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Build transferrable skills for fashion business with a short course

Illustration of a clothing rack within a retail shop
  • Written byYusuf Tamanna
  • Published date 16 June 2021
Illustration of a clothing rack within a retail shop

Furniture and spatial design student Tushti Goyal tells me that she has aspirations of being an interior designer. She’s currently studying at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore and hopes to eventually manage her own design firm.

“I want to create a positive impact on society. I like to keep an open mind and learn every day. As a budding designer, exploring my inner self has helped me realise that what intrigues me the most about design is the fact that there are no boundaries whatsoever.”

A photo of Tushti Goyal

Her passion for design led her to study one of our fashion business short courses, the Store Layout and Visual Merchandising Online Short Course with London College of Fashion. Her original plan was to come to London to do the course, but due to the pandemic, she opted to study the course online instead.

“The variety of courses available at UAL inspired me to take a short course. Moreover, UAL is one of the best universities for design,” Tushti explains.

Like Tushti, Ona Simpson also wants to make an impact with the work she does. Ona works as a Junior Buyer at Vivienne Westwood and defines herself as a “methodical problem solver by nature with an inquisitive mind.”

“My goal is to make a genuine impact, ensuring I practice and enforce sincerity and optimism in everything I do,” Ona explains.

A Photo of Ona Simpson

Ona actually studied two short courses with UAL with the first being the Fashion Buying and Merchandising Intensive Short Course, which she took a few years back on campus in 2014. More recently, Ona revisited short courses and decided to take the being Fashion Product Development Online Short Course.

“Years ago, I was studying History at university but knew I wanted to get into fashion buying instead. The reviews as well as the reputation of the university informed my decision to do the short course,” Ona explains.

Fast forward to today and with 5 years of experience under her belt in buying at Vivienne Westwood, Ona looked to short courses once again to help her expand her understanding of the field.

“I feel like I now have a really strong handle on the analysis side of buying and really wanted to be more educated on the product side of things. Essentially, I wanted to up-skill during lockdown!”

If it wasn’t for the Buying and Merchandising Intensive Short Course, I would not have landed an internship so soon without this course

— Ona Simpson

Yvonne Ryll also undertook two short courses with UAL, which were the Colour in Fashion Online Short Course and Fashion History: The Evolution of Style Online Short Course.

Similar to Ona, Yvonne Ryll studied Chemistry at university but soon realised it wasn’t her calling. She pivoted to cultural studies thereafter but still couldn’t shake the feeling that she wasn't quite clicking with the subject because her real passion lay elsewhere.

“Since I was a small girl, I have loved pretty dresses and costumes. I used to sew really bad dresses for my Barbie dolls – but everybody has to start somewhere!” Yvonne says.

“I was always fascinated by my mum when she made costumes for carnival, and I knew I wanted to do that as well. For a long time I just looked at it as a hobby, even when others would encourage me to try it as a career.”

Yvonne decided in 2017 that she needed a fresh start. She moved from Germany to Barcelona to see what she could achieve. Since moving there, she says she’s met tons of creative people who have encouraged Yvonne to believe in herself and decided to study what she was truly passionate about.

“I’m currently working full time in the costume service for an outdoor sports brand as brand expert for apparel and gear. I am also studying part-time in design and pattern-making here in Barcelona. I am very interested in pattern-making and fashion history, but also costume making in general.”

A Photo of Yvonne Ryll

To complement her existing studies, Yvonne booked onto the Colour in Fashion Online Short Course after the short courses at UAL were recommended to her by her coordinator at school who thought they would be useful during summer vacation. Little did she know, she’d find herself with more time at home a lot sooner than she thought.

“Spain was badly hit at the start of the pandemic, so I decided that while I was stuck at home, I was going to learn something new and interesting! I really enjoyed my time on the short course  so I decided to book  onto the Fashion History: The Evolution of Style Online Short Course immediately afterwards.”

With her goal of making a lasting impact on society firmly in mind during her time on the short course, Tushti says she really enjoyed the intercultural exchange she had with the other students on the course who were all learning remotely from across the globe.

“The activities and assignments which were a part of the short courses pushed me to be innovative and think out of the box. Furthermore, discussions on future trends and various case studies intrigued and inspired me.”

Yvonne says being able to get a taster of what other industries within fashion business are like and how you can be a part of them was one of the key highlights of her short course experience.

Moodboard design for nautical themed clothing

“I learned so much on the colour in fashion short course. Things like the process and how everyone perceived colour differently was super interesting. I also learned just how technical this part of the industry really is and what considerations you need to make when working in this field,” Yvonne tells me.

While on her fashion history short course, Yvonne got a lot out of the research she needed to do for her presentation. More than that, she valued the tutor, Amber Butchart who she said was ‘just amazing.’

“Perhaps my favourite moment was when the tutor noticed by Pierrot costume that I made for Halloween in the background and told me how much she liked it!”

On the topic of tutors, Ona was most appreciative of just how established a lot of the course tutors were in their respective fields. Being a great source of inspiration, Ona says she was able to really relate to them and that one of the tutors she had has become a mentor to her since finishing the course.

Recently, I interned at a furnishing retail store where I practically implemented the skills I acquired during my short course

— Tushti Goyal

Upon reflection, Ona credits her two short courses for helping her thrive in her current career.

“If it wasn’t for the Buying and Merchandising Intensive Short Course, I would not have landed an internship so soon without this course and I would have had no context for the career ahead of me. It really improved my confidence studying and presenting with a group of totally different people totally different stages of their career.”

After completing the How to Start Your own Fashion Business Online Short Course, Ona is already seeing the benefits feed into her day-to-day work. “The course has already improved my product understanding and I am able to use it every day at work. I feel more secure with my input in collection development meetings, and I am also more impressive to designers, merchandisers and directors.”

An illustration of a clothing stand design in a retail store

With her aspirations to be an interior designer still at the forefront, Tushti says the course gave her a valuable insight and deeper understanding into the different elements of retail design, commercial design and general store layout. So much so, Tushti was able to transfer the skills she developed on the course into a real-world setting.

“Recently, I interned at a furnishing retail store where I practically implemented the skills I acquired during my short course. Moreover, it helped me to manage the store better and create an effective store layout and customer flow.”

Yvonne says she’s already recommended her close friends and family to consider doing a short course seeing as how beneficial it was for her. “I recommended the UAL short courses to several friends and even my sister!  It is a great investment in yourself and helps you to discover more aspects of your chosen field.”

“UAL offers so many courses,” Ona says. “Some of the courses crossover in content, so really make sure you’re choosing the right one for you and your goals.”

Tushti adds: “I would tell people to go for it if they’re thinking about doing a short course. There’s something for everyone at UAL!”


Like Ona said, we offer many courses all that touch on a range of subject areas. Whether it’s interior design, fashion business, graphic design, marketing or journalism and PR, we have a short course for you. Take a look at upcoming courses starting soon for more information on the course we are running in the coming months.

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