Meet Sophie Barr, the new course leader for BA (Hons) Critical Practice in Fashion Media
BA (Hons) Critical Practice in Fashion Media is an experimental, inter-disciplinary and practice-led course that positions fashion media and communication as a potent tool to confront the most pressing issues facing us today. We spoke to Sophie Barr, the new course leader, who gave us an insight into her background and the course.
Hi Sophie! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, I’m Sophie Barr, the course leader for BA (Hons) Critical Practice in Fashion Media at London College of Fashion, UAL. I am passionate about how we can use fashion communication to reach and influence diverse audiences and to drive positive change in the fashion industry and beyond.
I started out my professional career working in London’s film and media industries. After studying for a part-time evening master’s course, I became interested in critical approaches to culture and creative expression. This led to me starting a career as an academic, first as a lecturer in visual theory and then in fashion communication. I have my own critical practice where I explore diverse topics such as the fashion city, creative AI, and ‘feely’ media through writing, video and image-making.
What can a student expect from studying BA (Hons) Critical Practice in Fashion Media?
Critical practice means so much more than just the critique of fashion. We explore fashion media as part of a larger ecosystem and encourage you to make work that will produce systemic change in the fashion industry and the wider culture. On the course you will learn how to think critically and strategically, how to problem solve, how to tell engaging stories as well as how to use emerging technology to engage and activate audiences.
If you are as passionate about fashion as you are about understanding climate change and social justice, this is the course for you. We welcome students who are interested in being change-makers in fashion and through fashion.
Could you explain some of the career options open to prospective students after graduating?
Some of our recent graduates have gone on to work in important communication roles for the likes of Balenciaga, Gucci, JW Anderson, Jil Sander, Paul Smith, and The Face. Others have launched their own successful studios or furthered their studies in areas as diverse as visual communication, fine art, anthropology, artificial intelligence, and philosophy.
Have your students been involved in any interesting projects recently?
This course has delivered a series of successful collaborative projects with fashion practitioners such as Berthold, The Institute of Digital Fashion, Lucy Orta, Helen Storey, Bethany Williams and The Centre for Sustainable Fashion. This enables our students to have a direct connection with some of the most innovative and relevant designers and thinkers working today.
More recently, first year students have been able to assist a workshop with the designers of Ricebox Studios, a design studio that seeks to use visual communication and technology for social awareness.
Students were challenged to create an Instagram filter and avatar of themselves. Constança, a first year BA (Hons) Fashion Media in Critical Practice student showed us the work she produced during this workshop and told us: “I couldn't help but think that our own vision of everyday life, from the moment we get up until we go to bed, is also conditioned by our very own personal filters and that the culture that surrounds us is itself a set of prohibitions and impositions that we must face”.
Finally, if you could describe the course in one sentence, what would it be?
Activism and change-making within a communication framework.