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Naomi GardenerDedication to fashion has earned an Edge Hill University student a coveted Excellence Scholarship which will help fund her passion for design and the arts.

Naomi Gardener is studying for a BA (Hons) Dance and Drama degree at Edge Hill University, and her eclectic range of skills is already enabling her to advance in the fields of fashion, photography and graphics.

“I had no idea I would win this scholarship,” said Naomi. “I applied at the last minute and was actually worried I was too late submitting my work. I believe there were quite a number of applications so I was very surprised to hear I had been successful and, at first, I wasn’t even sure it was true.

“I plan to choose costume design as a module in my second year and will need to buy photography and fashion supplies. I am looking to take that aspect of my course forward and this scholarship will really help me do that.”

Naomi’s dedication to design is already paying off and won her the opportunity to work with an international stylist – a move that will certainly help her future career. In 2012, Naomi was chosen to travel to Trutkipplan Island Discovery, in Finland with the European Voluntary Service and, later that year, she also travelled to Berlin for a media placement. It was in Germany that she made contact with Kenny Ho, who has worked with the likes of the Spice Girls, Beyonce, David Bowie and Orlando Bloom, and is London fashion editor of Fashionisto magazine. He liked her enthusiasm and invited her to work with him as a freelance fashion assistant.

Naomi said: “It has been amazing, such a great experience. I know that people would kill for an opportunity like this, so for me who was only a sixth form student when I got the job, it was brilliant that I was there at the right time.”

Naomi is also working hard on her academic studies. She completed her BTEC level three Art and Design qualification, which is usually a two year course, in just one year and has also finished an Illustrator Design Course with Japanese language modules at City Lit College, London. She says she has a passion for Japanese style and culture and plans to visit and work there in the future. She is also involved in the 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning Gallery, and has performed in community events at Brixton Splash. She has also helped design garments and promote Hustlebucks, a social enterprise for young people that enables young people to voice their issues that affect their lives and futures.

“This course could take me anywhere,” said Naomi, who lives in South London, when she’s not studying in Ormskirk. “I chose to come here because of the quality of the course, but when I was at the auditions I remember thinking how talented all the people were, and I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to get in. It’s fantastic that I did, and I feel honoured to win this scholarship.”

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