Leamington fashion design student wins prestigious bursary award

The bursary will be supporting her studies at a world-renowned arts institution

Hannah Smith (centre) with her award certificate. Photo supplied

A Leamington fashion design student has been presented with a prestigious bursary award to support her studies at her a world-renowned arts institution.

Hannah Smith from Lillington, has been recognised as the Most Outstanding Student for the Warwickshire College of Art, which is based at Royal Leamington Spa College.

Royal Leamington Spa College is part of college group WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group).

The award is supported by The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa and decided by tutors at the college who teach on the UAL Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

It brings with it a bursary award over three years, which will support Hannah during her studies at the prestigious Central Saint Martins art school in London, where she has been accepted to study Womenswear.

Hannah, who attended Trinity Catholic School and Sixth Form, is the 21st recipient of the award – which is the longest standing annual award that the Arts Society Leamington presents.

The 18-year-old said: “I feel very grateful to have been selected for this award and very lucky that it has a bursary associated to it too, I really wasn’t expecting it.

“My work this year has been inspired by my brother who has a physical disability and seeing how he navigates the world. My fashion focuses on where disabled people fit in fashion, and there is certainly a lack of visibility for disabled people in the industry.

“I’ve wanted to go for Central St Martins for years and it’s a real dream for me. The bursary from the Arts Society will help me when I get there, because fashion can be quite an expensive subject to study.

“In the future I would really like to design for my own name. I want to be designing on the same level of the people who are at the forefront of fashion, with the aim of starting conversations more than trends.”

Edwina McConville, Arts Volunteering secretary for The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa said: “Hannah has worked so hard this year and is fully deserving of the award.

“She is thinking outside the box and looking at new ways to approach fashion. I think her work is amazing, it’s so different, she has made the issues facing disabilities a talking point with her fashion.”

Shaun Pitt, chairman of The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa, added: “People like Hannah are the future of fashion. The next Vivienne Westwood has got to come from somewhere, so why not Leamington?

“This year, when most organisations have been financially strapped, we have fortunately been able to increase our donations and support to the arts in the region and I am delighted that Hannah is one of those to benefit.

“We look forward to continuing this relationship with the college. It’s our longest standing award and has been a great success over the years.”

Adele Christie, course leader, added: “We have had some incredible students with us this year who have all worked hard and were offered successful university places despite a very challenging academic year.

“Hannah is a determined and conscientious student who has a mature ability to turn ordinary materials into exquisite pieces of work so we are delighted to choose her for this award and Hannah has been the real standout, so we were delighted to choose her for this year’s award.

“Everyone in the art and design department at Royal Leamington Spa College would like to thank The Arts Society for their continued support of our students through this award.”

To find out more about art and design courses at Royal Leamington Spa College go to: www.wcg.ac.uk/study