North East Connected

Uzbekistan students bring their fashion flair to Sunderland

Three talented international fashion students showcasing their work in a University of Sunderland exhibition have been awarded for their creative efforts.


Nasiba Rajapova, Surayyo Bakhodirova and Ezozkhon Abduganieva are among a number of students from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, taking part in the University’s annual Degree Shows – a series exhibitions in the city highlighting the array of artistic talent from final year art and design students.


Nasiba, Surayyo and Ezozkhon, who are studying the University’s Fashion Product and Promotion degree through its partner MDIS in Tashkent, have each received prizes for their exhibitions as part of the University’s Programme Awards.


Nasiba, 23, travelled thousands of miles to Sunderland to receive her award for ‘Excellence in Concept and Execution’ for her collection ‘Pretty MisMatch’, a celebration of uniqueness and individuality in a world of influencers.


She said: “It’s wonderful to receive public recognition for something you have done and, in this case, something that reflects my feelings and my work through which I’ve tried to convey a social problem that worries many people today.”


On spending time in Sunderland, Nasiba added: “From the very beginning of my studies with the University of Sunderland, I wanted to see the campus, and in particular the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries.


“The hospitality of Sunderland aroused a special admiration for me. For our entire stay we were treated as long-awaited guests, they helped us everywhere and introduced us to this wonderful city. I still feel emotional when I think about it now, as it’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.”


Surayyo and Ezozkhon were not able to attend the ceremony at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, but members of staff accepted their prizes on their behalf.


Surayyo received the prize for ‘Excellent Depth of Concept’ for her “Turn up the Pink” collection, which is inspired by her grandmother’s and two aunts’ breast cancer diagnosis.


The 22-year-old said: “Thank you for honouring my concept, as it is close to me and my family members as we faced it for a long period with my grandma. This was my prime inspiration to embellish this serious and sad illness in such a way and give hope in the form of a collection.


“I would like to praise my tutors for giving me powerful advice and guidance through such a big and intense theme throughout the semester. I am very grateful to the University of Sunderland as well, for giving us all a chance to present our collections for the first time abroad. This is a great opportunity for us.”


Meanwhile, Ezozkhon’s collection, ‘Light in Darkness’, which celebrates female equality, bagged her the prize for ‘Stunning Illustrative Content’.


The 22-year-old said: “First of all I would like to thank my wonderful teachers who were always helpful and gave me powerful advice and support whenever needed.


“I would also like to thank the organisers and the sponsors of this exhibition who gave us the chance to showcase our collections. I feel very excited and truly happy as this is my first time taking part in such an event, and I really hope, as a designer and creator, it won’t be the last.”


University of Sunderland Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell, met with some of the Tashkent students ahead of the ceremony and the official opening of their EMERGE Design Degree Show exhibition at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens earlier this month.

“They were bright, informed and socially aware students who, as I saw first-hand, produced work of an exceptionally high standard,” Sir David said.

“The presence of our guests from Uzbekistan also acted as reminder that the University of Sunderland is a global institution. Because of that, we are so much stronger, as people and ideas cross boundaries and enhance mutual understanding and knowledge through international connections.”

Other students exhibiting work in the Degree Shows to receive an award are:

BA (Hons) Illustration and Design


BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Promotion


BA (Hons) Animation and Games Art


BA (Hons) Graphic Design


For the last two years, the Degree Shows have been held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic – but the exhibitions are open to the public again and students are now showing off their creations at venues across the city until the end of August 2022.

More information on this year’s Degree Shows, including when and where to see them, can be found here.

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