We spoke with Natalie Wong, a Year 3 BA (Hons) Fashion Design with Marketing student and recipient of the Marguerite Dennis scholarship, about Regent’s, life in London and the doors that have opened thanks to her scholarship.
'I’m a little bit of a melting pot; I was born in Hong Kong, and my family moved to the US when I was the age of six in pursuit of freedom of speech. Now I live in London, where I can say that I have the freedom to do what I want – and I want to share my story through my designs.
'I came to Regent’s with the aim of figuring out my design philosophy and to grow as a person. Since I started here, my tutors here always pushed me to do better and challenge myself. I can confidently say I’ve fulfilled my aim and grown as a designer. I’ve learnt from my mistakes and built on my knowledge and I can graduate knowing I’ve set up a great foundation for my career.
'London gives you the chance to be experimental – you’re not locked in a box. People in Europe appreciate fashion and art on a completely different level. It’s something completely different than what I experienced in the US, and that’s one of the things I love about living and studying here.
'Back home, I worked a lot on the technical side of things, but didn’t have a lot of space to add my own unique flair. Now, here in Regent’s and in London as a whole, I can explore my creative side, while I hone my technical skills.'
Marguerite Dennis scholarship
'I wanted to apply for the scholarship because Marguerite Dennis, the sponsor, is also from the US and I felt a connection to her because of this. I thought I could really show her – and the scholarship panel – what I could achieve with the funding because I have such an international experience.
'The extra financial support has been hugely helpful in helping me prepare my graduate collection. Fabric and equipment are expensive, and the funds I received have given me the freedom to be more experimental with what I use and how I bring my designs to life. It helps me achieve the goal I came here for in the first place.'
About her graduate collection
'My whole time at Regent’s has been leading to one thing: my graduate collection, which is based on the protests happening in Hong Kong.
'The collection has been playing on my mind for a long time, as I was born in Hong Kong, and some of my family still live there. I wanted to create something that showed my life story and who I am as a person.
'My main inspiration was my cousin’s photography; he quit his job in the US and went to Hong Kong to document the protests. To bring out the themes in his photos, I used discarded objects from the protests – umbrellas, backpacks, masks. Everything is wearable and functional – it has to be when you live in a city like Hong Kong!'
For her future
'When I graduate, I want to showcase my collection so other people can see my world through my eyes.
'Throughout my time at Regent’s, I’ve met a lot of professionals and industry speakers, and I hope to leverage these connections to break into the industry. I’m using this time to develop a really good online portfolio, and I’ll go from there.'