The LCFMA16 series continues with MA Fashion Journalism up next, a unique course that merges cultural theory with creative fashion journalism. LCF News spoke to students Evangelia Tsipi, Shweta Gandhi and Valentina Medina after they handed in their final projects to talk about LCF, creating a magazine and their plans for the future.
What did you study before your current MA?
Valentina: I studied my BA in Germany before working in journalism for a year.
Shweta: I did my BA in journalism then a postgraduate in print journalism in India.
Evangelia: I studied my BA in Luxembourg and an MA in Kent.
Why did you choose LCF?
Valentina: A year before I applied to LCF, I started working for an online magazine in Berlin and I really enjoyed writing. I felt like it was something that would really unify my creative side as well as my academic side, but after a year I felt like I needed to learn more about writing to take it to the next level. I knew I wanted to study a postgraduate, when I started looking where to study I found LCF and put all my eggs in one basket and applied for MA Fashion Journalism. I felt this was the only course that really represented all the skills I wanted to learn more in-depth, I really wanted to push my creative writing ability. I also looked at the course page on the UAL website and watched the video with Andrew Tucker, course leader, and knew I wanted to study Fashion Journalism in London with him.
Shweta: When I Googled ‘Institutions for Fashion Journalism’, LCF was the first option on the search, so I began reading the course bio and the university seemed really prestigious. I spoke to a careers counselling group in Delhi about studying at London College of Fashion, and they said studying here is like the ultimate dream. I knew I wanted to study at LCF so I applied straight away and here I am.
Evangelia: When I think about fashion, I think about London. My mentality and sense of humour feels very British, so I wanted to study fashion in London and be in the heart of the fashion scene. UAL is one of the best universities in the world for something like this, when I saw they had an MA Fashion Journalism course then I applied straight away. LCF ticked all the boxes for me, especially with course leader Andrew, who is very good at what he’s doing.
Tell us a little bit about your final project
Valentina: I created an independent magazine for men and women over 50 years old. I wanted to create something that was suitable for cross generations and not exclusively for just over 50s, hopefully bringing age into a more contemporary context. I did a lot of photography and editorial with older models, but also used younger ones too. The interviews involved creative people over 50, but I also included ‘think pieces’ from younger people who are worried about age and getting old. I met a lot of interesting people for the magazine.
Shweta: I created a magazine for sustainable fashion and lifestyle. I’ve always cared about the earth but it’s here at LCF that I learned my passion was in sustainability. I met Rosemary Willet from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion team, she encouraged me to go forward with the magazine and push sustainability. I applied for the Kering Award for the collaborative unit, this again taught me more about sustainability.
Evangelia: I wanted to make a new fitness magazine, but I didn’t want it to be cliche, I wanted it to play on the fact that fitness can be something that anyone can do. I looked at alternative methods for getting fit, like naked Yoga, I looked at body hair, I looked at things close to my heart. I’ve been on diets for a million years but I wanted to created a fashion magazine that was more than working out and diets. I hope to empower people with my project!
What do you like most about your course? What have you found most challenging?
Valentina: MA Fashion Journalism brought together all my favourite things about journalism and publishing. The course was really interesting because it opened my mind up about publishing, what could be done, and how things work. I had experience in journalism back in Germany, but I didn’t know much about publishing. I think I need another six months to let everything sink in as I’ve learned so much. What I found most challenging throughout was achieving confidence in yourself and your writing ability. Finding that confidence is difficult, relying on other people is also very frustrating. Most of the course created magazines for their final projects, we all faced the same challenges with relying on other people to get work done from them, like printing, photography, graphics etc.
Shweta: I’ve really enjoyed my time with my course leader, Andrew Tucker. He’s really humorous, he has a great way of teaching. He use to say things to use like, ‘If you don’t know this then you don’t know fashion journalism etc.’ Having him as our tutor really made it a great journey. What has been challenging is learning fashion journalism, I come from a traditional journalism background, both are pretty different. Fashion Journalism is more about creative writing and ‘soft news’, so learning all of this and stepping back from the traditional journalism has been challenging. Also managing deadlines has been difficult!
Evangelia: Having a vision but struggling to bring it live through technology or mood boards was a bit of a struggle in the beginning, the collaborative unit was also a challenge. The magazine was fun and the tone was interesting, but because it was part of bigger project, many people didn’t end up working on it, so trying to enforce people to work on it when they don’t want to is frustrating. The most interesting part of the course was meeting new people, creating new ideas and improving my creative ability.
What would be your top three tips for prospective students?
Valentina: 1. Get in touch with everyone in your course and make friends. 2. Leave your ego at home. 3. Start early, doesn’t matter how confident you are in your work, time is always the thing that’s going to be missing.
Shweta: 1. Be passionate about fashion. 2. You need to have drive to excel. 3. Taste is something that’s personal, so be fully aware of what you like and don’t like.
Evangelia: 1. You can never have too many references, the weirder the better. 2. Don’t be scared to voice your opinion. 3. YouTube is your best friend if you’re useless at Photoshop or InDesign. Good bless YouTube!
What is your plan for after you finish your MA?
Valentina: Before I started the course I was sure I wanted to be a journalist and be a full-time writer, but this course has led to me to do so many things differently. I’ve really enjoyed creative direction, styling, photography and writing – I kind of want to work freelance in a few different job titles.
Shweta: I want to work in magazines, I interned at Vogue India and now want to pitch some sustainability ideas to them. They have the most commercial scope and I’d love to address issues such as child labour with them in India.
Evangelia: I’d like to still be in London! I want to be a fashion journalist but I’d also love to be more involved in the creative side of the industry like styling, creative direction etc. But this course has helped me realise that my passion is writing so that’s what I want to be doing, perhaps start freelancing to begin with but in the future full-time.