What I've Learned

Double Degree Programme: My First Year

Meliange Comenencia
Sat 27 Oct

The thought of creating something that will impact or inspire others can keep me awake at night.

My name is Meliange. I am a second-year RASL (Rotterdam Arts & Sciences Lab, Double Degree) student. My major at WdKA is Fashion Design.

Which Double Degree study track do you follow and why did you decide to enrol in this programme?

I study Fashion Design at the Willem de Kooning Academy and the Dutch version of International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies (IBACS), Algemene Cultuurwetenschappen. At first, I was fully committed to the idea of studying just Fashion Design. I have always been interested in the dynamics of trends transforming throughout the years and the way designers implement their stories in collections. After one of the several WdKA Open Days I had visited, a teacher of the academy had informed me about a new programme called RASL. I was hesitant at first, because of the thought of applying for two different institutes, but I liked the idea of delving into new theories and implementing them in my own environment and work.

"My goal is to implement the theoretical aspects into my designs, make fashion that is available for everyone." As a RASL Double Degree student, Meliange studies Fashion Design at WdKA and Arts and Culture at Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication. Video created by Hunted Design.

What do you think about the study so far? Having seen both institutes, can you name their biggest difference/similarity?

Attending the lectures at two different institutes is challenging, exciting and sometimes hectic. I would say that the biggest difference is the approach to time. I feel like the lectures, planning and people are (always) on time at Erasmus University, which is nice because it gives me security and structure in my study. At the academy people live in the moment, I find myself losing track of time whenever I am working on my project there or while hanging out with friends. I feel at home at both institutes, the people are always very openminded and curious about my studies and I love to share my knowledge with them to maybe inspire them.

What are your favourite subjects? Favourite space to work in?

I enjoy learning about history, can be the history of anything really. I especially like finding out what the fundaments are to a certain phenomenon, ideology or society. This I am learning during the course Cultural Policy at the Erasmus University. On the Fashion side of my study, I like to develop my skills and learn new techniques. Designing clothes and sketching are what I enjoy the most.


Working on a new design at Fabric Station at WdKA.
Stills from the RASL promotion video.

Time management skills. An absolute necessity while following this programme?

I feel like the key to success in this programme is to start right away. I always make an overview of deadlines and assessments at the beginning of each term. I try to keep up with the readings and assignments at the University because this study requires a lot of time to think and concentrate. Concerning the projects at the academy: I start reading about the subject, at the same time sketch and find out new techniques. This is a more relaxed way for me to study and I get inspired during the process.

The most challenging recent project?

The most challenging project was at the beginning of my first year. back then I haven't figured out how to handle two studies at the same time yet. Aiming to be perfect at everything, I got stuck with my project. Later I learned that experimenting, asking questions and talking with others could prevent getting stuck in the process.


My goal is to make fashion that is available for everyone.

What are you working on right now?

At the moment I am reading a lot about the depiction of the African diaspora throughout the history of the arts and culture. I find it important to know and learn about this topic because it relates to me and I would like to work with it further in my projects. Besides the reading, I am busy developing my painting skills and fashion drawings.

What didn’t you expect to learn but came as a bonus?

Learning to take responsibility for myself and sharing my experiences and knowledge with others.

What kind of (transdisciplinary) expert will you become in three years?

In three years I would be a Fashion designer with a degree in Arts & Culture. My interest at this moment lies with the cultural policy route and art history. I hope to learn more about these subjects in the course of my double degree journey.

What keeps you awake at night?

The thought of creating something that will impact or inspire others.


Keep an eye on Meliange's website for news, projects and discoveries.

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