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Art and Design student wins top prize in Royal Opera House competition

Friday 9 February 2018
Rosa Varlow with the Royal Opera House's Design Challenge Competition winning costume Rosa Varlow with the Royal Opera House's Design Challenge Competition winning costume


In January 2018, Rosa Varlow, Art and Design UAL Level 3 Diploma student from Richmond upon Thames College, entered The Royal Opera House’s prestigious annual Design Challenge competition and won top prize in the costume design category.

Around 36 Further Education colleges participated in the competition, aiming to give students the opportunity to test and develop design skills based around an opera or ballet production. This year’s theme challenged students to design sets, costumes, make up and marketing strategies inspired by Strauss’s opera Salome.

Rosa commented, “A lot of inspiration for the costume came from the pre-task of listening to the soundtrack, and creating an abstract piece. I used shapes and colours to convey the opera and this became a significant part of my initial ideas and inspiration for the final piece.”

“I was quite shocked and surprised when my teacher announced in front of the class that I had won, especially as it was my first time making a dress - I honestly didn’t expect it.”

Competition judge Amanda Hall, Head of Thurrock Costume Workshop, said, "A lot of thought and hard work had gone into the Salome Design Challenge and I was impressed at the high standard of the entries. It was hard to pick a victor from our FE short-list of three, but Rosa Varlow, our eventual winner had answered the brief thoroughly and come up with a particularly inventive costume design."

Winners and highly commended entrants are exhibiting their work in the Prince Consort Gallery at the V&A museum on Friday 9 February 2018. The exhibition is free to attend and open to the public. Rosa added, “It feels weird but really cool that my work has been shown at the V&A, in front of so many industry professionals and visitors.”

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