Ana Margarida Santos studied BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles: Print and is graduating as part of Class of 2017. We spoke to Ana about her time at LCF, why she decided to study fashion, what she enjoyed most and what she hopes to do in the future.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the moment you knew you wanted to study fashion?

The moment I knew I wanted to study fashion, with a textile focus, was when I was little. I come from a very small island in Portugal called Madeira and as kid I used to sit down and watch my great-grandmother sew for hours. Somehow, I ended up sharing the same passion for textiles and moved to London to study textiles.

Talk us through your final project…..

I am doing a collaboration and an individual range of textiles. I am collaborating with two very talented students, one from embroidery and the other from pattern cutting. My own range is focused on a few experimental ways of printing on fabric.

The collaboration is about the process of the creation of an idea, from the intellect to the making – it’s about the creative journey. It includes some of my own illustrations that tackle my personal feelings and emotions throughout my creative process.

My individual project is about the physical and mental space. It started with the idea that we all have our physical body, but also intangible thoughts and ideas that others can’t see. This is a very attractive idea to me as I my work is very concerned with identity, and in this case what we can’t see in other people. I didn’t want to be only focused on myself, so most of my work was researched on friends and artists, I studied how they manifest an idea to a physical outcome.

What techniques or theories did you use to create your final piece of work?

I read auto-biographical books and diaries of artists like Marlene Dumas and Eva Hesse to further understand the intellectual process behind creation how an idea originated in the intellect can move from the psychological to the physical area.

Technique wise, I experimented a lot with bleached flock and embraced this technique as my own. Printing on different types of fake leather and fake patent leather added the standard of luxury I wanted to achieve.

Have you undertaken any work experience or done a placement whilst at LCF?

I had the opportunity to do a lot of really exciting placements while at LCF. I am always eager to learn new things, and kept this in mind, throughout my degree. I wanted to learn and improve my skills as much as I could, so I was very independent in my applications. I always remember tutors saying: ‘’what you put in your degree, is what you get out of it’’ – and it’s true! In my first year I interned at J.W. Anderson, doing fabric development. It was such a rewarding experience, where I learned not only about fabrics but also about team work. In my second year I interned in a small screen-printing studio, where I got the amazing opportunity to fly to New York in my placement term, and intern at Marc Jacobs and Proenza Schouler.

Describe your work in five words…..

Expressive, Passionate, Intimate, Eclectic and Experimental.

Do you have a muse?

I guess my muse is not one person in particular, it’s a sort of combination of the artists I like the most like Marlene Dumas, Lourdes de Castro and Ellsworth Kelly. But if I had to pick someone it would be my mother.

What influences your style and work?

Intimate relationships and identity are themes that influence most of my work. What constitutes an intimate relationship and how they are structured and managed between people, objects and places is something that I am spontaneously very drawn to.

My surroundings also play an important role in my work. I always like to experiment new processes and I think my creative process goes hand-in-hand with what I surround myself with to inspire me and mostly with how I feel.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to keep on growing and improving my skills, but one day I would love to have a studio of my own. I also love to work with other people, so working on different projects as a textile and multidisciplinary designer is also something I am considering. LCF was my first step in getting into the industry. It opened a lot of doors and it was where I first learned how to screen-print and about textiles. It has been a great experience.

Have you heard that LCF is moving to east London? What do you think about the move?

I think it will be better to have a campus where everything is in one place. It will be easier to meet people and to cross collaborate. I also think more people live in east anyway!

What do you think Brexit means for the fashion industry and studying in London?

It’s scary, for me and for a lot people I know. It aggravates the situation of foreign students like myself, who choose the UK to study. But, at the end of the day, the creative industry needs to keep going, keep protesting, and never settle. These last two years were really hard-core for the world, but I like to believe there is hope for a better tomorrow. Creativity is not dead and it can be used to make a change.

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