Njide Ugboma

Let Them Eat Cake magazine by Njide Ugboma

After completing the MA Fashion Journalism, Njide set up fashion magazine Let Them Eat Cake.

Where were you before you came to LCF and why did you choose the MA Fashion Journalism course?

I was studying BA (Hons) Communication Design at Chelsea College of Art and Design. This was a graphic design course and I knew from my final project that I wanted to go into fashion and study it at an academic level. After my BA, I was working as a fashion intern for a publishing company. I realised then, that fashion journalism was what I wanted to pursue. I decided to apply to the LCF MA Fashion Journalism course because of what I read in the course information. It sounded like the ideal course for me and a place where I could focus, work hard and at my own pace.

What are your lasting impressions of LCF?

LCF has an excellent library and study area. Lecturers and guest speakers also give you firsthand accounts of what they have experienced in the industry, which I think is invaluable. It gave me a good grounding about the industry I was entering into.

How did LCF help prepare you for your career?

Obviously, working to a deadline is something that you take with you into your professional career and it was made very apparent how crucial this is in journalism- no editor will ever wait for you or work with you again if you don't file copy on time! It also taught me the difference between writing as though you are writing a thesis, and writing from a journalistic perspective. LCF is a college where you have to use your initiative to make things work for you, which is very similar to the real world.

Did being in London inspire you?

I grew up in London, so I'm not sure how inspiring the City is for me compared to another student less familiar with it, but on the whole there is always something inspiring about London. Being a fashion capital of the world and hosting one of the most coveted fashion weeks also helps!

What did you do when you first left LCF?

I was still working as a fashion assistant for an Emap title called Pop magazine. I continued working there and then moved on to work for the Senior Editor as Sub Editor.

What are the highs and lows of being a journalist?

The highs would be seeing your name in print with great words you wrote that inform and inspire people. The lows would be writers block!

What's a typical day for you? (If there is such a thing!)

A typical day for me is getting to the office and working on the upcoming issue of the magazine. This includes finding references and working on the mood boards, the theme for the next issue, meeting photographers, stylists and writers and seeing their books, commissioning for shoots, working on production times, setting deadlines and editing content etc.

I double check with the art directors that everything is in and the running order is set. I'll then start signing off pages that are ready to go to print. In and amongst all of that, I write the main feature, the leading interview and the editor's letter. In between issues I am also talking to current and potential clients, attending fashion shows or press events and working as a freelance journalist and on commissioned projects.

What is Let Them Eat Cake about?

Let Them Eat Cake is a London based fashion publication. Our ethos is to be a platform for new creative talent and opinionated young writers to express themselves to the fullest. This includes designers, photographers, stylists, hair and make-up artists as well as illustrators and journalists.

How would you define the magazine aesthetic?

A cutting edge style magazine with British wit and youthful flair.

How did you go about setting up the magazine?

I started it with my now Fashion Director Cheryl Leung and my sister Nneka Ugboma. We got a bunch of friends together and asked them if they would be interested in contributing to the magazine. These were photographers, stylists and writers who were leaving assisting big names within the industry and wanted to shoot and create work for themselves. We started with a very small issue - almost A5 size and 16 pages stapled together. We printed 1000 copies, as that was all we could afford. We weren't really sure how the launch was going to turn out but it was received really well. We got a lot of press attention and issue 1 sold incredibly well. We haven't stopped since. Now, almost 7 years on, the magazine has 115 pages of fashion content, in a much bigger format and a spine. We are also stocked internationally and have a much higher print run of 10,000-15000 copies published every quarter.

And how would you define your readers?

The age range is 18-35, with more female than male readers. I always imagine them to be those incredibly cool girls and boys in college or university and even those working their way up in the creative industry. They are really clued-up and make their own decisions when it comes to fashion. They're not followers of fashion but natural lateral thinkers. They are tomorrow's leaders.

Who do you admire in the industry?

There is a section in the magazine called Rant that is dedicated to our heroes in the creative industry. These have included Solve Sundsbo, stylists Simon Foxton, Katie Grand and Panos Yiapanis and editors Ashley Heath and Terry Jones, as well as Neville Brody to name a few.

What inspires you most?

When I speak to people. Whether it's an interview, a phone call, in line waiting for a fashion show to start, or even chatting over coffee, there may be a word, a phrase or passing thought they, or I, might say that will spark an idea in me. I love seeing and hearing a different perspective on things.

What advice would you have given to yourself all those years ago at LCF, knowing what you know now?

I would say fashion is fleeting, so have fun with it. Anything you do in life requires hard work, but remember to sit back occasionally and enjoy it.

Any industry 'tips' for our current and future students?

I think it would be the same advice that I would have given myself all those years ago. Work hard and don't stop learning, but at the same time enjoy the journey.

And finally - any words of advice for students who may want to follow in your footsteps?!

If you want to start up your own publication, please know that when you embark on this, there will be many tough times ahead, along with the good. Stay confident and be determined. Always work with great people and there is no such thing a failure if you learn from your mistakes.