We had a chat with final year BSc (Hons) Fashion Management student, Jemima Elle. She told us about her time on the course so far, her invaluable work experience and her dreams and aspirations for life after LCF.
Hi Jemima! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us. How’s everything going?
Hey, no problem at all. Everything is going well thank you – if not a little hectic! But I love to be on my toes, otherwise I’d end up binge watching the latest series on Netflix.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, what are you currently studying and what made you choose that course?
I’ve always had a keen interest in fashion and lifestyle and I sort of fell into the industry when I was 18 and I volunteered to work backstage during Oxford Fashion Week. I really enjoyed the experience and the opportunity to network with various creatives and was lucky enough to be offered a position with the company when they relaunched as Oxford Fashion Studio in 2015 as an international runway production company. After learning much of my skillset in marketing and PR while working with OFS I then went on to work with a number of other lifestyle brands as a marketing & operations manager, before I finally made the decision this summer to become freelance, so that I could work with lots of different brands. Incidentally, one of my first clients is OFS, who I now manage social output for. This has been a really important decision for me, allowing me the flexibility to tie together all the different aspects of my work and studies; and I will actually be looking at developing my freelance work as a digital marketing platform for start-up brands as part of my third-year final project at LCF.
I know that you’re currently freelancing for Oxford Fashion Studio which is amazing. I bet you’re super busy in the run up to fashion month. What does your job there entail?
My role at OFS is as their Social Manager, so I undertake a variety of tasks such as content curation and creation; newsletters; engagement and audience growth as well as setting up digital campaigns through AdWords, Facebook and Instagram. As a freelancer, I am predominantly home-based - or remote – and have been based in Greece for another client throughout September, which has made managing socials for OFS (especially livestreams!), particularly difficult over the last few weeks. Nonetheless, owing to the hardworking team on the ground in each city, we’ve managed to ensure everything is in place and properly coordinated with all of the platforms. Key responsibilities in the lead up to each fashion week include briefing the social media team; liaising with the photographers and videographers on required content; as well as posting content across platforms from model fittings, designer meetings and of course, the shows!
How do you feel that this work experience will benefit you both on your course and in industry?
I am actually very appreciative of the fact that I entered this course with some industry experience. When studying units related to marketing and/or management, it has been incredibly useful to have some insight as to how academic models or approaches actually translate in a physical environment. I am certain that upon completing this course, I will have a comprehensive understanding of both the industry and how I can best contribute to businesses, utilising both my academic and vocational skill sets.
I have to mention; you have an impressive 20k followers on Instagram – what do you enjoy about Instagram so much? What would be your advice to someone also looking to use Instagram to become an ‘influencer’?
I am naturally quite a creative person and when I first started my Instagram account in 2016, it was precisely for that reason – as an outlet in which I could express myself creatively, through images. Admittedly, since then, the platform has become less about creative content and more about business acumen – though given my freelance job and marketing studies – I have been in a relatively advantageous position in terms of simple know-how to be able to grow an audience. Now, I try my best to still use the platform to communicate things that are important to me or simply, to share the things that I enjoy, however, as another source of income, this has to be within the constraints of what is popular or expected by my audience. For anyone looking to use the platform as a means of cultivating an audience, I would advise that you pick a niche and stick to it. I learnt the hard way (by losing in excess of 4,000 followers in 2017) that to grow an engaged audience, trust is the most important factor.
Instagram is now saturated with youngsters and older users alike, all competing for attention; you have to give them a specific reason or benefit to follow your account and keep reminding them of it through targeted and specific content.
View this post on Instagram
After nearly missing my flight back to London and then managing to pick up flu on my first day back I was ready to write off this week... But then @theflowerbx showed up at my door with two beautiful bouquets of blue hydrangeas (my favourites ☺️) and suddenly it all doesn’t seem so bad after all thank you to my gorgeous guy for our first year together; for being supportive when I need you and putting up with me when you’d probably rather not hehe ...Oh, and for being a wonderful insta-bf too So grateful for all of the special people in my life.
What’s your next personal goal to achieve?
My degree! This year, I’ve decided to limit the amount of clients I take on to ensure I have ample time to commit towards my studies. Like most students, I haven’t always worked as hard as I should have (in retrospect) during years 1 and 2 and now I am keen to make sure I put in the necessary time to get the classification that I want.
What are your plans for life after LCF?
I love working with small companies and start-ups, helping them establish themselves online, and this is something I certainly want to continue after my degree. My main goal for 2021 will be to grow my business to 20 clients and (hopefully) take on a second pair of hands!
What most excites you about the future of the industry?
The internet and social media can often be painted in a bad light for being detrimental to youngsters however, there are lots of good things that have arisen from them too. Not least, the necessity for companies to be more transparent about their supply chains and operations; inducing the adoption of more ethical and sustainable practices throughout the fashion industry.
I’m also excited to see how technology within fashion develops over the next 5-10 years, particularly with reference to sustainability. From products such as ‘SilverTech’ being used by brands like Organic Basics – which keeps clothes fresher for longer – to larger scale projects like the Amazon mirror, which will allow users to virtually try on clothing using their mirror at home. It’s an exciting time to be entering the industry!
What advice would you give to a prospective student looking to join the same course?
If you’re looking for a degree which will allow you to explore multiple avenues within a business setting, then this is absolutely the course for you. The Fashion Management course at LCF has given me an insight into marketing, HR, economics, accounting and operations which has helped me explore multiple career avenues and consolidate my plans for the future.
Stay open minded and embrace the opportunity to learn lots of different skill sets within each topic as you’ll never know when you may need to rely on them in years to come!