How To: Survive as an Art Student in the Digital Age by Central Saint Martins

Hywel Davies and Melanie Ashley from Central Saint Martins' fashion department on the secrets to success as an aspiring creative in the digital age.

Succeeding as an aspiring creative has never been tougher, especially in today’s digital landscape. Instagram and Facebook, while notable for bringing emerging artists stardom in the blink of an eye, both demand a level of social media savvy that cannot be taught overnight. As the leading arts school in the world, Central Saint Martins is continuously educating its students on how to utilise digital resources in the best way possible.

We sat with Hywel Davies, CSM’s Fashion Programme Director and Melanie Ashley, Fashion Communication Lecturer following their talk at #FASHIONTECH Berlin earlier this month. There, they spilled all the secrets to succeeding as an art student in today’s digital age. Here are their 5 biggest tips.

1) Be ready to prove yourself

The hard work doesn’t end once the admissions envelope arrives at your door. In fact, it’s only just begun. For the next few years, art students must be ready to put every ounce of energy towards creating thought provoking work.

2) Never doubt the power of social media

Sure, social media is helpful, but it doesn’t come without problems. Hywel and Melanie always highlight the cons of digital living with CSM’s students, reminding them to be smart about how they utilise it as a tool towards professional success.

3) Perspective is everything

Comparing CSM’s campus to a “case study of youth culture”, Melanie suggests that art students incorporate their own unique identities and backgrounds if they want to create art that really says something.

4) Learn to say no

Saying no is difficult, especially when millennial creatives are always reminded just how entitled they look in doing so. However, the truth of the matter is that setting boundaries and maintaining them is essential for keeping sane. Davies and Ashley remind students that saying no to free work isn’t selfish at all. In fact, it’s a matter of self respect.

5) Network

It’s awkward and it sucks – we know. But networking with your peers is perhaps the biggest benefit of going to art school. Who knows, the person next to you in those boring lectures might grow up to be the next McQueen.

For more information on #FASHIONTECH Berlin please visit

Anja Aranowsky
The Editor Behind Lucinda Chambers' Tell-all Opens Up