LCF News recently caught up with Iciar Bravo Tomboly who is currently on the MA Fashion Design Management course at LCF. Iciar, who is studying with a Chevening Scholarship tells us what the scholarship application process was like, why she chose LCF and gives her top tips to new MA Fashion Design Management students.
What did you study before MA Fashion Design Management?
Before coming to London I studied Fashion Textiles and Design in Buenos Aires. During the four years I was in Argentina I had the chance to complement my studies with all sorts of courses like pattern cutting, design programs, textile printing, and everything that gave me the tools to be a better designer. I also signed up for seminars in fashion management, finance and accounting. This might sound completely separate to design, but actually, if you really want to work, you need to know how to sell yourself and what you do, so you need management skills as well.
Why did you choose MA Fashion Design Management at LCF?
In 2014, I had the amazing opportunity of showcasing my collection at the International Fashion Showcase during London Fashion Week. This was a major move in my career, as it gave me a view of the fashion industry in Europe, which is completely different to Latin America. During the showcase I had the chance to get in contact with buyers, journalists, bloggers, academics and LCF professors. After that, LCF representatives visited Paraguay, which is where I’m from, to do a consulting project and that’s how I heard about the MA Fashion Design Management course. I always wanted to pursue a Masters program in Management, because I realised that design is only a small part of the industry, so this course was the perfect time for me.
How did you find out about the Chevening Scholarship and what was the application process like?
A friend of mine was awarded the Chevening Scholarship last year, and he told me how amazing it was. I was planning on doing the MA in 2014 but I couldn’t get the financial support – that’s why I applied for Chevening funding through the British Embassy in Paraguay. It’s impressive to see how many funding opportunities there are, that people don´t actually know about. I think it’s just about looking at all the possibilities and once you apply to one scholarship the process is very similar to others – the first step is the hardest, but my advice would be that is totally worth it.
What is your favorite thing about studying in London?
I love the mix I can find in London – you have everything, but at the same time it’s not overwhelming. I have made friends with people from all around the world, and it makes you realise how close we are to each other. I also think there is a great harmony between creativity and business in London, which is always hard to find.
Can you tell us a little bit about your final project…
My research comes from the idea of connecting Latin America to the world – especially Paraguay, because most people I meet have never heard of my country. I’ve noticed an emerging attempt from South American countries to make their cultures know throughout the world, and I want to be part of this. I believe the leading industries and countries could help in the building of a sustainable world by sharing their knowledge and experiences with developing countries. It’s a win win – everyone will benefit from it.
What do you like most about your course, and what do you find most challenging?
My greatest challenge has been to stop working. It’s very hard to take a step back and use your time to analyze things instead of being “productive” and achieving results from a business perspective. That’s why I really love that the course is giving me the freedom to grow in knowledge, and have the time to research in the fields that I am more interested in. LCF gives you a great guidance and specially all the tools you need to have access to sources in the fashion industry.
What would be your top tips for prospective MA Fashion Design Management students?
Be ready to change your way of thinking – if we stop working in order to study, we come from a very different pace and system. This one-year full time experience was something completely unexpected for me, because it changed my way of doing things and of looking at things. You have to stop and analyse situations, do your research and change perspectives and beliefs.
‘If someone else can do it, so can I’ – we are used to believing that some amazing things are impossible for us like launching your own brand, or becoming the head creative designer of a luxury brand. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is possible – if someone is in that position, you could also be there.
Believe in yourself, have a clear idea of what you want, and go for it!
What is your plan when you finish your MA?
My plan is to work in the industry in Europe. I have been learning the academic side of Fashion Design Management and now, I would love to have the opportunity to apply all this new knowledge to work.