Thursday, 29 September 2016

A Summary Of My University Projects

I know I talked you through my third year in detail on my blog before but I haven't really talked about any of my other projects ever. As you all seemed so interested I thought I would do a summary of my projects and a bit about what I learnt during each one.
Overall my course combined fashion interest with business and management skills while taking a creative approach and acquiring an understanding of the fashion industry.

First Year

Before we started as a summer project we were asked to create three moodboards on the upcoming trends for the season. This prepared us for our first project which I have summarised under 'Photography' although that isn't the official name. We selected one of the trends we had identified, I obviously opted for the pale pink trend at the time, this was when almost every blogger picked up that pink Zara coat (myself included) and then decided to focus on Zara as my brand of choice. I had to do research in to photographers, the brand, the trend and how I planned to market it for them. After creating detailed story boards, outfit/make-up/hair/location planning, we then had to go and put this in to practice. My story was called "Sweet Dark Reflections" which was inspired by the sweet and dark side of my trend 'Rosy Glow'. Oh how I've come along since this project! I have to admit I did a good job of emulating the web design to show my layout.

Moving on, we had to understand the seven principals of marketing to develop an idea for a specific sector of the fashion market tailored to a social media concept. This was a truly exciting project with a real focus on the new digital side to the fashion industry. Again with freedom of choice on a brand this time I went for River Island! I came up with a social campaign which was held across Twitter and Instagram with a simple use of alliteration of the 'R'. For each season I had my on hashtag such as #RudolfWithRi for christmas, #RomanceWithRi for valentines, #RevampWithRi for spring clean and #RaysWithRi for summer. This was way before #ImWearingRi too so I was basically a mind reader!

Buying And Merchandising
Next up, Buying and the other part that shall not be named. This was so much maths I couldn't believe it, we had to do a range plan, discuss sizing and also stock control. So this was a lot more than just developing a range for a high street retailer taking into account catwalk trends, their consumer, colour palettes and sourcing. This time everyone had to do George as they work closely alongside many fashion courses and sponsor things like Graduate Fashion Week so it's encouraged for us all to have one project tailored to them. I focussed on knitwear for my range and I created 6 jumpers (8 including the other colour ways) all suitable to the brand, consumer and fashion at the time.

During my course there was two scheduled slots allowing us to go on placement in industry to help aid our learning. My first was as a Buyers Admin Assistant at New Look HQ in London and my second as a Online Content Editor's Assistant at Primark Head Office in Reading. Both had to be documented in different ways so for my first I did an online journal using word-press writing up what I did each day and reflecting on the experience. My second placement I opted for a magazine format as I thought this reflected the role in terms of presentation, this I did a number of different articles such as what I wore, desk essentials and an interview with the team to make it interesting as well as informative.

Some of which I transferred to my blog for my #InternSeries: 
 Second Year

Visual Merchandising
By this time I was completely settled in to my work flow and after a summer break was ready to start back with a bunch of fresh ideas. This was my first group project which involved designing a window concept for a retailer using CAD (computer aided design), taking into consideration catwalk trends, a theme, the consumer and the brand. We all had to do our own individual small concepts which I did on Whistles and based my window and in-store display on Marc Jacobs carousel set design. We then had to pitch these to our group and decide on one or mix our ideas together to create something unique, the latter being what we did. We chose to represent Phillip Lim as none of us had done anything luxury at this point and after looking at his collection which was inspired by natural disasters we went for an aquatic theme. We learnt how to build outfits and became very knowledgeable in the adobe suite particularly in photoshop and indesign to create the mock-ups.

This was a much shorter project, still in the same group. This was more about educating us on the effects of fashion watching documentaries about sweatshops, underpaid workers, unstable working environments, pollution, animal testing... the list goes on. We had to create a pinterest board showing what we'd learnt and suggest ways to combat each issue. As a group we had to create an emotive video campaign to encourage others to think before they buy or more importantly where they buy from.

Trends Forecasting
This hands down was my favourite project during my time at university. We were forecasting a trend by summarising the zeitgeist within ten key drivers and applying this into a product for a future market. I focused my project on the re-branding the word “feminist” as more are people began joining the movement and any negative connotations from the past are forgotten. I spoke about my tribe the 'gentlewomen' who are strong, powerful and proud to be who they are. They are comfortable in their own skin and highly successful in what they do. Not only do they have a high status in their job but they can multi-task often having to juggle other priorities into the mix such as additional outside roles or a family. This project enabled me to gain an understanding of forecasting techniques and how to apply them. The 'GraceFULL' trend captures the essence of the future that will have resonance and timely impact. The project explored observational skills, ability to research, analyse, interpret, visualise and communicate ideas. 

Events Management 
 It wasn't long until we were back to group work but this time far more professional as we were branded a non-profit organisation made up of 7 ambitious females. We had to come up with an event idea, raise money to use as our budget and then put it all in to action, a real life event yikes! It was as daunting as it sounds, you can imagine the looks on our faces when we had so little time and so much to do. In the end our event was for graduates moving into the world of work, including drinks on arrival, time for socialising and networking, a catwalk with styling advice, a panel discussion and Q&A raising money for a charity of our choice.

I did a blog post a while back so you can read up on it in more detail here:
Sexism In The City

International Retailing
I wanted to do something completely out of my comfort zone that would show my versatility so I chose the brand 'Goodhood' which are based in Shoreditch and they have a really alternative appearance. The aim of the project was to take a business and place it in another country that it did not exist and prove why this venture would be achievable and how it would work. We had to discuss the brand, the consumer, profit and loss, reasons for going international, how we would break in to a new environment etc. For this you can probably see above my big A3 book, this was instead of a presentation, I told it a storybook format just to make it slightly different to everyone else. Alongside it I did an in-depth business report on the company and discussed the strategy further in a more formal way.
Third Year

And my last year I won't go into too much detail here as I have so many posts on here about it already. 

I think you all know what a dissertation is by now but nonetheless it's comprehensive document on a topic of your choice, obviously somehow relevant to your degree. I did mine on ‘how does racial representation of models in the fashion industry affect the female beauty ideal?’ as it's something I feel very passionate about. This involved critical thinking using practical techniques such as interviews, theory and practice of independent study and synthesised reflection of results.

Follow my journey here:
Brain Storming Dissertation IdeasDissertation ProposalFirst Draft | Mid DissertationThe End Of My Dissertation Journey

By this point I had become very confident with standing up and presenting, which I don't think I need to point out is a great skill to have. We had to come up with an idea to solve one of the issues highlighted through our research. So I came up with 'FriendShop' an interactive website which brings a more personal and realistic feel to online shopping. By using the downloadable button you can add things to your boards for different occasions (e.g wedding, night out, weekend away) with your friends, family or partner where you can help each other decide by voting through the poll of Buy It! Maybe... or Back On The Rail. With the group chat you can discuss your options as if you were in a virtual changing room. Basically shifting towards a more inclusive fashion industry as well as taking in to account my love for personal style.

Here are: 5 Tips On Creating A Killer Pitch

Final Major Project
Then we had the big one, with the highest amount of weighting. For this I came up with the idea of 'Powher' an online destination to discover more about an influential females career, success and lifestyle on a weekly basis. Completing a full business plan, research booklet, brand identity booklet, full web design with three women summed up in to a total of five articles each and marketing strategy. This pushed me both mentally and physically! I definitely took on a lot but I like a challenge and what is uni without a little bit of stress anyway? 

Related Posts: How To Write A Successful Business Plan | Final Major Project, Career Options

Self Promotion
My final project was really just getting us ready for the world of work. We went over our CV's and got our work ready and prepared to show at Graduate Fashion Week. For this we prepared all work for a online digital format which you can view mine here although my portfolio link is now restricted. It was nice to end on something with little stress which meant we could relax and enjoy our last few days with friends and flat mates.

I actually really enjoyed this I hope you can see how much my work and I have improved across the three years and it will hopefully give you an indication of what's in store if you are doing a similar course!


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