FAD Stories: Kusheda Mensah

FAD Projects, FAD Stories, Fashion Futures
Kush was joint winner of Fashion Futures in 2008, the first year the project showcased at London Fashion Week. Seven years on and she has just graduated from London College of Communication. We pop along to new Designers to talk about her creative journey so far.
What’s been the benefit of showcasing at New Designers?  

“I’ve never been to a trade fair or show like this, so it’s been interesting to see how it all works and what people are actually looking for. I’ve had good feedback about my abstract, drawing style, which is encouraging.”

Kush's colourful graduate collection

Kush’s colourful graduate collection

Tell us about your work?

“Colour is really my thing. I get sucked into pattern and colour. When I print I start with a really abstract approach – ripping papers and exposing those onto screens, moving them around and playing with layout – to see what patterns I can create. Thanks to FAD I always like to integrate art into my work. This collection was inspired by the colour theory of Josef Albers and the abstract expressionism I’ve seen recently in the Richard Diebenkorn exhibition at the Royal Academy. Diebenkorn’s work is very important because it fuses the loose style of expressionism with figurative drawing, and it’s that kind of union that I want to create in my own work.”

Seven years ago you won FAD’s Fashion Futures final. How has FAD supported you since then?

“FAD is always there to talk to; they are so helpful and supportive. They always have advice for me and there are lots of other projects, volunteering opportunities and industry masterclasses I can get involved in. It’s good for connections and networking. It feels like FAD is a family to me.”

Now & Then: Kush with her portfolio at New Designers and in 2008, aged 17, at the Fashion Futures Final

Now & Then: Kush with her portfolio at New Designers and in 2008, aged 17, at the Fashion Futures Final

You’ve maybe not had the easiest journey deciding what you wanted to do. Why is that?

“For a year I was kind of lost, I didn’t know what I was doing. I would always speak to FAD and ask for their advice, and it all helped me to be here now. I think when I won Fashion Futures it was like a whole other world opened up to me. It took some time for me to realise that surface design and print is where my heart lies. I wasn’t cut out for fashion design; I learnt through doing FAD that the skills needed just wasn’t me.”

Did you enjoy doing your degree at London College of Communication?

“I loved it! The foundation part of my BA was more practical, which was great because I just got stuck into printing. Once I did the top up year to convert to a BA it became more theoretical. It was interesting to look at artists more and think about the ideas behind their work.”

Kush's abstract print designs for fashion & interiors

Kush’s abstract print designs for fashion & interiors

What advice would you give to a teenager who is thinking of pursuing print design?

“Always keep your eyes open – you can print anything, even a stain on the pavement. Always believe in yourself – at times you might get a bit down and life things get on top of you. It’s good to take those things and put it into your work.  Always talk to FAD, because they will always help with inspiration, exhibitions you should go to. Keep in contact with people. Stay positive.”

What is your ideal next step?

“I would love to collaborate with either a fashion designer or a furniture designer. I still want to get into more craft stuff like ceramics – applying my prints to different surfaces. There is so much I want to do! If I could have the chance to work for a big company and learn the ins and outs of the trade, that would be amazing.”

See more of Kush’s printed textiles on Arts Thread portfolios. Like this post? Read more FAD Stories here.
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