If you are an alumni from UAL and you’re based in Greece, make sure to check out the UAL Greek Alumni group! The group has been set up by Valentini Argyropoulou, Melissanthi Spei and Ariadni Zori, with the aim to create a creative network to share job opportunities, advice, and to start collaborations.  To kick things off on 19 May 2018 they are holding an informal networking event in Athens, and they’d love for you to join them, to hear how you can help this creative community to flourish.

We caught up with two-thirds of the group, Melissanthi (MS) and Valentini (VA) to find out more about what they want the group to achieve.

Valentini Argyropoulou and Melissanthi Spei

What did you study at UAL and why did you choose London?
MS: I studied MA Fashion Artefact at London College of Fashion. London was my top choice for completing my studies in University and I am very grateful that I got to have this experience through UAL.
VA: I did an MA in Fashion & Footwear Design. This was the one and only Master I wished to study so London was the only option! However, I love London so much anyway!

What are you up to now?
MS: I am working freelance, focusing on collaborations and selling my own work. Also I have launched a jewellery line which has also led in collaborations with museums in Greece.
VA: A lot of freelancing footwear design work for companies and factories!  I also have a small footwear brand and a professional travel blog which is named after (what a surprise!) my shoes!!

What is your proudest achievement so far?
MS: Having lived for so long in a diverse country such as the UK, it has really changed the way I see things and has elevated the quality of my work.
VA: A creativity and technical skills Design Award in Athens Fashion Week, the collaboration with some people I really wished to work with (in catwalks and exhibitions) and when two museums (in the UK and Switzerland) requested my shoes for their collections!

What do you like most about being part of the alumni community?
MS: So far UAL community has supported me in my professional career and has opened doors for me. It is hard work and nothing comes easy but from my years of studying at UAL up until now it has been a welcoming environment and it is always great to meet people who have studied there.
VA: Meeting interesting people, learning about their amazing stories and finding opportunities worldwide!

Why/ how did you get involved with the Greek Alumni Group?
MS: I wanted to reach out to other graduates from UAL based in Greece. It is such a great institution and I know there is a lot of talent in Greece it would be really worthwhile creating a creative network where you can meet people with similar experiences to yours and also collaborate.
VA: I was really keen to help Greek alumni to get together and create something that could help also the country (that has been under financial crisis for over 8 years now) and I still want to chase these kind of things! Luckily, we have a Facebook group so at least we have an alumni base for building up a stronger community!

What has the group been up to?
VA: We have been met up twice as a group, the first event was held in Athens where 20-25 people attended and the second one in London. I have participated in a lecture for UAL students regarding the alumni groups, the importance of the community and how alumni and students can benefit from this, promoting at the same time our group.
MS: It is a very early stage but at the moment the main aim is to build a creative network in Greece that could really make things move forward in so many ways.

What do you hope the UAL Greek Alumni group will achieve?
MS: Create a strong network of creative professionals in such a crucial time for Greece where a lot of young people leave and only few chose to return, so it is important to have a strong community of talent to support that and one more reason to return.
VA: We have been looking into creating a website that will showcase our work divided by categories (fashion / art/ design for example) so anyone who is looking for a freelancing / full time  etc. (for a project in Greece or anywhere) would be able to find the suitable candidate there.

For more information on the event, or to keep up to the date with the latest from the group, head to their Facebook page.