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Graduate Spotlight 2015: Shakaila Forbes-Bell


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Published date
10 February 2015

Next up in our Graduate Spotlight series is MA Psychology for Fashion Professionals graduate Shakaila Forbes-Bell. Part of the first graduate cohort from the new MA Psychology for Fashion Professionals course Shakaila tells LCF News about her research into Black and Ethnic Minority models in fashion and about her plans to move in to fashion branding and marketing.


Image depicting the research MA Psychology for Fashion Professionals graduate Shakaila under took for her final project

LCF News: Tell us about your final piece of work?

Shakaila Forbes-Bell: My research is hoping to refute the dogma in the fashion industry that ‘Black Models Don’t Sell’. Although we have seen a rise in the use of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) models such as Jourdan Dunn and Joan Smalls, when placed on a larger scale, BME women are extremely under-represented in the fashion industry, particularly in the UK. Based on Social Comparison Theory (which claims that we compare ourselves to similar others) I am conducting a quantitative psychological study to determine whether a match between the race of a fashion model and the consumer increases the consumers likelihood of buying the product that the model is advertising. It is my hopes to find empirical evidence that failing to showcase BME Models is not only wrong but is also costing retailers’ money.

LCF News: Where did you study prior to your MA at LCF?

SFB: I studied BSc Psychology at University College London (UCL)

LCF News: What are your future plans?

SFB: A large proportion of psychology is human behaviour and I have always found analysing the motivation behind people’s shopping habits to be incredibly interesting. Therefore, I hope to make a seamless transition into fashion branding and marketing. I also hope to take my research into the real world and help promote the use of BME models in the fashion industry.

LCF News: How do you think the course will help you to realise these plans?

SFB: This course has helped me to gain a deeper understanding of consumer psychology which will definitely help me to pursue a career in branding and marketing.

LCF News: What advice would you give to anyone considering studying an MA at LCF?

SFB: Find out exactly what area of fashion you want to go into before applying. There are so many amazing courses you will be spoilt for choice, make sure you explore all of your options! Also have a look at some of the amazing short courses at LCF if you are unsure about your future career goals.