Art, Design & Photography
“NESCol is a great college – it has a really relaxed atmosphere and is in a great location. It was so easy to get to after dropping my son off at nursery, and the lecturers are so encouraging and involved.”
A career in fashion has always been an obvious path for Regan Gray. From a young age, when she designed and made clothes for her dolls – and even started a fashion magazine in primary school – she has always had a passion for following the latest design trends. So applying to study Textiles when she left school in 2014 was a natural choice.
The seven years between starting the course and graduating with the HND qualification have seen Regan move across the country and back, study two other courses, start a textile-related accessory business, and grow her family, welcoming her son in 2016.
But one thing that remained constant for Regan was her love of fashion. So after expanding her interest in various fashion fields, and trying her hand at both fashion journalism and fashion business, Regan returned to NESCol, where she studied her final year of HND Textiles.
She said: “I came back to finish my HND in Textiles at NESCol, which was so much more enjoyable for me after having had a few years to try various things and realise my path. NESCol is a great college – it has a really relaxed atmosphere and is in a great location. It was so easy to get to after dropping my son off at nursery, and the lecturers are so encouraging and involved.”
Despite returning to college in the midst of a global pandemic, Regan thrived on the course. She developed her interests in sustainability, historical fashion, and even incorporated her time at home with her son into the projects she undertook, putting a focus on childrenswear.
“It was a bit different coming back to college in a pandemic, but our course let us come in to work for one or two days a week, which was really good.
“We had to think about research based on our lockdown activities, and for me that was staying home with my son every day – helping him learn and playing with him. It was also thinking about how children’s clothes are hard-wearing as they are intended for playing in the garden and doing practical activities – or crawling on the floor.”
Regan became the first student on the HND Textiles course to focus on children’s fashion in her project work. In fact, her dedication and innovation in the way she conducted her work whilst also raising her son led to her lecturers nominating her for a Go Celebrate Award, which recognise the achievements of students from across the college. She was awarded the Go Innovate Award.
“It was really heart-warming to be recognised by my lecturers for the hard-work that I put in to the course. I am really thankful to Janice [Scott, Curriculum Manager] for believing in me and pushing me to work at the best of my ability and without limits.”
Having now completed her HND, Regan is continuing her learning at Robert Gordon University, where she is studying Fashion and Textiles. She is working towards running her own business, where she can put a focus on sustainable fashion.
For any other mums who are thinking of returning to education, she has the following advice:
“I think it can be hard to juggle children and studying, however I think it is nice for children to see their parents studying and working hard towards something and it can set a good example. I did not want to give up my career dreams and goals – I’m just achieving things in a different order to some other people, but life is a journey – not a race.”