LCFMA22: In conversation with fashion business graduates
Our #LCFMA22 celebrations launched in February with an inaugural catwalk, showroom and exhibition at London Fashion Week. These events highlighted the inspiring projects created by London College of Fashion’s postgraduate students.
Melanie Wijesinghe studied MA Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and is the founder of Melache and Aphrodite Myrtle.
Fernando Cortés Martinez studied MA Strategic Fashion Marketing, and currently works for a performance marketing agency.
We spoke with Melanie, Fernando and Kiran to find out more about their projects, inspirations, and perspectives on fashion business.
What inspires the work you do?
MELANIE: I draw inspiration from music, art, literature, and history. Cultural aspects of these elements help to design my brands.
FERNANDO: What inspires my work is my passion to contribute to a better world. I love helping people succeed! After all, I try to help as much as everybody I've met has helped me.
KIRAN: I have over a decade of experience in European and Middle Eastern fashion retail. My area of research and specialisation is Advance Technologies, Strategic Marketing and Operations Management. My experience and passion towards the fashion industry inspires the work I do.
Can you tell us about your Final Major Project?
MELANIE: My project was to investigate if positive psychology coaching can be a beneficial tool to enhance the wellbeing of the female workforce in the apparel sector. Whilst the rest of the industries strive to invest in their human capital, the apparel sector is yet to acknowledge this. We must look beyond basic ethical work environments such as fair wages and health and safety work environments to contribute to the wellbeing of our female garment workforce.
FERNANDO: My project was about clienteling, hyper-personalization and CRM in the luxury industry within the Spanish Market. What I think is most outstanding is how this business project counted with industry experts who were able to provide insights that otherwise would not have been possible. These insights are highly beneficial to implementing business recommendations afterwards.
KIRAN: My MA research study focused on understanding the consumers’ perspective in acceptance and use of immersive technologies in the context of online luxury fashion. It synthesised the existing literature and research on immersive technologies and evaluated consumers’ preferences and understanding of using these advance technologies in luxury fashion, in a cross-cultural study between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.
What insights can you share from the process of completing your project?
MELANIE: You must be passionate about your research. For the findings to be accurate your research process should be well planned and carried out effectively. You must also not be biased towards the outcome but be open minded to research without a subjective approach.
FERNANDO: After completing my project, I understand more about who I am both professionally and personally. Throughout the journey, you learn who you are. I understood how much I love to work and how passionate I am about what I do, since I was working from Monday to Sunday on my final project to make the most out of it.
KIRAN: I would say that research is a journey where you put various elements together to come up with a unique contribution backed by data and logic. Hence, a key to successful research is choosing a topic that you are passionate about and will be helpful for your future career prospects.
What are your plans post-uni? What are you most excited about?
MELANIE: I am excited to embark on a PhD to explore another area that I am passionate about.
FERNANDO: Currently, I am working for a performance marketing agency, helping firms scale through Paid Media, with enterprises from different industries. I am excited to develop myself professionally for a few more years. However, I would love to pursue a PhD or an MBA in a few years.
KIRAN: Looking to the future, I wish to pursue a career in academia and research along with my PhD doctoral research. I am very excited about my PhD research in the discipline of advance technologies and operations, which is currently in progress. I also look forward to sharing my retail industry and academic knowledge with my future students.
What should prospective students know about fashion business?
MELANIE: It is really important to research and keep updated on everything that is happening in the fashion industry as it is rapidly changing. Being part of a university like UAL gives you the opportunity to be well equipped to venture into the fashion business or scale up your existing businesses.
FERNANDO: It is a tough and competitive industry. However, you've got to do whatever you are passionate about. If you are passionate about the fashion business, you'll end up enjoying it and succeeding.
KIRAN: The fashion industry has always been at the forefront to try new creative ways to capture consumers’ attention. The digitalisation of the fashion industry catalysed by recent global events and a pandemic pushed the fashion industry out of its comfort zone. Fashion business is the glue, where the creative side combines with the business / profitable side. If creativity is the beauty of this industry, then fashion business is the foundation to keep the industry moving forward in a profitable manner.