Fashion designer’s face fits on London Underground ads

A YOUNG fashion designer has become a familiar face on London Underground after featuring in a series of advertisements for the “skills Olympics”.

By Sue Gyford
Thursday, 6th October 2011, 4:27 pm

Rory Andrew, 20, is representing the UK in the World Skills competition at the Excel arena in London, which kicked off yesterday and runs until Saturday.

Featuring in the posters is just one of the perks that came with the place on the UK team for the event, which pits competitors from all over the world against one another in categories from floristry to welding.

Mr Andrew has also visited Buckingham Palace, spent a week designing clothes in the window of Debenhams’ flagship Oxford Street store as part of a living window display, and was invited to Australia and Finland to show off his skills.

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The former pupil of Deans Community High School in Livingston said he had been selected while studying at North Glasgow College: “My college had got an e-mail saying we’re looking for candidates to represent the UK and my course put me forward.

“I competed in a mini- competition and I got through against people from all over the UK, and then there were two of us competing for the one place, and I won.”

He has been preparing for World Skills ever since finishing college in June. The competition will see him challenged to design and create a skirt in seven hours and a jacket in ten hours, with another four hours to decorate and embellish the jacket.

He said he was still getting used to the novelty of seeing himself on posters on the Tube. He said: “They wanted to promote World Skills and they’ve wanted UK competitors and I got asked – it’s been everywhere, it’s quite funny.

“I live in London now so I’ve been getting off the Tube at different stations and thinking, ‘it’s me!’”

In the run-up to the competition he attended a reception at Buckingham Palace, where he decided to wear a tartan suit, which he designed for himself specially for the occasion.

And then there was the week in the Debenhams window. He said: “I was in there for a week designing an outfit and doing the patterns for it and making it. It was like a living installation – I did my training at Debenhams, in their pattern-cutting room in London, so they wanted to promote me. I was getting very good reactions, a lot of tourists taking photographs and knocking on the glass.”

Mr Andrew, of Bathgate, said he valued his achievements all the more because he had struggled at school with dyslexia: “It was a bit challenging, I love art and all the creative stuff but I’m not very academic.

“It’s brilliant now – it’s quite weird because at school people do well in their exams and feel good about that, and I never did that well at school so it’s great to have something that you’re good at, and that you like and enjoy.”