In 2017, Sydney Thompson flew from Canada to London to study BSc (Hons) Psychology of Fashion at LCF. She was part of the first cohort of this course and she's now entering her final year, where she will be dedicating the next months to completing her dissertation. We caught up with her between library sessions and tutorials to know more about her research topic, her hopes and expectations for the future and what she has enjoyed the most during her time at LCF.
Hi Sydney! You’ve just started your final year at the BSc Psychology of Fashion. How are you feeling?
These past 3 years have gone by so quickly! But it’s very exciting because now that I’m starting my final year I can see how my knowledge has been building up during this time.
Why did you decide to study this course at LCF? Were you interested in fashion psychology before?
I’ve always been very interested in this area but I was hesitant to study a BSc in Psychology because it felt like something was missing. Then I realised I was into fashion too, especially the business side of the industry, so I started looking into marketing as I thought it would let me balance the corporate and creative side of fashion. When I applied to UAL, I came to do my interview and they suggested the Psychology of Fashion programme — I didn’t know much about it, as it was the first year running as a BSc, but I thought it was very interesting and it made a lot of sense for me!
Image credit - FashNerd
You’re originally from Canada. How were the first few months when you moved to London?
I had a bit of a culture shock, but the college helps international students quite a lot! For example, if you’re a first-year international student you have guaranteed accommodation in the Halls. However, one of the things that surprised me was that LCF is not a campus-based university, so sometimes you have to put a little extra effort to have that sense of community. It’s really easy to just go to your lectures and then go home.
In my second year everything changed when I joined the UAL Climbing Club and Arts Active. Being part of a students' club or society at UAL really helps you to make new friends — it definitely made me feel more involved in the UAL community.
Knowing that you were part of the first BSc Psychology of Fashion cohort, did you have any expectations or concerns when you enrolled?
My main concern was “Can I get a job after graduating?” because there’s no job titled called ‘Fashion Psychologist.’ But that’s one of the reasons why I came to LCF, because the Careers department is really strong and they equip you quite well to join the industry after graduating. During my time on this course we’ve been discussing how our skills are valuable for the industry, so now I feel really confident that I’ll be able to find a role that suits me.
For those checking this BSc on the website, how would you describe the course to them?
It’s a research-based course, it’s very scientific, which is something that I really like. So for those thinking of doing this course, they need to have that scientific mindset. We look at lots of different theories, we collect and analyse data or statistics, and then we have to apply that to practical cases. It’s really all about solving issues in the industry, like anything related to sustainability, diversity, supply chains, etc.
This course has definitely changed the way I think about fashion and our relationship with clothes. It’s very interesting to understand why we wear what we wear everyday, or why we pay more attention to certain ads on social media, for example.
What have you enjoyed the most about the course so far?
I feel quite lucky to be in this course because we have a very small group of students, and we feel very involved in all the lectures – we’ve all become really close during these years, we’re constantly sharing ideas and helping each other. We do a lot of research projects where you choose your own topic, so you can apply your personal interests to your work, which I really like too.
Image credit - FashNerd
Have you decided a topic for your dissertation?
I’m focusing on technology in fashion, adding aspects of consumer satisfaction. I’m still working on the idea, but I thought about this when I read an article about the tracking devices that some brands use in their stores so they can know how long you’ve been in the store, what areas you go around, what items you pick up, what you buy... It’s kind of scary and unsettling to know that you’re being watched when you go shopping! But I think if we can make customers more aware of what sort of data is being collected and with what purposes, people might feel more comfortable about this technology because it would be used to improve their shopping experience.
You will be graduating next year in July. Any plans for after graduation?
I’m definitely considering doing a masters. I’m planning to stay at LCF and join the MA Strategic Fashion Marketing, which I’m really interested in! I really like LCF because it feels like here they have the right course that you need to further your career in any field.
Thinking of new students coming to LCF next year, what would you tell them to make the most of their time here?
Balance your social and academic life – that’s super important! You can spend every day at the library doing your work, but also remember that being at LCF is about networking. It’s really good to meet other students and exchange ideas with them.