Jeanette & Babette

Babette Radclyffe-Thomas is now Culture Editor at Stylesight in Hong Kong. She studied MA Fashion Journalism at LCF and her final major project was a bilingual (Chinese / English) luxury lifestyle magazine. Babette was mentored by Jeanette Nkwate, Associate Events Editor at WGSN.

Why did you want a mentor?

I wanted to meet somebody working in the industry that had studied a similar degree and to see what sort of role he or she was currently in. I wanted to learn more about the different routes I could take in the professional sphere.

Tell us about your experience of being mentored…

I had a really good time; I found it very useful and insightful. It was great to see WGSN’s London headquarters too, and to learn more about the different roles in a trend forecasting company. Jeanette gave me lots of great advice, especially in regards to my portfolio, how to structure my CV and the importance of internships. Also to learn about the different routes or roles one can take with a fashion journalism degree was illuminating.

Has the experience been a success and would you recommend it to others?

Yes definitely, it was invaluable.

How did LCF Careers support you as a mentee?

They selected Jeanette as my mentor and arranged our first meeting.

What was your experience of studying at LCF like?

I had a great time studying at LCF. My course had lots of great industry connections and it was fantastic to have the opportunity to pour all of my interests and ambitions into my final project – a bilingual (Chinese & English) luxury lifestyle publication.

What makes a good mentor?

Somebody with experience who is keen to share; somebody who is friendly and easy to talk to.

LCF alumna Jeanette Nkwate is Associate Events Editor at trend forecasting company WGSN. She has mentored three LCF students so far: Caroline Leaper, Prerna Gupta and Babette Radclyffe-Thomas.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without my experiences at LCF."

Describe your role at WGSN?

I work closely with the Senior Events Editor, looking after WGSN’s coverage of over 150 trade shows and handfuls of regional fashion weeks across the globe. My role entails editing, managerial duties, and covering and writing about trade shows and fashion weeks.

Why did you decide to become a mentor for LCF students?

Having been a student at LCF, I know how valuable it is to be in contact with people in the industry. I consider myself relatively young so I feel that although I may not have the same experience as someone who has been in the industry for a decade or more, I do have more of an understanding of what the industry is currently like, in terms of trying to make the almighty move from graduate to an employed professional.

Tell us about your experience of mentoring…

My experience being a mentor has been quite varied due to the needs of the students I have mentored, but it has all been positive. For me I have always felt that mentoring is more like imparting knowledge to a younger sibling. And as a result, I prefer the meetings with my mentees to be rather informal and often in the office so that they can see the realities of the workplace.

How valuable is mentoring to students wanting to get into the industry today?

I think that mentoring is invaluable. It’s a great opportunity to network and can be instrumental in getting your career underway. It can be really difficult starting out in the industry and sometimes, all you need is someone who has been through it to give you the encouragement and advice that can lead you in the right direction or just keep you steady when you’re wavering.

What did you and your organisation gain from the experience and would you recommend it to others?

I would definitely recommend mentoring to others, as personally, I enjoy being in contact with the really talented students of LCF. It’s all chance to have a finger on the pulse of the youth in London, and hopefully meet the next generation of movers and shakers in the fashion industry – which is obviously a bonus for WGSN.

How did LCF Careers support you as a mentor?

I've mostly been in touch with Farah and she and the careers team has been great in supporting me as mentor with clear guidelines of what is expected from a mentor and what to expect from a mentee, as well as always being available and really quick to respond if I ever have any queries. Also, this time around, LCF has gone a step further with mentor and training events.

What makes a good mentee?

Humility, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. An inquisitive nature is also good because questions are never a bad thing! As well as a disposition that is robust and cheery.

What did you study at LCF and what was your experience of LCF?

I studied BA (Hons) Fashion Promotion: Journalism (now BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism) at LCF from 2006-2009 and before that I also did my Art Foundation, so LCF has a special part in my heart.

I really enjoyed studying at LCF and you realise that all the exposure and ‘live’ projects really correlate with the industry and ready you for what is to come after graduation. What’s even better is that all of the tutors are still in the industry and tend to be real heavyweights in their specialism so the care and advice you receive is immense, as well as the availability of additional study support and the UAL libraries. I can definitely say I wouldn’t be where I am today without my experiences at LCF.