The Reality Of Being A Fashion Marketing Student

Saturday, June 10, 2017

For those of you that don't already know, I have just completed the end of my second year as a fashion marketing student. As a bit of background on me, to begin with fashion was never actually the job I originally saw myself in. Growing up I always wanted to be an actress. Long story short, it's a very competitive and very expensive industry and I certainly didn't have the talent for that. One thing I always enjoyed however, was writing. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I'm some gifted writer; far from it. But as far as my 'talents' go, writing is something I've always felt somewhat 'good' at. Anyone that ever read a piece of my work would always tell me they could tell it was written by me, that my work always had that trademark 'Toni stamp' to it. 

When it came to applying for universities I was then encouraged by my english teacher to set up a blog. I loved to write (I still do!) and so this seemed like the next obvious step. But I was still lost with what my niche was. What did I want to write about? I began researching journalism courses but writing about the news/media or politics just wasn't something that really interested me. After having a sit down chat with my mum (mother's truly do know best right?!) she made me see just how much of an interest I had for fashion. 

From a young age I always enjoyed walking around a clothing store, admiring the beauty of each delicate piece of embroidery, examining each ruffled hem and also admittedly looking puzzled by the newest fad trend. As a naive 17 year old I certainly had an opinion on what I liked and what I didn't like. I looked forward each month to treating myself to the latest editions of Vogue and Elle and gazing through clothes which I could only ever dream of affording. And then that's when it hit me what I wanted to study. I wanted to be a fashion journalist. 

I explored various university courses undertaking fashion journalism but in the end decided to choose something slightly more broad in the name of 'International Fashion Promotion'. I've always enjoyed having more than one career path open to me and this course has allowed me to open doors into the worlds of not only journalism but marketing, merchandising and buying too. So for those of you thinking of studying a fashion marketing degree, this is the reality of what it's really like. 

Of course there are set stereotypes of fashion students. Just as there are with science and maths students. And not all stereotypes are proven to be true, these impressions are just things I have experienced throughout my personal time as a fashion student. It may be completely different on other courses. And so now that disclaimer is out of the way, what is it really like to be a fashion marketing student...

Outfit Details: - Top; Topshop (old - similar below), Jacket; Stradivarius (old - similar below), Jeans; George (old - similar below)

What you wear doesn't matter... yet you still feel judged
When people know I study fashion it makes me feel like they automatically instantly judge me for my sense of style. You feel like you are expected to be 'on trend' and to look 'stylish' at all times. During the first year of my course I always felt conscious each morning to present myself in a well dressed and stylish manner. I used to think to myself "I'm a fashion student, the whole point is to look fashionable. I can't possibly turn up to a lecture in leggings and a hoody." But by second year I finally realised that the only person who cares is me. Students work hard enough on their assignments, why should we work hard on our attire? A bit of coffee and concealer scrubs me up well enough. 

The fear of being an outfit repeater
"Lizzie McGuire, you are an outfit repeater!" Anyone else love this movie as a kid?! Hilary Duff alongside the Olsen twins were my childhood queens. Swiftly moving on... Although what you wear doesn't matter, (We're all stylish, creative and unique huns here) I can't help but still feel conscious that if I wore something a week ago, I can't wear it again this week as people might remember I wore it last week and think I don't have an extensive enough wardrobe. And when there's girls walking around with Vuitton bags and McQueen leather jackets the least I can do is have an extensive high street wardrobe.

 Trying to explain what exactly it is that you study and people just never understand...
"So what is it you study?" "Fashion promotion" "Fashion, oh so you design clothes? Cool" "No, I create campaigns for brands. It's more like fashion advertising" "Oh so you're in the media industry?" And that's the point when I just give up and pretend I design clothes. It isn't easy to explain exactly what it is I do when you're on a course as broad mine. One moment you're working on a project as a media industry producing a campaign for a brand and then the next you're studying cost sheets and how much it costs to purchase materials to make and import a garment. 

There are never enough hours in the day to be in the know of fashion news
I wasn't too sure what exactly it was that I expected that I would be studying. In all honesty I didn't really have a clue. I assumed it would be mainly learning about the goings on in the fashion industry each day. And the first couple months of my course did involve this. We were set individual research to discover an interesting piece of fashion news to share with the class each week. But gradually this dwindled and the research is left down to yourself. Which in the real job world makes sense, there won't be any lecturers to keep me in the loop of what's going on. But sometimes it can feel like for a fashion student, I'm not learning all too much about 'fashion'. 

The students that took fashion thinking it would be an 'easy' subject...
...Or simply because they 'like shopping'. The fashion industry is brutal, be prepared to put the work in and if you have the passion, you'll do well.

Marketing has opened so many doors for me, far more than I ever thought it would. Before I studied fashion promotion I never had considered another career in this industry besides journalism, whereas now I am about to begin a new job as a fashion social media executive. There are definitely many clichés and stereotypes when it comes to studying fashion. But this course has also brought with it many surprises as I've learnt things about myself that I never knew I would enjoy. I originally only wanted to write about campaigns but I've since discovered that actually creating them is so much fun. It's hard work but the end result is SO worth it. And who knew that learning about the laws of a fashion business would be so interesting?! 

So to those of you thinking of a career in fashion, it's tough. You're going to experience disappointment and knock backs. But if you have the 'passion for fashion' (cliché, I know...), a backbone and a creative flair then this could be the industry for you. With technology forever evolving and trends evolving even more I can't wait to see which jobs are available in this industry in the next 10 years which don't even exist now. 

And to conclude, this post was just a little bit of fun and isn't meant to be taken too seriously. Everyone has different experiences and these thoughts are purely based on my own observations as a fashion student. Every course is different, every university is different. Have you been able to relate to anything that I've listed above? I'd love to hear your experiences in the comments below!

What do you study at university?!
Until next time queens xo

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