Robyn Fitzsimons

Robyn is a BA (Hons) Hair and Make-up for Fashion student who is already making a name for herself in the fashion industry, as a model and mark-up artist, and has already done shoots for Dazed and Wonderland. She tells us about the opportunities her ongoing studies at LCF has presented for her, and why your degree is what you make of it.

Why did you choose BA (Hons) Hair and Make-up for Fashion?

I have to be honest and say that initially I wasn't totally sure of what I wanted to go on to study after I finished my course in Art and Design, but I was certain I wanted to further myself in something creative and within the arts. From an early age, I was fascinated and practiced ways of transforming myself. Creating new identities and characters through any way possible and finding new ways to develop and exercise this ability whether it be physically or digitally. So I guess makeup was almost like a second nature to me.

I also believe this decision was partly due to being heavily influence by a strong female presence growing up within a tight knit family. My family is predominantly female and I often jokingly refer to them as the coven. For years, and still to this day, I'd watch as my mother, my many aunts and my nan perform this ritual of getting ready for a night out, busy bustling around one another for hours and at the end of it, all these women I knew so well stood before me completely unrecognisable. I chose this course as a matter of instinct and basically on a whim, in the hope that I could utilise it to the best of my ability and as an artist, discover a new found set of skills.

What were you doing before you came to LCF?

I was in my hometown Corby studying Art and Design at College - school and A levels just weren't for me anymore. I grew tired of it and I always knew I wanted to pursue the arts.

What is the best bit about the course?

The best bit about the course is the fact that this isn't just a hair and make-up for fashion course, it is so incredibly diverse - everyone has a chance to explore pathways within. Almost as if we are art directors, publishers, photographers or casting directors. Within the set briefs the work that is produced is so raw and organic and straight from our visions or concepts. We put so much hard work into every single detail organising shoots from holding our own castings. Finding photographers or sourcing locations to shoot, then as soon as the initial shoot is achieved we go on to explore ways in which we can exhibit our work, in other ways than just a simple mounted print. Creating and producing our own zines using InDesign, Photoshop or, more recently, fashion films.

We are constantly learning something new and most importantly we are developing skill-sets that are beneficial, which as a creative I couldn't ask for more.

And what have been the challenges?

Deadlines and group work. I myself love to long out the creative process, constantly tweaking my work and refining ideas until i'm 100% happy with my outcome and even then I will think of something new or ways in which I can express and better my work. But I suppose as creatives we are perfectionists and will never be truly finished with our work. As for group work its obvious, however working within the industry for a few years now i'm no stranger to keeping an open mind and ear to everyone's input and the processes within collaboration.

My main struggle was individuals who never seemed bothered or motivated to create and produce, in the group. That being said, it's a valuable experience to learn, once confronted and overcome.

You've already gained work for brands and publications. How did that come about?

Before I gained the work as an MUA with brands and publications, I was cast numerous times for shoots, shows or presentations. I worked my way up, from the inside, being in front of the camera initially. This is also an incredible experience that I value highly as I got to see the industry, first-hand. From then, I networked and kept in contact with many of the individuals from this and built relationships with those people. I also believe social media has been a huge component. I'm mainly approached to be the mua for shoots, or even model, through my Instagram or through those who have found my website through my profile.

How do you think the course is helping prepare you to work in the industry?

The skills we have learnt are easily applicable to many positions within the industry. Like I said before, we don't just learn how to curl eyelashes and finger wave hair. The way in which our lessons are delivered is always in a mature and professional manner, however the intimate relationships built with our tutors allow us to freely express ourselves and we are taught how to respect and communicate with eachother in a appropriate manner.

The tutors themselves are mostly practitioners within the industry, so we get the most valuable first-hand knowledge from the real professionals, as well as workshops with well sought after creatives in and outside our pathway. Within the course, we also have a unit which allows us to experience work within the industry then report back to our tutors and peers so we can get a taste for the real world before we have even finished. Another way in which this course helps prepare us for the industry is the fact we often have outside professionals we are invited to collaborate with, for example H&M.

Does LCF offer opportunity for collaboration?

An incredible amount of opportunities have arisen from LCF. I am constantly emailed about positions within collaborative projects, whether it be students themselves, the end of year shows, or outside clients. In LCF, on Wednesdays we also have a designated out of hours time to meet up within the uni, to network and socialise with our fellow peers who are looking to collaborate on projects for in and outside uni.

How would you describe your aesthetic?

I couldn't! My aesthetic today could be completely different to my aesthetic next week. I'm fickle and I truly believe as a creative, especially within uni, we have the ability to constantly evolve and transform.

What would be your advice for people considering BA (Hons) Hair and Make-up for Fashion?

My advice would be that this course and your time at uni is what you make of it. The age old saying of you get out what you put in applies heavily in this course, which I think speaks for itself. Other than that make sure you enjoy and utilise the opportunities given to you like workshops, open access and most importantly the library. I never understood the sheer power and influence that the UAL libraries can give to an individual!