Fashion journalism graduate Emma Gibbons created an online magazine called Cubed as her final major project. As part of the Class of 2017 series, Emma tells us what made her want to study fashion, inspirational speakers and offering a platform to young creatives.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the moment you knew you wanted to study fashion?
My early background is very academic based, I attended a grammar school for girls in Essex and excelled in maths, science, history and English literature. It wasn’t until my eldest sister went to university to study fashion and textiles that I considered the path. I took up textiles at school and fell in love with discovering more about fashion – not so much the making because I soon found out I was terrible at that – but the history of fashion and how it is such an integral part of our lives. I learnt to combine my academic strengths with my newfound love of fashion, I completed a project for sociology on the relationships between social change and fashion trends and knew I wanted to develop this further. I was set on going to read English literature at university but, after taking a year out and several personal setbacks, I realised I’d much rather apply my writing to a subject I enjoyed, so I enrolled on the fashion journalism short course and knew taking it a step further with the BA was just what I wanted to do.
Talk us through your final project
I created an online magazine for aspiring creative professionals across the UK – the focus of the project is that (hypothetically, going forward) each issue highlights a particular community across the UK that is thriving with creativity but is unrecognised in mainstream media. I have started with the city of Brighton, highlighting the work of talented university students, artists, designers and so on in the area. Alongside each issue’s city, there is inspiring content that applies to all those looking to get into the industries nationwide.
What is the story behind your final piece of work?
As a student in London I am lucky that we have multiple outlets to get inspiration from or even showcase our own work – we are almost spoilt for choice. I had many friends in far off universities who did not receive an equal amount of relevant press – most of their publications were university-led and had a very limited amount of information about the community around them. Also, the majority of arts-based courses are taught outside of London, with various fashion designers, journalists, stylists etc training in far off cities and they want their work to be seen as much as those in London do. So, this project is a means to offer them that platform.
What techniques or theories did you use to create your final piece of work?
It took a lot of interviewing – researching around what university students want and lack within the publications they have access to now, I completed various surveys, focus groups and one to one interviews to really make sure I was creating a publication they would benefit from. I also, once creation started, had to interview various industry specialists and creative professionals to get various voices within my work and make sure my content was entertaining and relevant for my audience. As well as written content, my magazine included broadcast pieces too so I had to film various subjects for it too – interviewing professionals and getting footage of their talents.
Have you been in the media?
I am the Features Editor for a start-up magazine called Debut which I write for every issue and I have had by-lines for Glamour and LOOK online.
Have you undertaken any work experience or done a placement whilst at LCF? Where and how did you secure this work experience or placement?
Yes, I completed three internships as part of a placement term in second year – Glamour, LOOK and Red magazines – and I secured them myself by emailing them and sending through my CV and tailored cover letter. I also interned with Drapers, InStyle, Culture Whisper and Sunday Times Style throughout the rest of my three years at LCF too. These were all from emailing my CV out or looking online for any internship vacancies. The Sunday Times Style internship I won in second year. We all had to write an investigative piece to do with an issue in the fashion industry and they set up a competition whereby the tutors chose a shortlist of 4 articles and sent them to the publication, where they chose the winner to come and intern.
Have you met or been inspired by any speakers from the industry whilst at LCF?
Lots! I attended the Alexandra Shulman talk, just before she announced she will be stepping down as editor at Vogue, and learnt a lot about her career’s progression to editorship. I attended a panel discussion with some of ELLE’s top editorial team members, that was especially interesting to see the development of the publication and how all of the team members work together to produce it. I also attended a panel discussion from various BAME members of the industry speaking about the issues surrounding diversity within today’s media. This was incredibly interesting and inspired an investigative feature for my own final major project too.
Describe your work and aesthetic in five words…
Informative, planned out, thought-provoking, enlightening and empowering.
Do you have a muse? If so, who and why?
My muse would be those I see around me – and myself – I like to write content that I think would genuinely help and inspire people. It may just be exactly what they need to hear when times of trying to get an internship or a new job are getting them down. Everyone needs a little morale boost every so often.
What influences your style and work?
Again, myself and my peers, I produce a tone of voice and aesthetic that I think we would want to hear and see.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to be able to work within the industry of fashion journalism and get a job as a features writer/editor – I want to continue writing informative and inspiring pieces that will make people stop and think, and give them the encouragement to carry on. I think our world is so saturated with visual media so to join those who inject some informative longer reads and take people back to the pleasure of reading would be something I’d love to contribute towards.
How do you think your course and LCF will help you achieve this?
LCF is a recognised name throughout all creative industries and a lot of those working in the media studied here too so immediately know where you’re coming from. Also, the course not only sets us up for writing about fashion but connecting it to all aspects of society and culture, to keep engaging with the world around us, so I think we’ve been trained to be quite adaptable journalists.
Have you heard that LCF is moving to east London? What do you think about the move?
I wish they’d done it sooner so my commute wasn’t as long! I just hope that when they move it won’t feel detached from the vibrant creative scene of London, and they will still interact with various art institutions around the capital. For now, Stratford seems quite distant but perhaps that’s the direction the capital is moving anyway?
What music do you listen to whilst you’re working? Is there one particular track or artist that you like?
Ed Sheeran definitely, he manages to keep me calm and focused but every so often throws in an upbeat track to get my energy levels up again.
What do you think Brexit means for the fashion industry and studying in London?
Unfortunately, I think it means people from other European countries won’t be able to study quite so easily over here, but as the pound’s strength decreases it may be more appealing for international students to move over here – I’m not entirely sure, it’s all just a waiting game I guess!
- More information on BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism