As part of our Class of 2015 series, we talked to BA (Hons) Fashion Business Management (Part-time) student Bonnie Brand. Bonnie talked to us about her final project which explores how middle aged women negotiate fashion.
Give us one interesting fact about yourself…
Bonnie Brand:I was a volunteer non-professional dancer in Michael Clark’s Residency at the Tate Modern in 2010.
Talk us through your final project…
BB: For my final project I wrote a dissertation exploring the fashion consumption of middle aged
What do you love about what you do?
BB: I love understanding how middle-aged women negotiate fashion. Interviewing and building rapport with participants is inspiring. I believe research can be used as a tool in creating new meaning and understanding for the fashion industry. Love it or hate it, everyone has something to say about fashion.
What is the story behind your final piece of work?
BB: As a mature student studying fashion I slowly became interested in the idea of ageing and fashion. Ari Seth Cohen’s blog ‘Advanced Style’ and style maven Iris Apfel were early inspirations for me. As I progressed through my degree I slowly read up on and collected age-related fashion information, but never felt that it was an appropriate topic to incorporate into my course work until my final year.
In my third year my focus on the issue of ageing moved from the older aged demographic, which you know has been receiving a lot more press with the industry casting older models such Joni Mitchell, Helen Mirren and Joan Didion. I think this is a fantastic step forward in changing our cultural attitude regarding ageing, especially as it is a truer representation of our population demographic; we are living in an increasingly ageing demographic. From 1981 to 2010 the over 45 age demographic grew by 25%, whereas the under 45 grew 1.9% – this highlights a significant demographic shift which should eventually impact business strategies for various industries, fashion included. Middle-aged women appear to be the largest fashion consumers in this ageing demographic, and there is a definite opportunity to generate more consumer research in this area.
What’s the best thing about LCF?
BB: Great library services. The extra events/seminars that the University puts on. I would recommend to all students to take advantage of these events, especially ones that challenge your perceptions and creativity. Support services is great tool as well, I think everyone should take advantage of this, especially since you’ve everything to gain and nothing to lose by improving your writing and critical thinking skills.
What’s the best thing about your course?
BB: The lecturers were supportive and the course content was very well rounded. Yes it is a business course, but you are exposed to and can develop an appreciation of the fashion business from a more sociological perspective. It was fantastic to be given the freedom to explore the idea of fashion as a business from your own unique perspective. Being allowed to recognise my interest in understanding the consumer from a psychological perspective has allowed me to recognise the direction that I want to go in the future. I’ve applied to MSc Fashion Psychology programme, so fingers crossed!
Describe your work in five words…
BB: Ageing, women, psychology, research, progress