Published on October 24, 2012 | by Chinedu Okafor

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Journey to Greatness for UAL and Nike

UAL range of T-shirts

The UAL range of T-shirts inspired by leading athletes [Nike]

 Graduates from all six art and design colleges at the University of the Arts London have designed a T-shirt collection for sport supplier Nike.

The ‘Journey to Greatness’ collection – comprising five individual designs by the graduates and British contemporary artist Dave White – is on sale at Nike’s 1948 concept store in Shoreditch.

The It’s Nice That creative agency was responsible for the collaboration. Company director Alex Bec said: “The T-shirts are great, I love them. I think the standard is amazing.”

“The beauty of this is that it was an opportunity right across the University.” Lawrence Zeegen

The graduates were put into four college teams – Central Saint Martins, London College of Communication, London College of Fashion and Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon – to develop and complete their designs.

The teams were mentored by both Dave White and the Dean of Design at London College of Communication, Lawrence Zeegen.

“As we developed the project we knew that it wasn’t just an LCC project or a CSM project; the beauty of this is that it was an opportunity right across the University”, Zeegen said.

The 16 graduates were recommended for the project by their previous tutors for their design skills, proactivity and “ability to walk into the unknown”, Zeegen commented.

The project brief invited the former UAL students to create a collection that would represent a high level of athletic commitment, dedication and achievement during the summer’s high profile sporting events.

“I think the main thing was developing a design that could incorporate all of our skills.” Joe Joiner

During the six-month project, the graduates had access to world-class sporting talent to gain inspiration for their designs.

Industry Collaborations 

The athletes included: marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe; British 100m and 200m sprinter Harry Aikines-Aryeetey , 200m Olympic Gold medallist Allyson Felix and Commonwealth and World Champion Dai Greene.

Valentina Verc, LCC graduate and team member, said: “We had the opportunity to talk to the athletes, access to say a park or track and our own photographer and videographer if we needed to capture anything – we had a lot of possibilities to get inspired.”

Each team interpreted the brief differently: CSM concentrated on the field of play; LCC were inspired by race mathematics; LCF focused on body motion; and CCW expressed physical and psychological intensity – resulting in a distinct set of t-shirts.

Designing in the studio

The graduates worked with contemporary artist Dave White to create the designs [photo courtesy of Nike]

Joe Joiner, Chelsea graduate and CCW team member, said: “We all slotted together with our individual skill-sets, I think the main thing was developing a design that could incorporate all of our skills.”

Industry links and opportunities to work on live projects are fundamental elements many students consider when choosing to study at UAL.

Zeegen backed a need for industry collaborations in light of the successful project.

“We can bring something to a commercial project that a commercial design studio could not.

For a lot less money [Nike] could have employed professional designers, but what they wanted was to have the very best of creativity explored – the final outcome has been these great t-shirts.”

The t-shirts will be on sale until the end of the month for £35 each.

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