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Top prize for Art and Design learner’s innovative costume design

Art and Design learner Jade Young has won the opportunity of a lifetime after impressing in an FE Design Challenge with her innovative costume design.

Jade (21), who is on the second year of the University of the Arts London (UAL) Level 3 course, was highly commended for her entry into the Royal Opera House competition, focusing on Kenneth Macmillan’s Romeo and Juliet.

She is now preparing to travel to London on March 28, where she’ll have the opportunity to attend a workshop in fashion and costume, tour the backstage costume department and see a Romeo and Juliet matinee.

“We entered the competition as part of one of our units for the course,” Jade said. “We had to choose a vision as part of the brief and I chose to show beauty amongst ugliness, focusing on the final scene.

“I was inspired by fashion designer Hussein Chalayan, who uses dissolvable materials on the runway, because I like to experiment with different media.”

Jade created a dress using imagery such as a bright red heart and flowers, which, once doused with water, dissolved to reveal a more macabre image.

“As Juliet stabbed herself, rain would pour as a metaphor for sadness, and the beautiful red heart melts away into something ugly,” she explained.

“I was really pleased with how it turned out. It wasn’t 100 per cent what I had imagined, but I actually preferred the end result.”

She added: “I almost cried with happiness when I found out I’d been highly commended. It was just amazing. When you enter competitions like this you never think it’s a possibility because of the amount of colleges taking part.

“I worked so hard and really wanted it but because so many people entered I was just in shock. My hard work must have paid off.”

Speaking about the course, Jade continued: “I’ve always had a passion for art and design and did art at GCSE. After I had my little boy, I decided to go back to college to do something I enjoy and would like to pursue as a career.

“I’ve really enjoyed the course and have met some amazing people.

“I’d love to work in costume eventually, but will probably do the Art Foundation Degree to give myself an extra year to decide, then maybe go on to university.

“Before doing this course I didn’t know how much I enjoyed working in fashion and costuming, so it’s definitely inspired me to continue doing what I love.”

Hannah Dobbs, Programme Leader for Art and Design, said: “Jade has pushed herself and worked innovatively to further this project for the Royal Opera House.

“To be awarded highly commended for the costume section of this prestigious competition is a fantastic achievement for her and this opportunity to go backstage in the costume department, watch Romeo and Juliet and attend a workshop suited to costume is amazing.”