If you follow me on my social medias, you already know, that I’ve been accepted to one of the most prestigious fashion universities in the world: University of the Arts London – London College of Fashion. Sounds scary? Well it was, but also not really. Why? Read on!
So I started thinking about fashion design schools when I was in high school. I looked up “best fashion schools in the world” in Google, just so I could dream a little. UAL was one of them and I researched their colleges and fashion design courses, and the thing I deduced from it was: getting in there is so hard. But that was from a teenager me perspective. I didn’t have any experience with sewing or fashion research, so how couldn’t it be scary. Little did I know about portfolios and sketchbooks. Very little.
When I enrolled into two year Textile Design course in Edinburgh, I started to gain the knowledge and skills set I needed to get into a good fashion school. I learned the basics of sewing, pattern cutting, Photoshop, life drawings, research, as well as sketchbook and portfolio development. I started to think about UAL again, after all – I had some portfolio. What I needed was determination, even more research on the school and bravery.
I applied to all the best fashion schools in London through UCAS.com. I was invited to interviews not long after. For an interview I had to bring my three full A3 or A2 sketchbooks (full of research, inspiration, ideas, drawings, design development and experimentation), portfolio (all the final products of projects presented aesthetically: life drawings, paintings, fashion garments, textile samples). I also needed to know a lot about the course I applied for, how to talk about my work properly and my own questions ready to ask the tutor.
What the interviews looked like is quite an experience. I went to three interviews and all of them were different. Here are my experiences (all of them of course in London):
Ravensbourne: Fashion interview
This was my first interview, so fifteen minutes before it, I looked at the building from outside and freaked out. “Wait. Why did I apply to such prestigious schools, this is too scary”. But I killed those thoughts, breathed in and headed to a war.
First we were given a digital presentation from the tutor about this course and were told to leave our portfolios. We progressed to go on a little tour of the school, which was super cool, because the building is very new and has an open plan interior.
Then we were left in a waiting room and waited for our name to be called for the actual interview.
I was called very much in the beginning and was interviewed by two lovely ladies. I was asked about my favourite designer, brand, artist and why I chose to apply there. Also what were my future plans. I got in!
Kingston University: Fashion Design interview
Similarly, we were given a tour, a free snack (yay!) and waited to be called. I was one of the last four people to be called. It was a group interview, which I found super intimidating. I also haven’t eaten in hours so was pretty tired of everything (note that to all this interviews I had to travel alone in the early morning from Edinburgh to London and then come back by plane the same day). By the time I was told to present my one project (no questions about my favourite designer or plans), I was so emotionally wrecked that I did it terribly. It was one of the most stressful experiences. I didn’t get in.
London College of Fashion: Fashion Design and Development (changed to Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear during interview)
This was the dreamiest of the dream. The interview was almost too good to be true. But it didn’t start that way. I left Edinburgh during that day in the morning by train to go to London. While I was in a train, something happened with the wires on railway and the train was late 3 hours. Yes. 3 hours. And guess how late was I to the interview? 2 hours late. I called the school while it was happening to explain that I have an interview and my train has some wires difficulties and I will be late 2 hours. They understood that I had absolutely no control over this and they accepted that. When I finally arrived, I was very stressed. I was greeted by kind tutor who asked me to show my portfolio. He looked at every page of my sketchbook (no rush), which was amazing. I could talk about my work comfortably, I talked about my inspirations, my way of designing. My favourite places (we talked about Tokyo as we both visited it). It was as If I was talking to my friend. I could share my passions with him and he was truly interested and engaged. We was very nice and asked great questions. Towards the end of this interview, the tutor said that because I’m more expressive then he though based on my mini online portfolio, he will offer me a place for more artistic course, hence I got into LCF for Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear. I left speechless and so freaking happy. I kept thinking: “I can’t believe it! Someone pinch me”. This was the feeling of dreams coming true.
So what will you need to make it to a great fashion school?
Hell a lot of bravery. Believe in your art, yourself. You have to be sure you want it, otherwise it’s not worth the emotional wreckage and stress. You will have to know how to talk about yourself in a confident way, how to travel alone and be independent, how to organise time so all the sketchbooks and portfolios are ready in time. You will need to be creative and playful with your work. And you will have to visualise this dream every day. Ok, so this is pretty hard, right? Well, it’s not that hard if you really really really want it. When you want something, you are going to get it. There is nothing stopping you. Why would anyone stop you? You are going for it like a fireball!