After growing up in France and Spain Maria-Selena, moved to London to study at the London College of Fashion. She graduated from BA Fashion Visual Merchandising and Branding in June 2019, and is working as a fashion visual merchandiser.
Why did you choose to study at LCF? What attracted you about this university?
It was my ‘dream’ to enter in this university. Firstly, because of its worldwide ranking position: I feel that when you decide to be in the creative industry you need to have the strongest background in order to be able to have the most rewarding opportunities. Also, a strong point, is networks opportunities. Indeed, I feel LCF and more generally UAL offer a strong range of networks, which makes a significant difference with other universities.
Why did you decide to study the BA Fashion Visual Merchandising and Branding?
I decided to study this course, firstly, due to my previous professional experience, I was Assistant Visual Merchandiser and I thought the idea of mixing business and fashion was very interesting. So I decided to look more in depth and there were just two universities with the same BA which was either New York or London, so I decided to come to London and to apply. I wanted to know more about what was really being a Visual Merchandiser which consist as mentioned previously in being a spatial designer, branding architect etc…
What did you enjoy the most about your course?
The creative aspect, the total freedom to create, by developing sketchbooks, model makings, creating spaces on sketchUp, making creative indesign files. I love the process from studying in details the brand identity, its customers, the inspirations and the creation of the space or window.
About your final project: Which topic did you explore and why did you choose it?
I explored how luxury retailers integrate ‘phygital’experiences in order to stimulate connections with young customers.
I wanted to explore the retailer’s response to the evolving landscape called ‘New Luxury’; to understand the cultural comment around customer behaviors - how the role of customers is changing and therefore influences the luxury industry; to examine the ‘phygital’concept which relates to merging the online and offline environment and to evaluate the‘phygital’experiences’effects on building deeper connections with luxury brands; therefore, to study emotional branding in order to create a strong brand relationship between customers.
The study has shown the influence of experiences and digitalization on customers’responses. It also suggested that emotional branding is used as a strategy to link luxury brands with customers on a emotional level and forges brand attachment. By providing an experiential, immersive environment, it contributes to the stimulation of emotions and leverages customer experience, emphasizing on interaction and innovation.
What was the best piece of advice you received from a lecturer during your time at LCF?
I will say hard work comes with commitment. And also that expectations are not going always as planned and expected but it is about accepting and discovering other possibilities and opportunities.
What have you been working on since finishing your course?
I have been involved in a project for Aquascutum brand and I am preparing my portfolio to start to apply in September.
Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in fashion?
I always wanted to pursue a career in Fashion, for many years I wanted to do Fashion Design at CSM, however I felt that I was not ready psychologically to pursue this path and I discovered through my professional experience, spatial design and VM so I decided to underpin this course. I was really attracted by the way you could merge creativity and business.
For you, what's the best thing about your job?
I will say the fact that even though is Fashion Business, it is and can be, extremely creative. I think it is very important to develop and create design environments in order to generate emotions and I am particularly interested in this field of my profession.
The idea to create a necessity to discover physical spaces in an era of digital is challenging but exciting as my profession intends to find appropriate solutions for customers and brands in order to create a seamless experience.
Any exciting upcoming projects you can tell us about?
At the moment I am focused on developing my portfolio and my digital skills to be the most prepared when applying to jobs. I will either apply in London and in France, in the luxury market industry.
What are your plans for the next few years? Where would you like to see yourself professionally?
I see myself as a retail architect and spatial designer in the luxury industry. I am planning to move to Paris as there is many opportunities in my field in luxury.
What advice would you give to potential students who would like to enrol at this course?
To enjoy it because personally, it has been the most rewarding experience. Also to keep in mind that nothing comes for free, that if you want something you have to be committed and work hard. I think it is important to develop your ambition as it is a very competitive and creative industry, so it is important to always want more, and show more in order to distinguish you from others.