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CANDI Alum Kenoly Mbele Shares her Student Experience #LoveOurColleges

Kenoly Mbele studied UAL Level 3/4 Foundation Diploma in Fashion Textiles at City and Islington College. Read on to find out how she found the course, overcoming grief and going on to pass her exams.

CANDI Alum Kenoly Mbele Shares her Student Experience #LoveOurColleges

Why did you choose the Fashion Textiles Foundation Diploma at CANDI?

During my childhood I dreamed of a career in fashion. I would hand stitch clothes for my dolls, create collages, watch fashion runways and draw designs in a mini notebook which my dad gave me. My little imaginative and creative mind helped me to play around with different materials. As I studied art and textiles at Hornsey School for Girls, I learnt different creative techniques such as clay making, sketching with black pencils, abstract painting, seam stitches and constructing a skirt.

CANDI gave me the opportunity to try different aspects of fashion textiles to explore my own potential. I really enjoy trying new techniques to make my work appealing to an audience because I was born to be experimental.

What was your favourite subject within the course?

From the beginning I was interested in fashion on the whole, but as I learnt different techniques the quality of my work began to change. With the help of my tutor, Isatu Taylor, I began to explore fashion textiles and realized I had a passion for it, so I continued to produce drawings in my reflective journal.

What was your best experience at CANDI?

During my foundation course I had the confidence to create my own Tate Exchange project. ‘The Power of Storytelling/Childhood,’ was interactive for the public; toddlers, youths, adults and the elderly. I had a collection of childhood books on a bookshelf, toys on the table and a box of sweets. Creating a nursery atmosphere, I wanted the adults to feel like a child because as an adult with responsibilities we don’t have time for self-care.

How did you find lockdown?

My God-Grandma died on 16 April 16 this year, due to COVID-19. I found it really difficult to cope. My tutor, Isatu, suggested I talk to a mentor and she was amazing. I spoke to her about my future goals, which university I’m hoping to go to and taking care of my health. Changing my lifestyle and taking care of myself helped me mentally. I met up friends socially distanced, and I felt free. It has helped me think about how important and precious life is. I’m so grateful to my mentor, I learnt a lot and I’ll continue to take her advice on board.

How did you feel when you received your exam results?

When I got a distinction for Fashion Textiles, I screamed! My sister jumped on me, my parents hugged me with joy and I cried with happiness. I never knew that I would get a distinction. I texted my tutor and sent her a screenshot of my grade. She was so happy for me.

I hope to go to UAL Chelsea because the university has great facilities for fashion textiles and I look forward creating abstract pieces. I can’t wait for the next chapter of my life.

See examples of Kenoly’s work on her Instagram account here.


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