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Middlesex Arts students and alumni are making a big impact across the UK

MDX designers and artists making waves with interchangeable streetwear, self-portraiture and work inspired by emotional reactions

The work of students and alumni from the Arts and Creative Industries faculty at MDX has appeared in national newspapers and on billboards across the UK. Here we showcase three talents:

Fashion Textiles and Design graduate Kieran Pruett’s work is devoted to “their younger self, their community and those who have ever felt alienated or rejected by society”.

It features playful and colourful pieces which focus on euphoria and joyful self-expression through the medium of self-portraiture.

Kieran’s graduate collection Deformed Beauty takes inspiration from Francis Bacon, who used distorted portraits.

Kieran said: “I love the idea of taking something perceived as ugly and turning it into something beautiful so adore creating vivid prints that showcase my self-portraiture.

“I am a proud non-binary, deformed individual who as an artist and designer wishes to eradicate my insecurities and use them as inspiration for my work.”

Kieran’s work uses excessive ruffles and bold silhouettes to make people feel “like their most unapologetic selves”.

“I wished to change the narrative of how I feel about myself by romanticising my pain regarding my deformity and my transness,” they said.

“Through my print work I have created artistic and personal designs that possess a euphoric energy.

“My brand name being Queen Quieeran, I want my work to consistently exude a sense of luxury, regality, and extravagance.”

Kieran was named Graduate Talent of the Year by Fashion Crossover London and featured in The Times’ Global Talent of the Year category.

They said: “It feels wonderful to recognised for my design work. My collection is something I’m so incredibly proud of as it is such an encapsulation of me as a person and as a designer, specifically as a trans designer as my community is repeatedly being misrepresented and frankly disparaged in the media.”

Kieran’s wish is for more trans representation in the fashion industry and they are proud to be part of the slow change whereby marginalised communities are being showcased.

Kieran thanked the MDX fashion department for ensuring that “nothing is ever off limits or too outrageous to try out.”

They said: “I’m so grateful to the team for pushing me to create more than I ever thought I was capable of. When I was at school, I was often underestimated therefore I feel lucky to have had a university experience that truly developed my skills.

“It was really liberating to be in a space where my growth as a designer and as a person was encouraged and welcomed. I felt truly safe to be who I am.”

Shifah Wajid, who graduated with a Fashion Design degree in 2022, tackled the world of menswear and urban streetwear in her final collection Cold Theories.

Shifah Wajid and Mohammad Bahri

Focussing on versatility and interchangeability, she created pieces that could be worn in multiple ways – from reversible and layered, to gathered and cinched – while expressing her identity as a working-class Muslim woman.

The collection was recognised in the Global Talent of the Year category in The Times.

“In a way I never allowed myself to dream big, so the fact that I was chosen to be a part of such an established and respected newspaper really took me by surprise,” Shifah said.

“Knowing that thousands of people within the fashion industry read this paper really excited me, I would never have thought that would happen to me.”

Shifah said the themes of inclusivity and the personal journey of an individual are paramount to her work.

“The clothes we wear everyday are a personal and creative choice,” she added.

“If my brand Shifah’s Studio could be someone’s first step in helping them find themselves, their fashion style, or even a creative spark, that would mean more to me than anything else.”

The 23-year-old is undertaking an internship in womenswear and freelancing for a fashion brand in London; helping with concept building, research and designing.

Her work has also featured in French Fashion Magazine Fienfh.

Shifah said: “Being at MDX felt like people believed in me for the first time.

“I learnt to not wait around waiting for someone to save the day and I learnt a lot about myself as person, as a creative, about the world, about the industry and I hope to never stop learning.”

Nigerian 3D artist Rasheed Gbadamosi, who is also known as Z4, believes everyone deserves a place where they truly feel the same.

His work, which focusses on placing characters who can create safe spaces of their own, was selected for Google’s Black History exhibition, All Shades of Black.

Rasheed was also awarded a grant of £500 in conjunction with ClearChannel UK & Shutterstock.

He said: “I try to create emotional reactions with my work, I try to capture feeling as best as I can.”

The MDX Masters student, who will graduate this year, said it was a brilliant but surreal feeling knowing that his work was on billboards around the UK after Pocc, an organisation that champions change through creativity, activism and non-traditional means, used his submission Self Equity.

“That came from a personal space, I had just come to London and I was really struggling to handle everything,” Rasheed said.

“I knew I needed to take care of myself for a second. It is not selfish to love yourself, if you feel good about yourself nobody can make you feel less than you are.”

Rasheed takes inspiration from Pinterest, but is also inspired by everyday objects.

His dream is to be a digital artist making, exhibiting and selling his own art.

Click here to find out more about studying Design courses at MDX.

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