One year ago Abi Buller left London College of Fashion as a graduate of BA (Hons) Creative Direction for Fashion, a course that teaches many different disciplines within fashion media, and like many that leave the comfort of higher education, she wasn’t completely sure what direction she wanted to take next. Abi spent the past twelve months trialling companies, sectors and jobs that she took a shine to during her degree. From freelance writing to managing social media channels to working on shoots, she experimented a lot while finding her feet and documenting her experiences alongside Marie Dalle, another graduate from 2017. The pair created ‘The Eternal Intern‘ podcast series as a learning curve for those leaving university and entering the industry. She discusses her first year of interning, podcasting and life as a graduate below.
Written by Abi Buller
Upon graduating from BA (Hons) Creative Direction for Fashion, a mixed bag of feelings towards the fashion industry led me to continue experimenting, making connections and trialling different job roles. I began to focus on specific areas learnt in my degree and developed an interest in future insights and trend forecasting. I’ve delved further into the world of writing and journalism and found that my final project and dissertation has continuously fed into the creative work that I’m doing one year on. As long-term projects requiring in-depth research and areas of exploration, the work completed in my final year of university has provided a foundation through which being able to view and critique the industry around me.
My final project was about the future of retail; a topic which I continue to be passionate about, and one which has informed the basis of research for many of my freelance projects and articles. I’ve enjoyed writing about the topic of online fashion publications like the Fashion Studies Journal, and digital trend publication, the Shape Shift Report. Alongside the written analysis of the area, I’ve also been able to apply this knowledge to strategic brand development – something I hope to place greater focus on as I continue to take on new creative endeavours.
Throughout my time at LCF, I completed a number of internships in different areas of the fashion industry. By throwing myself into such a variety of jobs from assisting stylists, features writing and fashion PR and marketing, I began to gain more of an idea of the areas of the industry which I felt suited me and those which I didn’t feel as comfortable in. This experience was directly reflected in some of my degree projects as I began to take inspiration from those around me, as well as learning to critique the industry I was working in. These job roles have encouraged me to consider the development of the fashion industry and question new ways to create a more sustainable future for the sector.
Being a student at LCF has proved to me more than ever just how powerful the connections you make at university can be. While many of the internships and opportunities during my studies were obtained from me reaching out on a speculative basis, the ones which have had the most impact on me on a personal and professional level have been the ones which stemmed from tutors and peers within the college. Having studied a degree which could lead down more paths than ever imagined, I began to notice my confidence grow as I opened up to new collaborators and was able to put those university-learned ‘transferable skills’ into professional practice.
Early on in my course I felt quite unaware of the opportunities to network and overwhelmed by ideas such as ‘building your own brand’ and ‘starting a side hustle’, but these ideas are all part of my life now and I’m very thankful to have been encouraged to start honing these skills right from the very start. Soon after handing in my final degree project, I chose to collaborate with one of my course friends on an idea that had been burgeoning in our minds after having made our first footsteps into the fashion industry. Also motivated by the desire to get the very most out of the facilities and creative environment of LCF, we set to work on creating a podcast series which discusses the realities of studying and interning in fashion. Taking a light-hearted approach, we wanted to uncover some of the ‘ins and outs’ of the work environments we had been exposed to and shed some light on an industry which is often obscured by media representations.
While I enjoyed focusing intently on my degree projects, the chance to reach out to industry collaborators with a new sense of freedom after graduating has fuelled my continued motivation to work in the creative industries. Emerging graduates should be excited by the chance to cast their creative net and continue refining their craft in self-initiated projects. It can seem overwhelming at first but also refreshing to know that you have space and time to further develop your practice beyond academic requirements. One of the main lessons learned since leaving LCF is the idea that the industry is always building and growing and seeking new opportunities in the same way that you are as an individual. Being at LCF taught me so much more than being able to do one specific job role – it taught me how to learn, develop, network, improve and build resilience in the complex nature of the creative industries. Being at such an early stage of my working life, I’m continuing to curate my interests and am excited by a potential future of a multi-faceted portfolio career.
The Eternal Intern Podcast
Listen to graduates Marie Dalle and Abi Buller discuss their experience as both students and interns in the world of fashion in London. Their honest reflections touch upon areas of the industry from styling and PR to magazines and photo shoots, and what it’s really like to work from an infamous ‘fashion cupboard’.
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