UAL Chancellor, Grayson Perry in Keith Tovey’s hand-crafted, winning 2017 design.

Following on from the success of last year’s inaugural competition, Turner Prize-winning artist and UAL Chancellor Grayson Perry has challenged UAL students to design the Chancellor robes he will wear at this year’s graduation ceremonies.

Grayson is seeking an inspiring alternative to the formal black robes traditionally donned at graduation ceremonies and is looking to top last year’s winning design that caused a frenzy amongst students wanting to dress the iconic artist. Grayson hand-picked winning student, BA Fashion Design and Knitwear Central Saint Martin’s Keith Tovey’s design. Featured in the Evening Standard and culminating in a behind-the-scenes-film, the result drew praise from Grayson who said: “I was confident that given the wealth of talent at UAL I would be taking to the stage in a dazzling outfit, and that has certainly turned out to be the case!”

This year, Grayson has opened up the event to the entire UAL student body – seeking entries from all year levels and disciplines. Students do not have to make the robes – they just have to design them.

Shortlisted students will personally meet with Grayson to pitch their ideas in detail, after which Grayson will choose the winner.

All students have until 28 February to submit their drawings and material swatches.


I’m looking for: Design drawings that can be easily interpreted into a finished garment by me and a skilled seamstress. Show how the garment can be constructed and what fabrics, materials and techniques would best achieve the result –swatches and samples are a must

The robe needs to: Top last year’s fabulous design! Retain some of the formal elements of traditional chancellor robes – but also take into account my personal style. I take centre stage so go for an eye-catching design. Strong colours and reflective surfaces are encouraged. I’d also love a glamorous crown or headpiece

Comfort is key: The graduation ceremonies always happen at the hottest time of the year and involve a lot of clapping, standing up and sitting down, so lighter fabrics are encouraged.

I am a man yet I like to look like a female: So attention should be given to playing down the male bits (shoulders, long tubular body!) and playing up my assets (good legs!)


  1. Register NOW: Let us know you’re entering the competition by emailing
  2. Tell us: When you register, your email should include your name, college and course
  3. Design: Provide a front and back design for the robes and crown [no bigger than A3] and supply some swatches
  4. Enter: Any student can take part, you just need to design the robes and crown and we’ll do the rest!
  5. Hand in: We’ll collect the designs from your college canteen on 28 February