Fashion Marketing and Branding isn’t the most well known and established degree out there, and I usually get a surprised response when someone asks what I am reading at University. If someone was to say they study fashion, people would generally assume they are studying and working with design. Little do most people know, Fashion has such a depth to it. There are so many amazing careers you can have under the umbrella of ‘Fashion’ and in 2016 it was recorded that 555,000 people were employed in Fashion Related industries (FashionUnited).
I chose this degree because I was a bit stuck with what I wanted to do and I have always wanted a career where I feel constantly stimulated and interested in my role. All throughout my life my heart was set in Veterinary, however, after A-levels my “do what you love” outlook faded as I just HATED Chemistry, and was naturally ridiculously awful at it. I would not survive or even get into University… and I wasn’t a fan of the idea of getting an easy way into the field and getting an entry job. I like a challenge.
At the time of college I was working at John Lewis part time and genuinely loved learning about business practices and enjoyed getting stuck in with budgets, department goals and hearing about how we’re doing as a whole. John Lewis is a great employer for young people as you’re involved constantly (if you pull your weight) and you get a great feel for business. This struck me particularly when thinking about a future career. I asked myself “What is my passion?”, “What do I want to be doing with my days?” – then I thought… I love Fashion, I enjoy learning about the history of fashion, how trends emerge and also I find sustainability fascinating, so why not combine this with my talent of leadership, teamwork and interest in business? So I took to google and searched Fashion business careers.
I came across a whole range of courses I could study at uni, from buying to merchandising, to business management and marketing. I remember reading all the course specifications and feeling like it was SO up my street and I felt very excited. UAL (University of the Arts London) took my fancy, studying Fashion Marketing and Branding and the thought of living in London felt crazy. After AS-Levels I started a Business level 3 Extended Diploma, and I got a D*D*D*.
Long story short… I didn’t get in. HA!
However I accepted my unconditional place at Nottingham Trent University.
To get into Fashion Marketing and Branding, they required 3 A levels (BBB) or a DDM with the level 3 Extended diploma.
If your heart is set on studying in a London arts College or University to study fashion, I strongly advise you take a Art and design foundation course rather than a business diploma. It’s pretty ludicrous because they have my diploma on their entry requirements, and I even had an internship under my belt… but they seem to favour more design orientated students even though it is a business course.
I chose Fashion Marketing and Branding because I wanted something I was really interested in to study. I could have quite easily studied just marketing… however I felt I had a better chance of getting more out of my course if it was something I was more passionate about. My course also offers me so much more! Such as: A 9 week placement in year 2, Live projects with brands, such as: Topman, Asos and N0.7, Trips to New York, Paris, Milan and Tokyo and Industry expert lectures.
So far in year 1 it has been very split with business and visual/creativity. We’ve gone over a lot of what I learnt in college, however in a lot more depth and related to the industry. Another side which I am grateful for, and wasn’t expecting is a lot of work with Adobe InDesign and Photoshop. Every essay has to be done on InDesign and made very visual and aesthetic, which is then properly bounded into a booklet of your choice. It’s fantastic for when you interview with future employers and feel like you could bring something from your portfolio to show off your skills.
In the next coming years I will be working on a live project with a business such as the above, and studying ‘brand environment’ and looking more into “marketing strategy and communication”. For final year, instead of a dissertation we have a “final project” aimed at strategic and creative solutions; which is catered to what we want to do after uni.
So far into my course I really love it and I know I have picked the right course for me. I can’t imagine studying a subject I couldn’t give a toss about as I don’t think I’d have the patience to do additional reading and work until 1am in the library!!
If you are studying Fashion at uni, or aspire to, I strongly advise you work alongside and also seek for extra internships and work experiences. Yes, I am only in my first year, but it is a common fact that fashion careers are very much helped by “who you know”. I was lucky enough to bag an internship with the brand Serge DeNimes by knowing someone who once did promotional work with them. This doesn’t mean to say I didn’t try on my own first… I emailed countless magazines, brands and retailers to just shadow for a day, and I got no response. Perseverance is the key and utilising every connection you have is vital. Once you have that first bit of experience you already have an added number of contacts in your phone book that could possibly be your link to the next job. This goes without saying that if you want to be in fashion you should want to be working in industry now and be hungry for every pie you can get your finger stuck in!
Surprisingly, a Fashion Marketing and Branding degree opens the doors up to so much more… such as:
-Brand communication specialist
-Social media assistant
-Assistant project management
-Buying and merchandising
I got this from a list of what past students have gone onto after the course, and a lot of them have got in with great brands such as Adidas, Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood and large high street retailers. It seems like the degree is broad and opens up a lot of doors to great careers, and I feel like the course allows time for you to figure out what you want to get into as a career once you graduate.
By Saskia Marsh
Please check out Saskias personal blog – littlebitofsas.com