Sofija Urumović

“I felt like I was in a fairyland!”

After a first study exchange semester, Sofija Urumović was sure she wanted to stay in Borås. The labs, the machinery, being surrounded by different people and creative ideas, and endless possibilities at the Swedish School of Textiles, made her feel like she was in a fairyland. She extended her time here, and was admitted to the Master’s programme in Textile and Fashion Design with specialisation in Fashion Design.

Why did you choose to study at the Swedish School of Textiles?

“I had heard so many great stories about The Swedish School of Textiles’s amazingly equipped labs and machines from a friend who had been here as an exchange student before, and I knew I had to go to that school to experience it first-hand. I thought, if she went for an exchange to that tiny town in Sweden, not only once, but twice, it must be a really great school! “

Sofija Urumović
Studies: Master’s in Textile and Fashion Design with specialisation in Fashion Design 
Previously done: Studies in Textile and Fashion Design at University of Ljubljana, member of a young designers’ collective, having both individual and group projects, shows and exhibitions 
Leisure time: What leisure time (ha, ha)? Sports, I love being active. Sleep in, to compensate the lack of sleep during the week. Cooking, it is my kind of meditation, love throwing some ingredients together, experiment a bit and see the magic happen.

What was your first impression upon arriving in Borås?

“I remember it was rainy and very cold, around 15°C, which was quite unpleasant for somebody coming from the sub-Mediterranean. I was somehow hoping mid-August would still be a bit warmer. And the town seemed really empty – there were no people in the streets. I remember I was strolling around thinking ‘Where did everybody go?’… Luckily, that impression changed very quickly as hundreds of new students came into town. The weather didn’t get much warmer, though.”

And your impression of the Swedish School of Textiles?

“It was even better than I thought it would be. I felt like I was in a fairyland! I was especially impressed by the machinery and the size of the knitting lab. And I also like the concept of having different textile-related facilities in one huge building.  There is such a nice combination of lecture rooms, labs, offices of various textile and fashion companies, and a textile museum.”

What are the studies like?

“It depends on how you organise your time and schedule, but I would say pretty intense, as all design studies are. We spend a lot of time at the university; in fact, we often joke that we practically live there. But it is truly nice to be here, being surrounded by different people and creative ideas.”

Do you have any favourite subjects?

“I find all the courses to be really useful and mind-opening in different ways, so I cannot pick only one. The courses follow each other chronologically and complement each other, so in the end you gain a lot of holistic knowledge within the field.  I really liked the very first course “Design Project: Specialisation Project”, where we had to read different design and art theory books, watch and analyse films, complete various short experimental tasks, compare our work with other designers’ work and discuss, discuss, discuss, in order to broaden our perspectives on perceiving design.”

What do you think about the study environment?

“I really like it! It is very stimulating to work in such a creative environment. The facilities are great, and I absolutely love the library. We have a lot of spacious labs with modern equipment. The possibilities are endless; it is a real pity I do not have enough time to try them all as the Master’s studies are more focused on the degree work and a specific aspect within the field, so you cannot just go completely crazy with all the machines.”

What do you think about the study system?

“The study system is completely different from what I was used to at my Bachelor’s studies in my home country. The programme is structured to have only one course at a time and not many of them running simultaneously, as it is common back home. This way you can focus only on one thing and study it profoundly. Also, the Swedish system incorporates a lot of discussion and expression of personal views, which I think is great. What I found a bit funny in the beginning is the grading system. There are some differences between the departments at the university, but in my programme at the Swedish School of Textiles, we only have a letter scale with G (Godkänd – Pass) and U (Underkänd - Fail). It still feels a bit unusual not having numerical grades from 5 to 10, as I think seeing the best grade in the report can be a nice reward for a great work and a motivation for the upcoming projects. One more thing that I really like about the university is that the employees are doing their best to create the best possible working conditions and atmosphere, and they are open for all our suggestions and ideas for improvement.”

Do you have any favourite place at the university?

“The golden bathroom at our school (ha, ha). I love those tiny golden ceramic tiles!”

And in Borås?

“Any supermarket’s aisle with godis (sweets) and kanelbullar (cinnamon buns)!”

How will the studies here benefit your career?

“I believe that the studies at one of the best schools in Europe, or in the world, will definitely influence my path. It has been a great experience to have an insight in a different way of studying and learning. The studies at the Swedish School of Textiles have definitely helped me gain different perspectives on design, ways of perceiving art and design and finally my own way of working.”

What is your goal in the future?

“I would like to complete my studies and start working in the fashion industry, as I think it is time to put to practice all the knowledge I have gained during my years of education.”

Any recommendations for incoming students?

“I recommend students to try to find a nice balance between the studies and social activities. If you are a programme student, try to participate in the social activities organised by the university and the student organisations as they are a great way to meet new people, but do not forget to focus more on the studies, as this is why you are here in the first place. Do not miss the introduction week. It is a fantastic way to meet new friends, and to get to know the campus and the educational system better. Bring warm clothes. Seize every moment. Eat as many ‘kanelbullar’ as possible.”

Text and photo: Solveig Klug