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Unai Zapiain

Never Not East London

The first impression I had of University of East London was how many different types of people went here.  I liked the diversity of the fashion student cohort. I thought my experience would be, like many large universities, where each lecture is anonymously delivered to a very big group of students, without building any confidence between lecturers and students. But I found out it wasn’t like that, as student groups are not too big, so every student has their own voice and there is a closeness with lecturers which I really appreciate.

I remember my first day perfectly, all the students from fashion studies were called to the studio, where the lecturers introduced themselves and welcomed us to the university. I was intrigued and nervous as everything was new for me. To see how diverse and multicultural the fashion group was, International students were asked to raise their hands and talk about our nationality. It was in that moment when I met one of my closest friends today, who I’m living with to this day. I remember being impressed at how big the campus was and all the available spaces and services for students.

The academic team, apart from delivering lectures, are also industry professionals, which is helpful, as they keep up with industry’s fast pace, helping you develop an insightful view of it. This way, they also guide you in finding the path of your future career, while helping you develop a sensitiveness and awareness necessary for a successful future in fashion.

From the first term you must nurture yourself about many different things to acquire a broad knowledge. To become a fashion professional, it is a must to be aware of things that are happening in society, economy or arts not just in your city or country, but also in other places and cultures of the world.  The key of making your first year less stressful is to start thinking about the idea for your next projects, since the day that the assignment is introduced; as I would say the most complex aspect is to figure out the direction of the project, in order to start as soon as possible developing the assessment.

I specially remember the lunch times with my friends next to the dock in sunny days, staring to the arriving and departing planes and thinking where the planes could possibly be coming from while we were being sun kissed.

If I could do it again, I wouldn’t change anything, as I think my year it’s been the result of different positive and negative experiences, that took me to the place and the person I am today. I think you just have to be ready to work and spend all your efforts in your studies, you’ll have moments when you don’t feel in your best moment, but those moments are as necessary as the good ones to get through and evolve.

My advice would be to take advantage of the university’s facilities (the print room for any printed assessment, the studios and cameras for any shoot, library services). Second tip would be to consider attending to workshops like the Adobe one as they can be very helpful for your uni projects. The third one would be to ask for a student Oyster card as soon as possible as you can save loads of money, especially if you have to commute from other zones to the third one. The fourth one is to consider going to the gym in Sports Dock as it is way cheaper than in regular gyms and you can take the habit to go for some workout after lectures.

Unai Zapiain is a Fashion Design student at University of East London