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Understanding the business side of fashion with short courses

A trend board of ideas by Jane Dark for the concept of Extreme Living
  • Written byYusuf Tamanna
  • Published date30 July 2021
A trend board of ideas by Jane Dark for the concept of Extreme Living

Prior to her short course experience, Gaia Lorenzoni’s background was in languages where she has both a BA and MA in the field. Despite her clear interest in linguistics, Gaia admits that she’s always had a real passion for luxury fashion.

“I have always had a passion for fashion broadly speaking. Recently, I have developed an interest particularly in fashion illustration and design thanks to books by Megan Hess. She is an artist, author and creator. She sketches for the most renowned luxury fashion houses in the world,” Gaia explains.

Based in London for the past 5 years and currently working as a Senior Project and Quality Assurance Manager, Gaia was able to feed both her interest and  love of fashion by attending two short courses. The first was in 2019 when she attended the Fashion Design Short Course on campus at London College of Fashion. Then shortly after that in June 2020, Gaia continued her short course journey with the Luxury Brand Management Online Short Course.

A photo of Gaia Lorenzoni

While Gaia saw short courses as an entry point into fashion, Fashion Design graduate Jane Dark looked to short courses to up-skill and boost her already impressive skillset in fashion design.

After graduating in 2019 from Nottingham Trent University, Jane moved to Stockholm where she started working as a Design Assistant for H&M Kids.

“Working for H&M helped me develop a lot with my design skills, especially for Kidswear. This experience also developed my knowledge of the fashion industry on a global scale. Working as part of a global team and company really opened my eyes to design possibilities and pushed me as a designer to be innovative and forward thinking.”

But when the Covid-19 pandemic started in early 2020, Jane had to leave her life in Stockholm and working for H&M Kids to relocate back home with her family during lockdown. With her newfound downtime, Jane decided to make the best of an unfortunate situation and found a way she could help put her fashion skills into practice while also helping others stay safe during the pandemic.

Black and White Photo of Jane Dark

“I decided to set up a small business called Project Mask. I started with just making a couple masks and posting them on Depop with some funky branding then within a couple of days I was getting large amounts of orders and was making 30-50 masks a day, packaging them and sending them all over the UK,” Jane tells me.

Amidst all of this, Jane decided to study the Fashion Trend Forecasting Online Short Course with London College of Fashion. Speaking about her reasons for doing this course in particular, Jane said: “I have always had an interest in trend and my favourite part of the design process is the initial research and seeking inspiration for collections. I saw this course and thought it would be the perfect way to develop my interest into a new passion and gain a base of knowledge which I could use in industry.”

When asked how she found her two short courses, Gaia tells me they were both “extremely inspiring”. She continues, "The Fashion Design short course gave me the tools to design my own print and I had my own skirt made from it. Meanwhile the Luxury Brand Management short course gave me the chance to better understand the world of luxury goods and the luxury customer's perspective.”

A collage of work produced by Jane Dark

Sketches by Gaia Lorenzoni of a different styles of the same dress

Gaia also credits the tutors she had on both courses as they were both super knowledgeable about their crafts and extremely helpful to Gaia when developing her new set of skills. The short courses also provided Gaia a break from her usual day to day routine and gave her a space where she could just be creative.

“I really enjoyed having the chance to focus on something more artistic than what I do in my daily life. It truly was my favourite experience while studying at LCF. It really helped unwind and develop a more creative side.”

Likewise, Jane thoroughly enjoyed her short course experience particularly when she had the chance to create her own macro trend board and share this with the rest of her peers on the course.

“I really enjoyed learning about what work goes behind the final images and colour selection of a trend, the range of different areas that you can research to find inspiration from is so large and this is what makes a solid and in-depth trend. With this new knowledge I was able to create my own trends from researching technology, science, gaming and current events. My Macro Trend was inspired by a dystopian future which is heavily influenced by modern gaming. These games take you to a dark reality of what the world could be.”

Attending a short course is a valuable experience that I would happily repeat anytime

— Gaia Lorenzoni

Jane adds that modern gaming not only influenced her trend ideas but it’s also beginning to reflect the ever-changing world we live in. With humans facing natural disasters and pandemics, Jane believes humans feel the need more than ever to protect themselves. As such, designing clothes made for survival, influenced by existing utility wear were key to Jane’s research.

Additionally, Jane says thanks to all that she learned on the short course, it’s even given her the idea of potentially working in a different facet of the fashion industry than she was before.

“This course taught me how trend forecasting works in industry and has given me a set of skills to be able to research trend in a professional way and to meet industry standard. I now find myself not only searching for design opportunities in the industry, but also opportunities in trend as I am hugely passionate about it, especially after taking this course.”

At the time we spoke, Jane said she was working part-time at a local farm shop but outside of this she is working behind the scenes on developing her own kidswear brand.

A sketch based on a simple colour palette drawn by Gaia Lorenzoni

A trend board of ideas by Jane Dark for the concept of Dystopia

“I’m developing my portfolio for industry and generating my own kidswear brand in my spare time called REWIND KIDS. This is inspired by my nursery book from 1999 where I am recreating my art and scribbles into updated prints for kids clothing. I hope to soon find myself back in the fashion industry designing and researching for global companies!”

Gaia says the short courses have helped her personal development, especially as she was able to create her own skirt off the back of doing the short course – an experience she says was extremely rewarding.

Given her fruitful experience, Gaia is more than happy to recommend the benefits of short courses. “Attending a short course is a valuable experience that I would happily repeat anytime. They are designed in a way that really makes you develop and master your skills.”

“I am really grateful that I had the chance to attend my two short courses. They made me realise how important it is to cultivate your interests and passions. They should never be left behind. They define who we are.”

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If you need some guidance on how to break into the fashion industry, read our How to start a career in fashion article for a full breakdown of what you need to consider and how to get started.

Find out more about how a short course can help kickstart your creative journey or update your existing skills by visiting our Upcoming Short Courses  information page on our website. Here, you’ll find all the short courses we’re running in the coming months.

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