Almost exactly a year ago I was asked to take part in a stylist’s challenge as part of Oxfam’s excellent pop-up shop at Selfridge’s London. For models, we were loaned the volunteers in the store. My girl was Katie B, an 18yr old fashi0n student who impressed me so much with her can do, get up & go attitude, that I asked her to write to me if she was interested in interning with me. (You can see her in the post linked above wearing my look!)
Fast forward to 2012, and Katie is a proper member of team LLG, having attended two LFWs under my aegis, learning the ropes, and covering all of the off schedule shows as my eyes and ears, and subbed in a paid role for my assistants when they are on holiday. She has since started her own blog, and when she posted the following blog on how to approach applying to study fashion, I thought it so excellent I asked her permission to syndicate it here. (I have a vast mail bag from students wanting advice, and I would advise them all to read this post.)
This time last year I was a bundle of nerves, anxiously waiting to be called for interviews from universities, I’d already studied at the London College of Fashion for my Foundation year and was determined to stay in London and progress onto BA Fashion Textiles there. After a whole year preparing for the rigorous application process to include a personal statement submission, that would hopefully lead to a portfolio review (it did) followed by the final stage, which I like to call “knock out”, the interview.
Having been through the process myself three times, I wanted to share with you some advice and tips if you are going through the agonising months applying to study fashion at either Foundation or BA level.
Preparation can often be the most important thing when applying to study fashion: this is something that never stops. I’m in my second year studying and I never stop preparing to progress further, whether it be a degree, masters or even a graduate job. By preparation I mean always updating your knowledge and experience; fashion is an industry that is constantly changing and expanding, to be part of it you must advance and adapt with it.
Internships are a great way to gain skills and knowledge about the industry, they also add uniqueness and initiative to your Personal Statement. Interviews are often the most daunting element to an application process, if you have relevant experience in fashion it can often be a great ice breaker to discuss and also useful to use in responses to questions you may be asked during the interview.
Research, research, research (believe me this will be drilled into you every day of your degree). As a creative, building a portfolio of work and experiments can often be the most time consuming yet simplest way to effectively illustrate your abilities and talent to universities. After admissions tutors have analysed your work they will want to test your depth of knowledge regarding your topic and how you’ve researched and developed ideas. This will probably be the basis for many of the questions asked during the interview. Museums, fashion designers, artists, photographers, cultures, street style and books all have a story to tell about your research that includes many exciting, individual approaches to gaining inspiration.
Another element that is crucial to research is reading every fashion magazine you can get your hands on. This doesn’t mean Vogue, Elle or Grazia (as great as they are). Replying to the typical interview question of, “What fashion publications do you read?”, with the answer ‘Vogue’ is interview suicide. Instead submerse yourself in the pages of Dazed & Confused, Muse, Oyster, AnOther, Lula, Drapers and Ponystep to name just a few. These magazines don’t just showcase trends and catwalk images but offer an insight into emerging movements within the fashion industry and society in general.
Reading doesn’t stop at magazines. Fashion and lifestyle blogs, trend forecasting and industry insider websites are just as crucial reads to gather information and expand on your knowledge. The more you research, the more confident and insightful you’ll appear during the interview.
Photos: Images of Katie’s university coursework by Katie herself