Deaf Taunton student excels in fashion industry
By abbie_taunton | Friday, October 26, 2012, 11:45
A deaf Somerset College student has overcome her disability and showcased her fashion designs at top London catwalk shows.
Nipa Namjamnan with Somerset College fashion tutor Gary Mills
One of Nipa Namjamnan's final year designs
Nipa Yamjamnan, 28, lived in the South West since 2003 as part of a Thai government scheme to support young people with disabilities and she has recently completed a BA in Fashion at Somerset College.
Nipa said: "I never thought as a child on a village farm, that one day I would achieve such a high-level qualification and be part of a number of fashion shows in London," said Nipa.
"My reason for coming to England is due to the prestigious nature and international recognition of qualifications gained here."
She described a career highlight as being chosen to have her work showcased on the London Catwalk at Free Range; a top graduate fashion event to which only a handful of fashion students are invited to each year.
During Nipa's time in the UK she had to overcome many adversities, the first being to learn British sign language before she could go on to study and gain British qualifications.
She initially learnt the sign language at Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education, where she developed an appetite and a keen eye for fashion – she then moved to Taunton to study it further.
Gary Mills, lecturer in Fashion and Design at Somerset College explained: "Nipa was so passionate about fashion and was obviously very talented,
"We wanted to make sure she was able to not only partake in the course but excel to the best of her abilities".
He added: "Nipa was always a very dedicated student throughout her time here at Somerset College and has done exceptionally well in her final year of her BA (Hons) Design Fashion course.
"She has been highly commended by the tutors and peers for her dedication to her subject and own practice of fashion design, always the first student to arrive at college and always the last to leave.
"It just goes to show that with the right course, teachers and learning environment people can excel whatever their challenges. Creativity, passion and talent will always shine through."
Nipa's classmates and peers were extremely supportive of her disability, praising her work and scribing notes to ensure she did not miss out on any important information.
Her end of year collection for her BA course [pictured] reflected the glamorous and opulence of 1950s style evening wear fused with traditional Eastern women's-wear.
Explaining her choice, Nipa said: "Thai people like the femininity of Fifties clothes, although this is all new to me, I didn't see this in when I was growing up in Thailand."
Nipa has now returned to Thailand but intends to return to the UK soon to study for her Master of Arts in Fashion and Design at Nottingham Trent University.
After completing this course, she intends to return again to Thailand and open her own fashion business whilst also become a specialist in teaching deaf students about fashion and design.