Sophie Grant, graduated in 2015 and currently has a graduate position at Stella McCartney.
You completed a BA (Hons) Fashion PR & Communication at LCF in 2015. Why did you choose to study at LCF?
LCF is considered to be the most specialised and prestigious fashion university in the UK, so for me, it was always the ultimate goal. I knew very early on that I wanted to work in fashion so studying at LCF was what I worked towards.
What skills did you learn and are using now?
I learned so many invaluable skills during my time at LCF: teamwork and leadership, research, analysis, presentation, technological skills, communication across different platforms and demographics, the list goes on. I can’t think of a single one that hasn’t somehow fed into my current role. I still think back to my press release workshops in my first term of Year 1 every time I write a press release, except this time it’s being sent out to press contacts around the world – not just my teachers at LCF!
Could you tell us about your current role?
I am currently in a graduate role at Stella McCartney, working on PR and marketing within the licensing team. I essentially assist with any communications that relate to our licensed product categories: eyewear, lingerie, fragrance, and two collections with Adidas. It’s an amazing opportunity to work with teams of people from around the world on extremely varied product lines. Also, working within a smaller group of people (as opposed to the ready-to-wear press team) allows me to see more of the business and take on responsibilities I wouldn’t usually have in a typical press office role.
How did you get to where you are today?
Firstly, I was really committed to my course and my education. It’s not a particularly glamorous piece of advice but it really pays to show up to all your lectures, contribute to group projects, and get work done to deadline. If you put in the time and effort, it really shows in your work.
During my second year at LCF, I secured an internship opportunity as part of my course, working in the press office of a global department store. The experience was enriching and really enhanced my understanding of both the industry and the role I wanted to pursue after graduation. I credit this experience, alongside my degree course with preparing me for where I have ended up as a graduate.
Finally, towards the end of my third year at LCF, between my final submission and actual graduation, I was contacted by the LCF Careers team regarding a graduate opportunity at Stella McCartney. LCF Careers is a department that helps students find internships
and graduates secure jobs in the industry. LCF Careers were very supportive in preparing me for my interview with Stella, and as a result, I ended up commencing the job 5 days after I graduated, with a first class honours degree. The manager at my internship, who was a former employee of Stella McCartney, also proved to be a strong referee.
Tell us about an average day at your job?
My role is rather varied in the sense that I don’t have specific tasks to complete each morning, such as gathering clippings or sending out and receiving samples. In any one day, I could be researching ballet companies in Russia, looking into media partnerships in the Middle East, arranging press gifts to be sent to Paris, or perhaps collating market research for a presentation at our offices in London. I’m lucky enough to be given a reasonable amount of autonomy to carry out my own research and contribute ideas to the business.
What is your top tip for those who want to get into roles like yours?
Work really hard! I think it actually does help to have a sort of tunnel vision; to know what you want and then just focus all of your efforts towards that. For me, I achieved my goal of studying at LCF, then I set myself another target of getting a first class honours degree, and I worked incredibly hard to achieve that too. If you get yourself into that routine and that focused work ethic whilst you’re still at university, it provides you with a great foundation for entering the industry later on.
What words of advice would you have for LCF students embarking on a career in Fashion PR and communication?
Never burn any bridges and definitely keep in contact with everyone you meet and work with throughout your university career and beyond. Fashion is such a transient industry – people move around a lot – so you never know where your peers or colleagues will be in a couple of years’ time.
Also, on a more personal level, I think the best piece of advice is to just keep on learning. Absorb culture wherever and whenever you can, read a variety of books, visit as many exhibitions as possible. In this industry, it’s really important and impressive to have a wealth of knowledge about a multitude of subjects and cultures, not just the obvious side of fashion.