Our BA (Hons) Fashion Branding and Communication course opens students up to a variety of fashion-related jobs, ranging from fashion journalism and brand management, to styling and photo-shoot production.
Paige (who is about to graduate) is taking the trend-forecasting and styling skills she’s recently gained to set up her own publishing business.
Before she escapes for the summer, we squeezed in a quick Q & A to find out more….
Q) You’re currently setting up your own fashion publishing business. What’s been your inspiration and how are you doing it?
During my degree I completed an industry work placement at Birmingham-based publishing company, Riley Raven, working on publications such as Style Birmingham and Mailbox Life. It was a great experience and inspired me to develop a publication of my own that reflected lifestyles and culture rather than feeding readers pointless products they don’t need to spend their money on. And so, for my Final Major Project, I produced ‘Allora’ magazine. It’s an unconventional, creative fashion and lifestyle publication which I see as a voice for Generation Z (my target market). It focuses on investing in vintage pieces and lifestyle over ‘fast-fashion.’
‘Allora’ was a big success and I was delighted that it achieved national recognition at Graduate Fashion Week London. This, combined with working in a small team at Riley Raven and exploring Birmingham more gave me the skills and confidence to decide to start my own business.
So now as I approach graduation, I’m starting to set-up my own publishing company, based on the business plan that I developed with The Princes Trust (this came about after a representative from the Trust came into Uni to do a guest lecture). I will initially start with Allora Magazine, then hope to expand to more publications for a wider audience. The end goal will be to publish books and short stories online and in print.
Q) Tell us more about Allora magazine. How did you produce it?
Putting together the magazine came naturally to me as Indesign is a program I know really well now. Gathering the content was more of a challenge, but once I’d organised more photoshoots I had the opportunity to speak with the collaborators to make them contributors, for example, a model I worked with recently on a shoot who is studying Art has submitted her work in the magazine and we have plans to do a regular online art article in future editions.
Q) Who else did you collaborate with?
I collaborated with many students around BCU and London College of Fashion, from first years to final years, studying everything from Fashion Design to Film and Photography to Design. I’m also planning to collaborate with an MA student who is studying Events Management to plan the official launch event for Allora.
Although I’m graduating now I will most certainly still and always collaborate with talented students from around the world. For my main editorial I collaborated with 14 other people to create the best party editorial ever! We shot it at the Malmaison hotel in Birmingham and it was so fun! Since then I have collaborated with the same models and photographer. Festival brand Bottle Blonde Studio gave us some beautiful pieces along with Elina May Pagett, a final year Fashion Design graduate.
Q) Allora was nominated for the 3ina Fashion Styling and Creative Direction Award at Graduate Fashion Week London. How did it feel to be nominated?
Being nominated and coming second for the 3ina styling and creative direction award… I was over the moon! To have the recognition and feedback from all the professional judges was very overwhelming and it has given me more determination to finish what I’ve started. I also gained a connection with another girl on my course there, called Zoe (we’d not met before that, even though we are on the same course!) and we plan to collaborate in the near future for the second issue of Allora.
Q) Would you recommend going to exhibit at Graduate Fashion Week London to future students?
I would absolutely recommend Graduate Fashion Week to any fashion student or photography student – it’s a great place full of inspiration and opportunities!
First years can help with the behind the scenes and dressing for the final year catwalk show, which I did in my first year and it was amazing! Crazy but amazing!
Graduate Fashion Week is something I plan on attending for many years (hopefully as press). There isn’t anything quite like it and it’s a great place to meet new people who you can work with and gain a professional relationship with.
Q) You mentioned your industry placement year and how it inspired your direction. What responsibilities did you have and what experience did it give you?
I had many tasks and responsibilities whist working at Riley Raven, for example, designing pages for Style Birmingham magazine and Mailbox Life magazine. I can’t express how much working there helped me! I gained confidence by talking to professionals that we were collaborating with i.e the founders of Finery London and other successful business women. By the time Christmas came along I was assisting with Styling and Creative Direction, which is when I developed my styling skills more. This was the only work placement I did and I’m glad I did this one as it was quite intimate which gave me the vision and reality of running a team.
Q) Where will you be setting up your new business?
I’ll be based in Yorkshire (my home town) for the first two years, working from home. This is the best place for me to start because the cost of rent for office space would limit the amount I can spend on developing the business. Plus, I’ve been away from family for four years now, so will be nice to be at home again.
Q) What do you feel are the main things from your course that will help you with your future career goals?
There are many skills I gained which I plan to take forward, like trend forecasting which helps me predict what people will be buying and what they will be doing. Being on the course also connected me to other students who have similar visions, which is always refreshing.
Studying in Birmingham has been eye-opening – meeting so many interesting individuals gave me experiences and lessons I will always remember.