Our BA Fashion graduate, Andrea Christophi, is preparing to make her first step professionally and is packing for a long trip away to China.
You have just finished your studies and you are preparing to make your first steps professionally, so, how would you describe your experience in Alexander College/UWE Bristol?
It was a really interesting experience. For the past three years I saw myself going through all the stages to be a new fashion designer. I worked hard for the college courses and had plenty of work experience in various fashion companies. It was really hard to cope with both. But I got the opportunity to meet people within the industry, to participate in competitions, fashion shows and events. I tried to learn and get as much direction as I could during the past three years.
During your studies you had the chance to have some remarkable professional cooperation and job offers. Can you tell us more about them?
During my studies I had done a lot of professional cooperations. It actually started from my first year. Mr. Pantelis Panteli invited Mr. Noti Panagiotou to give a lecture and founded him a very interesting personality, so I asked him to work with him during my summer vacation. After one month under his instructions much more partnerships came up such as the “Star Cyprus 2014” and “Star Cyprus 2015”, Madame Figaro Awards 2014 and 2015, Wella Professional Hair Show, Mad Music Video Awards 2015, Cyprus Mad Walk 2015, Eurovision Song Project etc. The very next day of our last fashion show as a fashion student of Alexander College and UWE I had a job offer from fashion designer Rita Attala.
In your opinion, what is the main advantage of the BA Fashion Design of UWE Bristol in Alexander College?
In my opinion the BA Fashion Design has two main advantages: Firstly, the course is offered by a high ranked university, UWE Bristol. The modules taught are very well structured, whereas at the same time, there is a lot more than creating a collection or a label which is the practical part; there are also modules developing the critical thought and preparing students for the industry. Secondly, the course leader Pantelis Panteli has been in the fashion industry for 20 years. His knowledge and experience is valuable to us as he is always at our side to teach and guide us.
Finally, you are packing for a long trip away to China. It sounds quite exciting! Can you tell us a bit about it?
Actually this opportunity came in an interesting way. I knew before getting my degree what I want. That was an internship abroad. While searching on the internet I found in UWE’s website a program to go to China and teach English. In my mind I accepted this trip as an inspirational one. I had a really good time and met really nice people. During my last week the headmaster of the school I was, arrange a meeting with a factory for me. They saw my work and they decided we could work together to create something really beautiful. As a result I am traveling to China.
What is that one ‘thing’ from our academic institution that you will always keep in your heart?
Probably there is not just one thing. Together we spend 3 years and every year I learned new things, they helped me a lot. But I will always keep in my heard that they believe in me more than I do.
Now that you are leaving what is the advice you would give to the BA Fashion Design students?
I would advise them to work and challenge themselves every moment in order to be better. There are opportunities out there you just have to create the right coordinates in order to spot them.