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Net-a-Porter: industry perspective on the Collaborative Unit

Group of students selecting fabrics from a clothe rail and laptop on table desk
Group of students selecting fabrics from a clothe rail and laptop on table desk

Written by
Alexandra R. Cifre
Published date
07 August 2019

LCF students from MA Fashion Curation and MSc Applied Psychology in Fashion worked this year on a project with YOOX Net-a-Porter Group (YNAP) as part of the Collaborative Unit. The global online retailer recruited a group of 6 postgraduate students to work on YNAP's Digital Archive, tagging historical catwalk footage and videos featuring the collections of over 750 designers.

We've interviewed Hannah Lonford-Brown, YNAP’s Runway Collection Student Co-ordinator, and Tara Tierney, YNAP’s Digital Curator, to find out more about their experience of working with LCF postgrad students and how industry partners can benefit from joining the Collaborative Unit.

Hi Hannah and Tara! This is the second time that YNAP gets involved in the Collaborative Unit. How did you find the experience of working alongside LCF’s postgrad students this year?

Positive – they were engaged and proactive with correspondence and meetings and were very conscious of producing good work for us, which in turn helped us hugely. If we continue collaborating with LCF next year, we will make clearer from the beginning that the dependence on us should decrease as their confidence with the guidelines increase. But other than that, all good!

What type of support did you offer the students through their project journey?

The project operated remotely, and the students were in contact with us via email, along with arranging an introductory and mid-point face-to-face meeting. They emailed us during and after each video was completed, with queries which were responded to.

What do you think students learned during this project? 

The importance of drawing data and usability from images and data, curation, fashion and art history, and an overall cultural understanding, alongside improving written and research skills.

Which key skills should students bring into a collaborative working environment?

Proactiveness, organisation, trust in their own judgement, openness to receive feedback, and understanding of what can be gained from the experience. Being polite and well-written always helps!

How can industry partners benefit from participating in the Collaborative Unit?

They receive help with projects in terms of workloads, as well as new and innovative ideas; also, they get to help people who are in the same (or similar) positions that they once were. It’s always good to get a fresh set of eyes on projects and ways of working, and it was fun to meet new people from a variety of backgrounds.

What piece of advice would you give to students who take part in industry projects?

Choose something that genuinely interests you and links to something you already do or take interest in as you’ll work harder and get more from it, don’t choose something because it sounds cool, someone else is doing it or the company name is bigger than another.

‘A front row seat at fashion history’ is a project by Net-a-Porter in collaboration with LCF postgraduate students: Anastasiia Mala (MSc Applied Psychology in Fashion), Weiqi Yap (MA Fashion Curation), Hannah Beach (MA Fashion Curation), Weslee Tsuei (MA Fashion Curation), Naomi Zaragoza (MA Fashion Curation), Riccardo Pillon (MA Fashion Curation).