Thursday, 1 August 2013

Arthur Silver Award Winners - Where are they now? - Part 2

In a previous post about past winners of MoDA's Arthur Silver Award we concentrated on two recent winners. In this post we turn our attention to the winners from 2010 and 2009:

Annie Skipper (BA Applied Print) was our 2010 winner.  After graduating from Middlesex University in 2010, Annie spent a period of time travelling around South America, before returning  to the UK to work as a Buyers Assistant with Laura Ashley, a company she had worked for when studying at Middlesex.  After a year or so she left and joined Clinton's Cards again as Buying Assistant.  At Clinton's she looked after seasonal gifts but due to the company falling into administration she left to join John Lewis, which is where she currently works as a Buyers Assistant in the rugs department.

Talking about her work at John Lewis, Annie commented, "Over the last year I have also looked after the bed linens, children's ranges and and branded assortments.  It is a diverse company and I have the option to get involved with a multitude of tasks.  I work with an international supply base, develop product assortments for the forthcoming seasons from concept to reality, visit trade shows and exhibitions - all whilst working with various stakeholders in the company".

Annie pictured back in 2010, and the furniture
with which she won MoDA's Arthur Silver Award

As Annie is so busy at work she finds it difficult to spend time in the studio on her own practice. When she does have a moment she likes to make her own cards, stationery and small textile gifts - some of which she is hoping to exhibit in November in Theydon Bois.  Annie is also hoping to find time to create her own website where she can promote her artistic work

Our first award winner in 2009 was Elena Picone, BA Fashion Design.  After graduating Elena spent short spells interning for brands such as New Power Studio and Christopher Raeburn, before getting a job as a Design Assistant for a start-up menswear company called UVU.  The brand specialises in running wear for extreme environments for ultra long distance running, in places such as the Amazon jungle or the North Pole. After a year, Elena was promoted to the post of Junior Designer.  Unfortunately after two years with the company, the UK office was closed down.  Elena soon found employment as a Multi-Product Designer at a company called Rhythm, who design and manufacture womenswear for some of the high street's biggest brands such as Topshop and River Island. Elena has found the change to designing womenswear a refreshing challenge after concentrating on menswear since graduating.  Elena commented,"I have been designing for the high street for about six months now and whilst it is extremely fast paced I do enjoy the work and it certainly keeps me on my toes".

An example of Elena's menswear collection
with which she won MoDA's Arthur Silver Award back in 2009
Despite only graduating three and four years ago respectively, the difficult economic climate has had an inevitable impact on both Annie and Elena's early careers, as the companies they had been working  for were either forced to downsize, or (in the case of Clinton's Cards) close completely.  Moving forwards after these sorts of setbacks is never easy, and it is a testament to both of them that despite these problems, they have gone on to new roles which allow them to use the creative skills they developed while they were undergraduates.

Hopefully any art and design students reading this and the previous post will take heart from these positive stories. Trying to make a living hasn't been easy or straightforward for any of our previous Arthur Silver Award winners, and all have faced setbacks and challenges. But whether working for a company or trying to make it on their own, our winners are all working hard to succeed in their chosen fields. We'll be staying in touch with all of them, and who knows what exciting developments we'll be able to report over the coming months and years, as they all strive for further success.

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