Gavin Insley & Mika Nash

“If we hadn't both studied at Ravensbourne we would never have met and started our own company”

Names: Gavin Insley and Mika Nash I_N_pic

Course: BA (Hons) Fashion 

Year of graduation: 2005/2006

Screen printers Gavin Insley and Mika Nash came in recently and spoke about how they met at what was then Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication in Chislehurst where they both studied fashion.

They said "If we hadn’t both studied at Ravensbourne we would never have met and have started our company. Ravensbourne provided us the tools and the inspiration, to start our own business.

By specialising in textiles for fashion and having such great facilities and print technicians we were able to broaden our knowledge very quickly, in particular regarding different types of screen printing.”

“We remained good friends after leaving Ravensbourne and often chatted about an imaginary studio that would be able to offer a bespoke screen printing service to clients with no limits as to what could be produced. We finally decided to open our own studio in 2010 and now have a wide range of clients ranging from students to TV commercial broadcasters and have worked with the BBC on The Voice UK, Jess Glynne and Robbie Williams at the Brit Awards and the Reed Love Mondays TV advertising.”

They currently run a bespoke screen printing company based in Deptford south east London.

What appealed to you about Ravensbourne and your chosen degree course?

Gavin: I heard about Ravensbourne when I studied art foundation at Cheshire School of Art & Design. The college had a fantastic reputation for fashion and was one of the top recommendations of places to study in London. When I visited Ravensbourne for the first time I felt totally at home, the environment was very much of a creative art school and the tutors I met understood how I wanted to work as an individual, giving me the freedom to be creative.

Mika: I was brought up on the Isle of Man where one of my college tutors recommended Ravensbourne. I remember arriving at the college and the beautiful setting in the countryside. I liked the look, feel and size of the place and the homely, yet creative atmosphere amongst the students. It was not unusual to see students running around with chalk and chicken wire. The place oozed creativity and did not appear at all business like.

How was Ravensbourne different from other universities and colleges?

Gavin: At Ravensbourne we were given the flexibility to be creative and given the opportunity to explore and interpret fashion in our own way. Given this approach we were allowed to make the course our own in a very satisfying way that encouraged us to make mistakes in a safe environment.

Mika: Ravensbourne felt a very safe place to experiment with ideas and concepts without any fear. We were pushed to be creative and there was a friendly rivalry within the college. Compared to other colleges studying at Ravensbourne made you feel like a ‘weird outsider’ but in a good and very invigorating way.

What your main highlights from your time at Ravensbourne?

Gavin: One of the highlights for me was exhibiting at the New Designers show, in Islington. As a direct result of my portfolio being displayed I was offered a job working for an agency analysing trends. As students we had access to prominent industry speakers arranged by Ravensbourne, and at GFW we had great opportunities to network and gain invaluable work experience.

Mika: I really enjoyed collaborating with students from other courses on our final year project. Seeing my work going down the catwalk for the first time was also just amazing.

What advice would you give to prospective students?

Gavin: Push the boundaries whilst at college, challenge the tutors and go nuts! Be guided by the tutors but use your imagination and stretch your creative side.

Mika: Have the confidence to collaborate and experiment in a safe environment. Challenge the norm and use your creative thought process. It’s not about the piece of paper you get at the end of the day but the overall experience you gain from university.

Go and have fun, be a sponge, suck it all up, take it all in. Push the boundaries and don’t be too focused on what you might do at the end. Above all enjoy yourself.