Increase of Chinese Students Moving to London to Study in Art Schools

Last night, the Evening Standard newspaper reported that record numbers of Chinese students were moving to London to study fashion, design, music and film with many of them then going on to setting up their own brand labels or working for some of the world’s best known fashion houses including Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Swarovski and Dior. Statistics released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show that Chinese students enrolling in art and design programmes have increased by more than 150% in the last 5 years. This has been attributed to London’s world class universities and international reputation for creative excellence.

Chinese Students Enrolling in UK Art & Design Programmes Soar

UK’s figures come as 8 Chinese designers, 7 of whom studied in London take centre stage at the International Fashion Showcase, organised by the British Fashion Council as part of London Fashion Week.

Business studies still remains the most popular subject that draws exceptional Chinese students to world class centres of learning such as the London School of Economics and Political Science. However, in London creative arts have now overtaken more traditional subjects such as engineering, technology and mathematics to become the second most popular course studied by Chinese students.

This has led to Kevin McCarthy, head of Education and Culture at London & Partners stating:

“In the last 10 years, we have seen a consistent rise in Chinese students studying at London’s top universities. The number of Chinese studying arts and design has risen a staggering 158 per cent over the last five years, with the UAL, which encompasses six top art schools, experiencing extremely large rises.”

Chinese Students Choosing London for Creative & Design Programmes

There are now more than 12,000 Chinese students in London, making up the biggest group of international students in London, followed by those from America and India. The University of the Arts London, which includes the Central St Martins School of Arts and Design, London college of Fashion, Chelsea College of Arts and Camberwell College of Arts have been the major inheritors, seeing 100 per cent increase in the number of Chinese students in the past five years.

Min Wu, a former pupil of London College of Fashion grew up in Shanghai and completed a MA in Fashion Design. She now has her own fashion label. She states:

“I chose London because it’s got the best fashion schools. I’ve been here three-and-a-half years. I think there’s a lot of good examples. People come here, do their fashion MA and they become designers. These fashion students really want to be one of them so they come here.”

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