BSc (Hons) Fashion Management student Emily Bisgaard, currently on her Diploma in Professional Studies (DiPS) placement, attended this year's Copenhagen Fashion Summit with her placement provider Nike. As a Global Athletics and Consumer Insights Intern, Emily has impressed the senior leadership team thanks to her engagement with sustainability priorities; she has encouraged the department to dig deeper, uncovering what the Nike consumer thinks about sustainability.
Her enthusiasm and proactive approach gave her the opportunity to not only attend the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, but she was also asked by Nike's Chief Sustainability Officer, Noel Kinder, and Chief Design Officer, John Hoke to lead key workshops and design launches throughout the event.
In a recent interview with Emily, she told us how attending the summit — which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year as the world’s leading business event on sustainability in fashion — and working with industry leaders has given her a new perspective on the most critical environmental, social and ethical issues we’re facing today. Here she shares with us all about her experience with Nike as part of her DiPS placement.
Hi Emily! You had the opportunity to attend the Copenhagen Fashion Summit with Nike. How did you feel when you got the invitation?
It didn't feel real — the whole experience was amazing! It was crazy being a part of Nike’s circular design launch, which ran at the Summit.
It made me feel really proud and grateful to see that my work was recognised at such a high level. This event is really a catalyst for change in the fashion industry, and it was an honour to be a part of the Nike team there.
What has been your favourite experience of the placement so far?
Honestly, I can’t pinpoint one thing! This has literally been the best year of my life in so many different ways, and I’m so grateful for it. Everything that I have learned and experienced is really beyond compare. Meeting new people, working with different athletes and travelling has definitely been one of the main highlights. But I think seeing how my work can truly affect a business, and being able to give input in big leadership meetings has really allowed me to grow.
Why did you want to do the placement year, and why Nike?
One of the reasons I chose this degree with London College of Fashion was because of the placement year that it offers. I have always wanted to work for a brand like Nike! It isn’t just about the athletes they support, they have created a culture that appeals to me as a person. The balance between work, life and exercise is something they value beyond compare. Nike isn’t just an innovating product manufacturer, but a global giant that wants to improve society.
I also really wanted to work for Nike because they truly spark social change. Whether that’s with advertisements, like the Colin Kaepernick ad campaign or their women-focused Dream Crazier campaign, or the products they offer — they stand for positive change in every way.
What first got you interested in consumer insights?
I was introduced to the term in second year through our Fashion Consumer Insights unit. I found that for me consumer insights isn’t just about understanding consumers better. The aspect of the role that is exciting is when you are acting as a journalist and uncovering new insights, having the ability to use these to directly affect change within a brand: in product design, branding, merchandising, and almost all functions of the business!
What are your typical duties with Nike?
As part of my role, I travel up to three times a month to different cities across Europe, Berlin, London, Paris and Barcelona, to name a few places. Beyond this, my responsibilities include working with athletes, building decks that forecast insights and debating how any actions made will affect different functions in Nike. I also attend events, conduct trend reporting and hold focus groups with consumers. Additionally, I have been able to work on two sustainability projects, with the insights generated reaching top leadership in the company, leading them to invite me to the Copenhagen Fashion Summit as a result.
What you have learnt about yourself through this process?
This is a tough one. If I were to narrow it down, I’d say I’ve learnt that hard work definitely pays off, and secondly that I’ve built a whole new wave of confidence.
Being one of the youngest interns at Nike EHQ, and one of the few females working in football, it was honestly terrifying and exhilarating at first. After being there for nearly 10 months, now I can say I feel so much more confident in my position, and my outlook on life has truly been shaped for the better.
Why should other students think about completing a placement year?
Honestly, every student who has the opportunity to do a placement year should do it. Whether that’s with an internship or studying aboard, it will only benefit you for the better. The people, places, and experiences that you go through will impact you in ways you don’t even realise at the time. To keep it short and sweet though – do placement year because it’s amazing. No matter what you choose to do and whether you end up with your dream job or not it, will help your career and hopefully help you grow as a person. I highly recommend it.