Shirley Zhunio Mogrovejo

Shirley Zhunio Mogrovejo

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background? 

I was born and raised in Barcelona, however I’m proud to say that my whole family comes from an Ecuadorian background. Ten years ago, due to the Spanish economic crisis my family was moved to London in search for a prosperous and better life. At the beginning I was very shy and didn’t know how to speak English that well, which meant I had a hard time making friends. It wasn’t an easy journey and it all came with time; till this day I’m still learning new English words. However, thanks to that first step, I am able to say now that I am one of the first-generation of my family that will be graduating from university which fulfils me with joy. 

What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds? 

When I was a young girl, I always wanted to be lots of things such as a hairdresser, a vet, a singer and even a psychologist. Nevertheless, being a fashion designer was one of my top dreams as a child. Back when I was doing Photography A levels, I can recall I styled every single outfit of my model friends… within time every of my friends and family will ask me tips of how to style outfits. I can remember always falling in love with Vogue posters and LFW/NFW runway collections which is what made me want to do something related to Fashion. I was supposed to do fashion photography but then I realized that the photography thing was more of a hobby than a career, still I knew I needed to express my creativity somehow through fashion. That’s when my research began, I was convinced that I needed to choose a university that could teach me the first fundamentals of fashion, as well as being one of the top ones in UK, which is what led me to the University of Leeds. 

Briefly explained, Leeds offered me a lovely student and academic environment. Even though it was far from home… that’s what I wanted. Leeds is a city that wasn’t as big as London but neither is it as small as a village, it was just the perfect fit.   

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study? 

That I can be creative and crazy at the same time. I know I can experiment with anything I want and bring that combination into a more technical-making process and professional outcome. Seeing a proces through, from the planning stage, pattern making process and up to the final product.. it fascinates me to see that I made all of that. To see what I am capable to reach and make. 

What aspects of the course do you enjoy the most?   

I love the research and design process as well as the making and pattern-cutting. From my perspective, I know I can get the best of both worlds such as the creations of mood boards, colour palettes, fabrics and designs. It allows me to bring my creativity in my portfolio and experiment with seams when pattern-making.  

What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies, and which ones have you tried out yourself? 

There are plenty of student societies which offers Give It A Go days where you can try for free or for a very low price for the session. So far, I have tried Salsa Dance and Street dance, I love dancing. However, I have also tried and I would really recommend climbing, diving, gardening and many arts therapeutic sessions.  

Moreover, you can find places around the city which offer free events for students and clubs. 

What do you plan to do when you’ve finished your course, and how do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed so far at Leeds will help with these plans? 

The best thing I’ve done during my time here in Leeds is take a placement year, all the skills and knowledge I’ve learned during my time with designer and luxury brands has taught me the reality of being in a fashion industry and the different departments. To be honest, I am still not sure about all my plans, however in combination with the fundamentals learned on my course, I am scheduling to do thorough research of what department will satisfy me the most. Of course, before that I’m planning to have a break and experiment with some collaborative projects.

What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course? 

Be brave and do not compare yourself to others. Once upon a time a close friend told me “Two people might design the same skirt, but it won’t be constructed in the same way”.  

Every person has their own way in making and creating things, it can be very similar but never the same. Every day try to do at least 1% of that 100% that you were meant to do, instead of doing nothing (been there, done that, not good). Within time you will find yourself making more each day until your reach your goal and feel you are in power. 

Are you going to do it? Then be the best at it within your capacity, and be pleased about it. Do not overthink about how it would have turned out if you done it ‘this way or the other’, it is done and you know you gave your best, that’s it.