said: “Leicester has deep roots to the textile industry so I designed a workshop where local artists can work together and sell their products, creating a strong sense of community.

“I’m back home now and feeling sad that I’ll be missing the Degree Show, but my amazing friends are setting up my space for me and have promised to video call me on the opening day.

“I can’t wait to return in September for graduations so I can see my friends and share my achievements with my family. I chose to study at DMU specifically for its diverse culture, which made me feel close to home and less lonely.”

Chelsea's virtual catwalk

Fashion Buying with Design student Chelsea Hayfield will be showcasing a digital runway of her Ted Baker girlswear collection. She created it with CLO 3D, brand new industry software that she learned to use during a year-long placement at Fashion UK, where she designed branded franchise garments for high street and online retailers.

The 24-year-old from Wolverhampton said: “I’m such a Disney and Harry Potter fan so I couldn’t have asked for a better placement year. I learned so much and had lots of fun doing it.”

As the eldest of nine siblings and the first person in her family to go to university, Chelsea overcame many obstacles over the course of six years to fulfil her lifelong dream.

“I’ve wanted to be a designer since I was 12 and I’ve finally done it,” she said. “I’ve worked so hard and there was no way I was going to give up. It means everything to me to be graduating with a First soon - I don’t say that as a cliché, I mean it from the bottom of my heart.”

Posted on Monday 17 June 2024

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