Dalila Neves Chaves

Dalila worked in buying and merchandising for large fashion retail companies in Brazil before coming to London College of Fashion to study MA Fashion Retail Management.

Why did you choose to study MA Fashion Retail Management?

My experience was in buying and merchandising in large fashion retail companies in Brazil and I wanted to keep my career in retail, so I selected the MA Fashion Retail to expand my knowledge in the area and have a more international view of the subject. I also plan to start also my own business in the future, so I realised the disciplines would be useful to help me achieve this goal.

And why did you choose London College of Fashion?

LCF is well-known internationally and has a reputation as one of the best fashion universities in the world. As I wanted to study abroad and it would be a huge commitment for me; leaving family and friends, with a high financial investment as well, why not choose the best? Whenever in the world I decide to work after my MA I know people will have heard of LCF.

On top of that, I’d been in London before and I loved the city and I also think, with fashion retail, London is a place where everything happens, so it would be an interesting research 'field'!

Tell me about your experience of the course? What are your highlights?

I like the way the classes are prepared, with a balance between theory and books, the current strategies adopted by retailers and the trends for the future. Furthermore, having professors and classmates from different backgrounds and experiences enriched our experience.

What are the facilities like at LCF?

LCF provides several facilities that are available to anyone who is interested. I personally think the language support is quite helpful. It's not about learning English, it's about learning to write formally, the difference between the formats of the assignments, how to use references, etc. The library and e-library are also really good. We can find different sources for our research, such as books, journal articles, industry reports, information about companies, country profiles from all over the world and most of them are available online.

What are the LCF staff like?

They are always ready to help. And you can contact them at the university or by email, they’ve always replied to me in less than 24 hours.

What is the balance of theoretical and practical work on the course?

As it’s a Masters degree the course is more focused on theoretical work, however in all assignments we had the opportunity to analyse a real company or develop work for a specific company, as we did in Visual and Sensory Strategies unit, where we had to develop the visual concept of a whole store. And as I said before there is a good balance between the theory from books, what are the current strategies adopted by retailers and the trends for the future.

How have you found living in London?

I had been in London before, when I came in 2009 for 4 months to study English, so I knew about few things like how the transport and Oyster card work, which websites I could use to look for a room, where things are in the city, which helps a lot.

This second time, my main first impressions were: how expensive things are and how culturally mixed London is. You can see people from different origins, religions, styles. People from different cultures living and sharing the same space. So you can be yourself and nobody really judges you.

Have you been to any events put on by the College?

Yes, I went to several industry events this year and watched really interesting lectures mainly about entrepreneurship.

Do you have any hobbies or passions outside of your course?

I like to do sports. I used to swim and I also like to go to the gym or jog. In London I started jogging in the parks as there are many parks everywhere and it's much more interesting than jogging on a machine. I also love travelling, so I could visit Europe as from London as it is really close and cheap.

What were you doing before joining the course?

I was working in buying and merchandising as product manager at Lojas Riachuelo, a huge fashion retailer in Brazil, in children's wear. I left my job just one week before I came to London.

Do you have any tips for prospective students?

Well, I think everybody arrived really excited here and thinking we have 15 months that seems a lot of time to do everything. But in the end, it passes so fast and you realized you didn't do everything you wanted. In fact, you do have time to do everything, to study, to work, to have fun, to travel. So my only advice is balance your time, and you have time to do everything you want, just use it intelligently.