Mike Bastin at UKFT

Mike Bastin, MA Fashion Marketing and Branding Course Leader, was invited as an expert panellist by the U.K Fashion and Textile Association’s (UKFT) recent “Doing Business in China” forum with a large number of U.K fashion industry representatives, in London.

UKFT brings together designers, manufacturers, agents and retailers to promote their businesses and the fashion industry throughout the UK and internationally.

In particular Mike spoke about the process and importance of registering both a trade and brand name in China and informed the audience of U.K fashion industry executives of the very different regional cultures across China and the need to adapt the fashion brand’s image accordingly. Here are some pictures taken at the event.


Interview with Amrit Singh (MrASingh) – WSA Alumnus

amritFrom time to time we catch up with alumni from Winchester School of Art to see what they are up to now. Recently we spoke to Amrit Singh – MrASingh – Creative Designer, Artist & Content Creator, winner of the Lord Stafford award for Entrepreneurial spirit and the West Midlands Mixed Media award in Graphic Design, and former WSA student.

When were you at WSA?

I studied a Masters degree in Communication Design and graduated in 2008.

What has happened in your career since you left?

A lot has happened since then. I worked as a graphic designer and graphic design manager for various companies and design agencies, and freelanced for a number of years for companies around the world.

Now I’m an award-winning creative designer, artist, speaker and content creator. I have over 10 years of graphic design industry experience, working with blue chip companies around the world delivering first class design, branding and social media solutions.

I’m one of the top creative broadcasters on Twitter’s live streaming platform, Periscope. My Periscope broadcasts have reached over 2.5 million viewers worldwide and I’ve been featured multiple times by Periscope, Twitter, Mashable, Huffington Post, Adweek, International Business Times and Sky News.

I also founded NowHumanity, a social initiative that uses social media to highlight humanitarian issues around the world, and in 2016 I was one of the first to live stream the European refugee crisis and broadcast unedited, first-person footage from the ground in 5 cities to over 500,000 people.

I’ve also published two books (a photography book and a colouring book) and spoken on various stages around the U.K, Europe and America.

What are you currently engaged in?

Currently, I’m a freelance creative designer, artist, speaker, live streamer and content creator.

A few months ago, I left my full time design job to go back into freelancing and work for businesses and brands, mainly focusing on print design, branding and advertising campaigns. As a speaker, I talks about my journey as a designer, as a live streaming influencer, how to use social media for social good etc. My talks are mainly aimed at small-medium businesses, PR agencies and creatives.

As a content creator, I’m working with large brands to create content using either my live streaming influence or art for social media channels. The content ranges from high quality photography using their products, creative videos to live, interactive content.

Last August I launched my art brand, InkANIMA and over the last few months, I’ve been creating intricate art and growing my brand. I’ve exhibited my artwork in San Francisco, London and twice in Birmingham. I’m also one of four international judges for Pébéo’s Mixed Media Art Prize and Exhibition 2017 with Cass Art.


What do you remember from your time at WSA, and how have your studies informed your work since?

I really enjoyed my time at WSA. The environment is very good to nurture creative growth and the lecturers are knowledgeable but more importantly, work in the industry themselves. I loved the entrepreneurship module I signed up for, also the screen printing workshops. There are plenty of opportunities to continue to learn and develop skills outside of your course, which I recommend taking advantage of.

What future projects do you have lined up?

I have a few exciting speaking engagements lined up (one with Twitter UK), freelance design projects and also judging the international art competition. I’ve recently been commissioned to paint a large bear (The Big Sleuth) that will be placed in public later this year. I’m also working with the BBC on their Digital Cities project, which I’m really looking forward to! This is why I really enjoy freelancing and creating content, because every week is different.

What advice would you give to current students?

  • Put into practice everything you’re currently learning, and keep pushing your boundaries. Set mock projects if you have to, but keep learning and look at new trends.
  • If you haven’t already, start to create or work on your own personal brand. It’s very important having a brand, and as creatives working on other brands, it’s easy to forget about your own.
  • Network, network, network. Really important if you want to get out there and work on exciting projects.
  • Use social media! I have sold my art worldwide just from social media. I’ve also won large design projects over design agencies purely because the CEO has seen my work on social media and loved it. Social media and live streaming is really powerful and can help you get noticed, but most importantly, it helps you grow confidence if yourself.

Thank you for your time, Amrit, and good luck with all of your projects.


You can learn more about Amrit and his works at http://mrasingh.tv and http://www.inkanima.com/. Or you can follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mrasingh, or on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/mrasingh/.

If you are a former student of WSA and would like to tell us what you are up to now, please contact Calum Kerr at C.Kerr@soton.ac.uk.

Sustainability Forum – The Afternoon Session (Part 2)

The final session of the day featured just two speakers: the renowned fashion journalist and campaigner, Caryn Franklin, and our keynote speaker, designer and campaigner, Orsola de Castro.

franklinCaryn spoke about the journey she has been on through her career and how she has made a speciality out of doing it ‘her way’ by embedding her beliefs in her work. Examples of this might include wearing an anti ‘Page 3’ t-shirt for an unrelated photo-shoot, or using only diverse and disabled models in the shoot for a look book.

In her process she always asks questions, allowing her to get first hand knowledge of the situations and treatment of the people on whom fashion has an impact.

She has enjoyed challenging big business and won, and has drawn inspiration from Vivienne Westwood to sustain her in her passion.

She also mentioned how she studied for an MSc in Psychology, which has given her the academic knowledge to reinforce the believes she has always held and fought for. This has resulted in her being able to argue that diversity within fashion advertising – in particular – leads to better general mental health for women, it also helps to disrupt stereotyping of social groups.

She says that fashion gives people the chance to gain confidence, to reinvent themselves, and to gain power. It should be used to improve and enthuse, and not objectify.

More at http://franklinonfashion.com/

Orsola started as a designer, with the brand From Somewhere, which entirely used waste products as raw materials. In her later career she works for her own consultancy, Reclaim to Wear, which deals with upcycling.

She is also currently involved in the Fashion Revolution movement which she founded in 2013, and which started campaigning in 2014.


The purpose of Fashion Revolution is to try to reclaim fashion as something which is concerned with people, not just money. She said that fashion is emerging from a period of glossy stupidity with too many negative messages, and it is time to regain the positive.

Fashion is meant to be aspirational, but Fashion Revolution want this to apply to the whole supply and production chain, not just the end product.

One campaign they ran was to encourage people to quiz the brands of the clothing they wear with the question ‘Who Made My Clothes?’ This was hugely popular and has started a journey of transparency in the industry, and also a reciprocal campaign of the workers posting images saying ‘I made your clothes’.

Fashion Revolution wants the industry to produce clothes made with dignity, and to show that sustainable and ethical fashion – made with joy and skill – IS fashion, and that everything else is not.

Orsola’s final point was that the role of a designer, or anyone in the fashion industry, now needs to be one of finding solutions.

More information about Fashion Revolution can be found at http://fashionrevolution.org/.


Sustainability Forum – The Afternoon Session (Part 1)

Ms Delia  Crowe's photoUpon reconvening after lunch, the first speaker was WSA’s own Delia Crowe, pathway leader for the MA in Fashion Design. She spoke about the long view of sustainability and how it can be applied both now and in the future.

In a presentation which she freely admitted had more questions than answers, she talked about the way modern fashion is mostly aimed at the 10% richest in society, but needs to adjust to design for the other 90%. In doing so they would need to consider the needs of everyone – in terms of ethics and environment, as well as fashion. She stressed the need for ordinary consumers of clothes to be made more aware of the process that goes into their production.

She pointed out that there is no need to apportion blame or guilt for what has been done, but moving forward it needs to be everyone’s responsibility to be more sustainable, whether producer or consumer, retailer or marketer.

In the end Delia’s overarching question was: is there a way to be ‘more good’ rather than just ‘less bad’?

creatconChrissy Levett of Creative Conscience spoke next. She was talking about the design awards, for students and graduates, that her organisation provides.

They award their prizes for a use of creativity to make a positive change in the world, and she used the example of one winner whose graphic novel about teenage suicide was published online and garnered over 2 million views, as well as thousands of emails saying how the messages she had conveyed had saved lives.

As well as giving awards for the projects, Creative Conscience also help the designers to get their projects out into the world, so they can actually have an effect.

With regard to fashion and textiles, she showed examples of projects that included approaches to:

  • zero waste
  • recycling
  • single-fabric uniforms
  • nanoscale embroidery
  • working with communities
  • pattern cutting to minimise waste
  • recycling plastic banners
  • gender equality
  • and more

Creative Conscience have an Open brief, and it is currently open until 20/04/17.

More details can be found at https://www.creative-conscience.org.uk/

ebdZoe Olivia John of Engage by Design spoke next, looking at how well-being should be an integral part of any plan for sustainability.

She showed how the standard definitions of sustainability are often applicable to the developing world, rather than developed nations, and so account needs to be taken of what the future should be in the latter type of society. Her argument is that well-being and happiness should be part of that envisioned future, and that rather than being simply sustainable, we should look for ways to help people flourish.

She posed an open question of how this might be applied in fashion and textiles, and while she did not provide an answer – preferring the question to provide a spur – she suggested that it wasn’t simply about changing what happens at the moment, but that a whole new paradigm of production and consumption is needed.

More information can be found at www.engagebydesign.org

soboThe final speaker in this session was Samson Soboye, the founder/owner/designer of SOBOYE, a London based African fashion & lifestyle brand and boutique. He spoke about the work he has done with his brand and the way it continues an African tradition of reusing and recycling materials.

Coming from a Nigerian background, Samson spoke about the way his poor community would make household objects from discarded items such as electrical wire and bottle tops.

In his work he has continued this idea of re-using items that would otherwise be considered rubbish to create both fashion and household items, one example being a handbag made from woven strips of black plastic rubbish sacks.

He also showed how the remnants from shirts in his collections have been made into throws and scarves.

Samson espouses the idea that it is everyone’s responsibility to make their small contribution to sustainability, allowing it to work in combination with others to change the world.

More about his brand and shop can be found at http://soboye.com/

Sustainability Forum – The Morning Session

dcaDeborah Campbell of DCA (Deborah Campbell Atelier), was the first to speak after the staff panel which introduced the forum. She told the story of her own journey in building her own sustainable fashion brand, and the many brick walls she hit on the way to getting her clothes into John Lewis.

Among the issues she faced were finding suppliers and manufacturers from within the UK. Among problems which included manufacturers closing and supply chains failing, she managed to fulfil her early orders. But these problems led to her now use a fair-trade company in Bangalore, which allows her to control both quality and price in a way which was impossible before.

Issues still remain around the prices DCA have to pay when compared to the prices retailers are willing to stand, but she is working hard to address these, and her clothes are now on-sale in John Lewis.

Going forward, among many other issues, she sees a need to reform manufacturing in the UK to meet the needs of brands and retailers.


effThe second speaker was Hilary Marsh of the Ethical Fashion Forum. She outlined many of the environmental and issues associated with fashion, including massive pollution and modern slavery.

She talked about the legislation which now requires UK businesses to ensure their supply chains are free from slave labour, and other ways in which manufacturing has improved.

However, she sees a problem with fast fashion devaluing the respect the consumer has for the production of clothes, and this is something which needs to be addressed. Businesses can do this by focusing on a ‘triple bottom line’ where the same ideas applied to finances are also applied to both social issues and environmental ones.

She highlighted the ways in which designers can address many issues by paying attention to, amongst other things: longevity of a garment, the fibres and fabrics used, the possibility of upcycling and recycling, and innovations such as modular clothing.

The Ethical Fashion Forum, which Hilary was representing, provides information and education, networking opportunities, contacts, events, a large database of suppliers, and much more, to help fashion businesses be more sustainable. More information can be found at http://www.ethicalfashionforum.com/

wisebirdsRounding out the morning was Mo Tomaney of Wise Birds, talking about her nearly 40 years in the fashion business, and trying to unpick some of the longer standing issues in the business.

She looked at the history of fashion and identified the way that early supply chains to the UK relied on cotton from slave labour in the USA, and more recently from low-cost materials from the colonies, such as India. These show that there is a long and problematic background to today’s supply chains, with little of the value of a finished garment finding its way down to the beginning of the chain.

Her work with Wise Birds has been to work with small producers to foster growth at home and overseas, and to find ways to spread the value more evenly along the chain.

More information can be found at https://www.wisebirds.london/

Sustainability Forum at WSA, 2017


The second Fashion and Sustainability Forum to be held at Winchester School of Art is currently underway.

Throughout the day there will be a number of talks by staff as well as visiting designers and other industry professionals. The focus is on ways in which the fashion industry is working to be more ethical and kinder to the environment, and what more can be done – and needs to be done – in the future.

The event is led by Delia Crowe, pathway leader for the MA in Fashion Design. In her introduction, she laid out some issues the day will hope to address:

‘With so many choices and a bewildering array of green/organic/fair- trade/slow/recycled/upcycled/vintage – how do we make responsible choices? What does that even mean? The ‘tyranny of choice’ leads to confusion and anxiety – or is that just me? Join us as we take the long view when considering these important and complex issues – there has never been a more pressing need for creative solutions. This is not about finger pointing and guilt; it is about enabling our students, graduates and staff to join and lead the debate.’

The first event of the day has been a panel discussion amongst members of staff: Reem Alasadi (MA Coordinator of MA Textile Design and MA Fashion Design), Mike Bastin (MA Pathway Co-ordinator for Fashion Marketing and Branding), Amanda Bragg-Mollison (Programme Leader BA Fashion Marketing / Management), Cecilia Langemar (Programme Leader, Fashion & Textile Design) & Delia Crowe (Pathway Leader MA in Fashion Design) led by Lipi Begum (Lecturer and Pathway Leader, MA Fashion Management).

Issues that have arisen so far include the ways in which technology might be employed to reduce waste in the manufacturing process, by tailoring garments for the consumer and reducing the need for travel; and the difficulties faced by new designers in attempting to pay a fair wage to workers within a market which is seemingly obsessed with driving down prices and creating ‘fast’ fashion.

It has been an interesting and inspiring start to the day and promises much more for the coming speakers, who include: Orsola De Castro, Caryn Franklin MBE, Samson Soboye, Zoe Olivia John, Creative Conscience/Chrissy Levett, Delia Crowe, Mo Tomaney, Hilary Marsh /Ethical Fashion Forum, Deborah Campbell Atelier and more…

You can follow events at the Forum, and join in, on Twitter, using the hashtag, #wsa_sustainabilityforum


WSA Fashion Show for International Women’s Day

Saturday 11th March, West Quay, Southampton. 13:20-15:30.

IWDWSA POSTER 1Students from across Winchester School of Art’s postgraduate programmes will be holding a Fashion Show at Southampton’s West Quay shopping centre, on Saturday 11th March, as part of an event for International Women’s Day. Catwalk shows will be held at 13:20, 14:00, 14:45 and 15:25. The theme of the show will be “Be Bold for Change” which aims to encapsulate a vibrant message about a new, existential female fashion consumer.

Following an initial inspiration from Reem Alasadi, the MA Coordinator of MA Textile Design and MA Fashion Design at WSA – in collaboration with programme leaders from the MAs in Fashion Design, Fashion Management, and Fashion Marketing & Branding – students from across the school have formed a company to organise and produce the show.

Students have taken on all the roles including forming an advertising team, organising sponsorship, PR and Marketing, photography, journalism, styling, and back stage activities, as well as acting as models and providing the clothes for the catwalk.

Such has been the success of the project, with students attracting sponsorship from Body Shop, Karen Millen, Oasis and FatFace and writing in the international media, that a similar project at the same time next year has already been pencilled in.

The shows will be part of a wide range of activities being held at West Quay on Saturday to support International Woman’s Day. More about these events can be found online at http://www.discoversouthampton.co.uk/events/international-women-s-day-celebrations-14946

More information about the courses at WSA can be found at http://www.southampton.ac.uk/wsa/postgraduate/index.page?

For more information about the show, contact Reem Alasadi on R.Alasadi@soton.ac.uk.