August 25, 2013

Fashion Student Advice

Fashion Student Advice

As some of you may know, this year we completed our degrees and graduated from university with a bachelor degree in Fashion Business.  As it’s almost September, lots of you will be either going back to uni or starting your course.  Aside from all the usual equipment you'll need as a fashion student, I thought I'd share some tips on how to survive and things we've learned from the experience.

Make some friends.  We both met each other on the very first day, and without doing so this blog would have never existed.  Chances are a lot of your fellow students have the same interests as you and being such a creative bunch you definitely have potential to create things together.  Just make sure you're on the same wave length and see what you can come up with.  We'd love to see more blogging duos follow in our path.

Buy as many magazines as you can.  Before university we were both big fans of fashion magazines like Elle and Vogue so we both had quite a large collection however when it comes to building up your portfolio and sketchbooks, you'll need a lot of them!  It can be a bit soul destroying cutting up £4 magazines so subscribing to the magazines can save a lot of money in the long run.  Also, watch out for the Elle Collections magazine which comes out with the magazine after each fashion week, it was one of the most useful resources when it comes to making trend reports.  Of course you don't have to limit yourself to just Elle and Vogue, but make sure you buy the large version of a magazine and not the handbag size, the bigger the images are the better.

Get some work experience while you're at uni.  It can be difficult to find fashion internships outside of London but anything that involves a lot of organisation or a fast paced environment will be useful.  Our uni was quite good in this aspect as one of the requirements of our course was work experience so your tutors may be able to give you a few suggestions.  You might be able to work with store visual merchandisers which Lisa did or work with a casting agency like I did.  In casting, I was in charge of casting extras and actors for a couple of BBC shows and also assisting at the filming location.

Buy a very large bag and/or portfolio case.  As fashion students it was a usual day to carry around 5 sketchbooks, sewing equipment, the biggest fabric scissors you've ever seen, pattern cuttings and bags full of fabric.  Not to mention the other textbooks for our marketing and business classes we needed to carry also.  It caused quite a lot of shoulder and back pain so having a comfortable bag is essential.  For portfolio cases, they're easy to find online and much cheaper than the ones you'd find in art stores.  For large bags, you don't need anything too fancy, I carried around a huge primark bag so it wouldn't matter too much if my bag was ruined by the equipment but if you'd like something a bit nicer, the Zara Office City bag with all it’s compartments would be ideal.

Save your money.  Before starting our course, we had no idea how expensive it would actually be.  The fabrics you use contribute to your overall grade so using the least expensive/cheaper quality fabric you can find might have a negative effect on your grade.  On top of fabric you have all of your design equipment, sewing equipment and pattern cutting materials so it all adds up.  Each uni is different in what they let you use, while we had to buy all of our equipment, they provided us with all the pattern cutting paper and calico material we needed for a £40 a year fee which really helped cut down the cost so it’s good to ask what they provide before settling on your chosen institution.  If you are studying in the Glasgow/Edinburgh area, Mandors do offer a 10% discount for students and often have offers on itison.com for example offering a £60 voucher for £24 so make sure you keep an eye out for those!

Start a blog.  As fashion students it’s probably one of the best things we did.  If you want to be part of the fashion and beauty world, what better way to do it than start a blog.  Aside from the pr sample side you'll make far more contacts in the industry and friends in the process.  Think of it as a way of presenting yourself and your writing.  It might take some time but as long as your dedicated and you can show that you love doing it, opportunities will come your way.

Of course there’s so much more advice we could give for new fashion students, or even students in general.  If you have any more questions, we'd be more than happy to answer them.  Feel free to leave us a little email or tweet!
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