With more than 5,000 people expected through the doors over four days, many of them fashion, art and design industry insiders, the Middlesex University annual art and design degree show gives students a unique opportunity to get themselves and their work noticed, and hopefully kickstart their professional artistic careers.

The showcase, titled Laboratory, takes place in the Old Truman Brewery on London’s Brick Lane and visitors will have the chance to see the work of more than 500 final-year artists and designers in disciplines including animation, photography, fashion, product design, interior architecture, fine art, jewellery and illustration.

This year’s show boasts a range of exhibits, from the next generation of fashion photographers all the way to designers of innovative new products such as a vibrating sports massager created by champion 100m sprinter and product design student Tremayne Gilling.

Freetime catches up with a few students from the Hendon campus who will be exhibiting their work.


Emma, 22, is originally from Plymouth and is now living in Hendon. She is in the final year of her BA Photography course.

Emma has created a fashion shoot as a tribute to her late grandmother.

“I have a few old photos of my nan in headscarves, hats and fur coats with one particular photograph taken in Plymouth that inspired the collection,“ Emma explains.

“I enjoyed doing the photo shoot in Plymouth.  Our unusual behaviour got a few strange looks, but I’m looking forward to seeing the final pieces at the exhibition.“

Emma hired professional models to pose for the photographs taken on the beachfront, Plymouth Hoe and the Barbican.


Luke, 27, moved to London from Birmingham three years ago to do a BA in Fashion, and now lives in Golders Green.

For the show, he has produced a series of six outfits whose style owes much to his heroine and mentor Zandra Rhodes, for whom he worked as an intern before starting at Middlesex University.

“I worked with her for a summer four years ago and learned so much,“ says Luke. “I was with her for about four months, working on her private orders and things, and I got to stay at her house, which is at the Fashion Museum in Bermondsey, and we became friends.“

Luke won his place in the show after an internal fashion show at the exhibition, for which he designed three original pieces which impressed the judges with their innovation and design. He and the other fashion students then had to expand their collections from three to six outfits, which will be showcased at a catwalk show at Laboratory.

“My clothes are definitely for a girl who’s an attention-seeker,“ Luke laughs. “They’re very bright, I’m attracted to colour and embellishment, they’re very over the top and eccentric. I like to mix fabrics up as well and I like to use screen printing, which I think is quite a new thing to do.“

Luke hopes the event will launch him to his dream of working for a fashion house abroad and eventually setting up his own brand.


Justina, 21, came to London from her native Lithuania to earn her BA in Photography. She currently lives in Hendon.

Following her passion for documentary-style photography and portraiture, she has submitted three portraits of burlesque performers, in a collection called Showgirls.

“I wanted to document the life of burlesque performers, show what it’s really like for them,“ says Justina. “In Lithuania there’s not very much of this, so I was very interested to learn more about their lives.“

Justina snapped the dancers between shows at the Leicester Square Theatre two years ago and learned a lot from her time with the women.

“I tried to capture what it was like backstage,“ she says, “because it looks really glamorous on stage. It’s so crowded, there are lots of girls changing, it takes a lot of time to get ready. It’s really not how you’d imagine it, they have to learn all these movements and they have to do their own costumes. They don’t get much money, it’s really difficult for them.“

Justina’s performers are very happy with her portraits of them and are hoping to make it along to see themselves on display.


Sixty-three BA Fine Art students from Middlesex University will also be displaying their work at Laboratory, and have just enjoyed having their pieces on show at a free art exhibition at the university in Hendon.

The diverse exhibition held in the university’s Grove building included paintings, photography, installation, sculpture and mixed media performances. Themes and inspirations include botanical beauty, food, and urban and rural locations.

“The Fine Art course has a modular elective, which ensures that we are supported in the key areas,” says student Charles Ingram Roeder, “by using the tutors’ knowledge, they push the limits of what we can achieve. We hope that what visitors see at the show will surprise and engage their senses, providing a rare opportunity to encounter something new and unique.”

Laboratory is at the Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane from Saturday June 8 to Monday June 10, from 10am to 5.30pm on Saturday, and from 10am to 7pm on Sunday and Monday.