An interview with Yee Ki Ng
This year BA (Hons) Fashion student Yee Ki Ng was shortlisted for two major design awards in the UK: The Golden Shears Award and the Bridal Buyers Award.
These and other competitive opportunities give NUA students like Yee Ki valuable experience in the creative industries before graduation. This has helped her enter her final years of studies with confidence. Yee Ki talked to us about her time at NUA.
Final year Fashion students create a full collection. What is your focus for your final year in the undergraduate Fashion course and your final collection?
I want to focus more on pattern cutting because I’m good at sculptural and structured garments. That’s what I’m known for and my teachers have agreed that it’s my strength.
I’ve been thinking about making an evening dress collection. I’ve not seen anyone do that here, but I am interested in changing the modern evening dress. Last Saturday I went to London to look for fabrics and I had an idea. I saw many furs – not real, just fake – and I was thinking I’d use fake fur to make an evening dress. Always people use silk and other very soft fabrics. I’ll still use soft fabrics, but I’ll research how ancient people used fur in their garments, look at prehistoric animals themselves and mix them together in eveningwear.
And you can wear them in the winter! It’s so cold in the winter but there are still balls and parties. When you wear my dresses you can be warm and look elegant. I’m just thinking about it…
You were shortlisted for two major national design competitions in one year. How does that make you feel?
I’m not just happy to have been shortlisted, I’m happy to have progressed so much. I know what I can do and I’m more clear on that now. Entering the competition makes me more and more happy, but I know I’m doing my best.
Before I was shortlisted I had to submit the design and tell them the inspiration for the idea. Then they chose 12 people to take into the final. There were 12 finalists and NUA had three people shortlisted. Now I need to make the dress and there will be an event in September – a show – and from that they will choose a winner. They also said the shortlisted dresses will be in an exhibition. I’m so excited.
Our University also had three people into the finalists for the Golden Shears Award. There were only 25 finalists and we had three in the shortlist!
Did the staff support you in these projects?
My tutor Kevin really helped me a lot. He’s so patient when I don’t understand something. When I ask many questions he’ll explain again and again. When I get feedback forms I’ll highlight all the things I’m not really confident about and ask tutors to clarify their so I can improve.
I’m very serious about tutor feedback. I want to improve and improve. All the time I am asking Kevin’s opinion, and he’s very willing to tell me. I think I have progressed so much this year because of his support. I have many tutors and technical teachers and they all help me. Some people become reliant on technical teachers and tutors to help them make things. I am not prepared to do that, but I am active in asking the right questions so that lecturers don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out what help I need. I don’t waste time by not knowing what I want to achieve.
I’m a very organised person. Before I start a project I will list things I don’t really know and I will let the lecturers help. Then I know what I need to do and what to research. I make a time-table and I do it. I’m doing exciting things and I’m happy. I have high expectations and I want to really achieve something. I chose the right subject.”
Are you nervous when you enter design competitions?
No, because I know if there’s something I don’t understand I can ask. The University has given me the chance to enter these competitions and get experience. If they separated studio projects and told us to enter the competitions on our own, that wouldn’t be good. As students we’re already very busy. If we had to do the school projects and make work for the competitions? Impossible. So our lecturers tell us: this is school work you can enter into competitions.
Do you feel proud of what you have accomplished?
Yes, this is my favourite subject. I studied A Levels in business in Hong Kong, and even though it wasn’t stressful I wasn’t happy or excited. I decided in University to study what I love. I’m doing exciting things and I’m happy. I have high expectations and I want to really achieve something. I chose the right subject. I feel so happy now (even though it’s stressful).
How do your parents feel about your studies?
They said “You’ve made your choice, now you have to study hard.” Maybe it’s cultural, but they say, “You’ve been shortlisted for competitions and your results are good, but that is your responsibility. Keep going.” So, I will keep going. I prefer my parents to say that, so that I keep focused on improving. The tutors do say I’m improving, so I feel I have support – but I will keep going!
"I’m doing exciting things and I’m happy. I have high expectations and I want to really achieve something. I chose the right subject."