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Sydney Brown: LCF Fashion Product Design Semester


Written by
Claudia Scavuzzo
Published date
13 July 2023

Sydney Brown is a junior at North Carolina State University, US. She joined the London College of Fashion semester Study Abroad on the Fashion Product Design course.

How was studying abroad in London? What is your favourite thing about the city? 

Studying abroad in London was more amazing than I ever could have imagined! Sure, it took some time to adjust to city life after living in a relatively small town for most of my life, but it wasn’t too long before I had fallen in love with London. I really liked being able to walk to places and taking public transport (both of which are not an option where I live back home). My favourite thing about London is how it seems like there’s always something new to do: an interesting exhibit, a quirky cocktail bar, a vintage market full of amazing finds, or just an area that you haven’t seen yet. Even after being there for the semester there were still so many things on my “list” that I didn’t get to do, but I’m just taking that as a reason to come back.

What is your favourite memory of studying abroad?

It’s hard to choose, but I think one of my favourite study abroad memories was probably when my group of friends and I decided at the last minute to go to a “secret” jazz club. We had no idea what to expect and it was cash only (which we weren’t prepared for), but it ended up being one of the best nights I had in London. From the outside, you never would have known that there was such amazing music happening down below. In the small, dimly lit room of the club, we got to catch the tail-end of an unassuming yet amazing jazz set. It wasn’t super flashy, and the place didn’t even have a stage, but it was such a cool experience to see the whole place come alive with everyone singing and dancing along. It became a night that I wished would never end as well as one that I won’t forget.

What did you enjoy about your classes?

I enjoyed how hands-on most of my classes were. For the required units such as Fashion History and Artefact and British Cultural Studies, we went on walks and visits that I always looked forward to each week. They helped us to really understand the history of different areas of London and engage with the topic we were learning about that week. I saw places in London that I might not have known to visit otherwise and was left knowing more about fashion history and British history than ever before.

Can you tell us about a project you were particularly excited about?

I was really excited about taking corsetry at UAL. I didn’t get into the class at first, but I felt really strongly about it, so I kept pursuing it until a spot became available and I’m really glad that I didn’t give up on it. Making a proper corset was something that I’d always wanted to do, but it just seemed daunting to figure out on my own. Over the course of the class, I learned step-by-step how to make a custom fit Victorian-era corset. It took a lot of trials, fittings, and careful sewing but I am really proud of the end result, and I now have a beautiful corset to show from my studies in London!

Why did you choose UAL Study Abroad?

I chose UAL because I really enjoyed London when I visited it in the past. The city is so beautiful and has so many different areas to explore. Plus, UAL is so highly esteemed in the fashion industry, so I was really excited by the idea of being a part of their program.

How do you think your study abroad experience will help you with your future endeavours?  

Living in London was such a valuable experience and I feel like it helped me gain some perspective. Study abroad provided a platform to learn new things personally and academically, as well as establish an even greater level of independence than ever before. My time abroad served as a huge source of creative inspiration and allowed me to get a glimpse into areas of the fashion industry that I may want to explore later on such as styling or costuming. I’m also very grateful for the connections I made, whether that be tutors, friends, or other creatives.

What is the most valuable thing you learnt from the experience?

I definitely learned that it’s important to make the most of the time you have and not take it for granted. The idea of a whole semester in London seems like you have all the time in the world, but it’s true that time flies by when you’re having fun.

Is there anything you want to share with future study abroad students/ future applicants?

Just go for it! The steps it takes to get there may seem daunting, but it is worth it in the end. I was the only person from my university studying in London this past semester, and the thought of going abroad not knowing anyone was a bit scary at first. I chose to let it be an opportunity for independence, a personal challenge to try something on my own, and I’m glad I did. It turns out that a lot of other people were looking to make friends too and I ended up meeting a group within the first week that I became great friends with. We still keep in touch even after the programme. It’s easier said than done, but just don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. London has something for everyone so take that leap and see what it has in store for you!

Would you recommend the experience at UAL?

Yes, 100% I would! My home university doesn’t promote this program as much as others, but I’m hoping I can change that and let others know about the amazing experience I had with UAL and the city of London as a whole.

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