Pierre grew up in Sweden, he looked at degree courses all over the world before deciding that MSc International Fashion Management (now MSc Strategic Fashion Management) at London College of Fashion was the only course for him. Having worked hard during his integrated masters, Pierre developed a love for merchandising. Since graduating in 2016 has since worked at the Arcadia group and is now an Assistant Planner for Mulberry.
Why did you choose to study at LCF? What attracted you about this university?
Looking around the different universities there was nowhere really that compared. I looked at schools all over the world – Fashion Institute in LA, Parsons in New York, Business Schools in Sweden, and none really offered what 3I wanted: a course and university that I knew would give me the best possible route to a job, whilst also allowing me to figure out exactly what within the fashion world I wanted to do.
As soon as I found LCF that was it for me – it was the only university I ended up applying to.
Why did you decide to study MSc International Fashion management (now MSc Strategic Fashion Management)?
Because of the wide but thorough scope of what you learn. I liked that it would allow me to go into a whole array of fashion careers: Merchandising, Buying, Marketing, VM, PR. With only a basic understanding of the different functions within a fashion business I knew I wanted a course that would leave me with options after finishing; not pigeonhole me into one specific field, in case I down the line decided I wanted to do something slightly different.
At 18 I didn’t want to choose to do Marketing or Buying or Merchandising – I wanted a course that would allow me to get a good understanding of all and then decide which one was for me. The fact that it was an integrated masters also stood out to me – I knew it would set me apart when looking for my first job.
What did you enjoy the most about your course?
I really enjoyed any project we did with industry of where we would do something “hands on”. My favourite was working together with Brora on market entry into China and how we would approach it. We got to visit their head office; met with their management and presented our fully formed idea to them, it was an incredible opportunity.
About your final project: Which topic did you explore and why did you choose it? How did you find the research process?
My final project was titled Saving the British High Street – Strategic direction for independent retailers to combat the growth of online. To be honest essays were never my strong suit so I knew I had to write my final project about something I really cared about, especially being from a small town and seeing local business close up and down our high streets. It was a big topic and I think I took on slightly more than I could chew but I had great support from my tutor Emmanuel which helped me through it, and whilst I never found a simple answer to my question I loved going out to independent shops and talking to the shop owners.
Best piece of advice you received from a lecturer during your time at LCF?
Not necessarily a piece of advice but the overall encouragement you get from your tutors and how personal the relationships with your tutors are. Because the course is so small they really get to know you and they understand your strengths and weaknesses and help you accordingly.
What have you been working on since finishing your course?
I got a job before handing in my final dissertation so I started my career as an International Merchandising Admin Assistant at Topshop the week after hand-in. I worked with various Asian partner for around a year before being promoted to International Business Assistant but now working for the whole of Arcadia group supporting all brands with their strategic direction and ongoing operational queries (think Account Manager). After some restructuring at Arcadia those responsibilities were brought back to the Merchandising teams so I returned back to my old team, this time as an International Assistant Merchandiser. I stayed in that role for around a year. All in all I was at Topshop/Arcadia for little under 3 years.
I then got a new job at Mulberry, where I’m currently working. It’s a newly created role which was part of the brands key strategy to focus on international growth so it’s a challenging role with a lot of responsibility. I am the main contact for the regional teams in China, Hong Kong, USA, UAE, Korea, Japan, Canada and Norway. I also do the seasonal buy and ranging as well as ongoing stock trading for these regions.
Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in fashion?
No – I think I decided in my mid-late teens. I was always into music growing up and saw myself getting into that industry – but had always had a love for shopping and fashion. I also knew I wanted to work in business and with numbers (I was that math geek at my school) so I wanted a career that suited both parts of my personality – I started thinking and researching and fashion business hit that sweet spot.
For you, what's the best thing about your job/profession?
Ohh there are so many things. Having niched myself into “International” I get to work with so many different cultures and meet people from all over the world which is amazing, and I’ve made so many friends across the world through my career and have stayed in touch with many after I’ve changed roles.
I also really love to problem solve and merchandising is all about problem solving and finding simple solutions to complex problems. Nothing is quite as satisfying as when you figure out a way to do something more efficiently and see the results of your hard work.
Any exciting upcoming projects you can tell us about?
What I’m most excited about at the minute is to see the first range I’ve selected and bought from scratch at Mulberry hit stores in Korea, Dubai and Norway from October (and hopefully see good sales as a result). I’m also really excited to tick some more countries off my list by visiting some markets I’ve not had the chance to visit yet.
What are your plans for the next few years? Where would you like to see yourself professionally?
I want to continue learning as many aspects of the fashion business as possible. I would love to do more travel with work and meet more people. Obviously I also want to progress into a higher role with more responsibility and autonomy. The end goal is to start a successful business of my own – but I want to soak up as much industry knowledge as possible before that.
What advice would you give to potential students who would like to enrol on MSc Strategic Fashion Management?
Be prepared – it’s one of the toughest courses at LCF, so come prepared to work hard. If you do it will pay off thousand fold and open up so many doors to the industry.
After graduating my peers and I all went into different roles but all into very reputable businesses and careers. If you want a course that will prepare you in the best way for the business of fashion – this is the one.