Sunday, 11 September 2016

The Fashion Journalism Personal Statement

I knew the minute I found out I got into London College of Fashion that I wanted to share my new experiences with you all; if I was enjoying my course, what is LCF like, was university everything I expected? But today I'm taking it back to the beginning. September is the time university hopefuls will be anxiously drafting up personal statements and tapping in UCAS details. So, if you're thinking about a career in fashion journalism, or at least wishing to study it at degree level, and have no idea what to put into your personal statement, I'm here to help. Of course, I'm absolutely in no way an expert, but I did work extremely hard on my statement and it was my golden ticket for an interview at LCF. Thus, I'd like to think I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve on how to bag an interview for yourself. Let's get stuck in...

University of the Arts is the top school for studying fashion in the UK, although University for the Creative Arts in Farnham is a close second. I never applied to the latter, so this post is a little biased as I am directly referring to what London College of Fashion specifically want from a statement. That said, hopefully this post will be helpful to those of you not applying to these two unis, and if you're an international reader.

Where to begin?

An administrator will be reading hundreds of statements per day, so yours desperately needs to stand out from the crowd.

I would recommend beginning your statement with something personal. I commenced mine with how I first became interested in fashion, throwing in a few witty lines or two commenting on my younger self's obsession for pink glittery shoes. This will immediately give the administrator an understanding of who you are and if your interest in fashion is genuine. It may also be a good idea to write a little about why you want to enter the Fashion Journo field - do you like writing? Do you have a blog? Is collecting magazines a hobby?

Keep this paragraph short, snappy and interesting.

The main body

In all honesty, it's entirely up to you where you go next. Personally. I went on to dedicate a whole paragraph about my blog. For example, I wrote what I feature, its target audience and my aims, values and goals. This gave a greater insight into my personality and my keen interest in fashion writing.

In another paragraph, I wrote what fashion meant to me on a personal level - i.e, it expresses something intrinsically personal, it's an art form and communicates an individual's identity. After, I spoke about my favourite publication on the market, Porter Magazine, and why I liked its encouragement of sophisticated women from all ethnicities to be strong, independent individuals.

A small paragraph dedicated to my academics soon followed (more on this later), in addition to some achievements and activities such as entering the Vogue Writer's Contest and conducting my school's annual fashion show.

The Finishing Line

Ending your statement is just like the beginning - it needs to be strong and sharp so that it leaves a lasting impression. I would recommend stating why you want to attend university as a whole and what skills you think it will offer you.

Below is the last line of my personal statement. I'm hoping this may inspire you to think about how you want to finish yours as it is probably the most important part.

"My overall aspiration is to graduate from University possessing a strong set of skills, a critical mindset and an appreciation for ethics in order to operate effectively as a fashion journalist."

The do's and don'ts of a Fashion Journo statement (according to London College of Fashion):

These were taken directly from the course leader at LCF during an Open Day, these aren't based on my opinion.

  1. Show you have a curious mindset and you're keen to learn and discover
  2. Express a genuine interest in fashion and writing
  3. Show you understand that fashion isn't just twice-yearly catwalks and designer labels
  4. Sound interesting and intriguing...this is no time to be shy!
  5. Be witty and strong. This is the perfect chance to showcase your writing style.
  6. Talk about your favourite aspect of fash journo - magazines? E-commerce? Blogs? Social media?
  7. Take advantage of anyone around to help. Hand this statement in to your teachers, parents, siblings, friends, work colleagues etc. 
  8. Share your personality and flair to show individuality.
  1. Use any quotes!
  2. Write too much about grades. LCF, in particular, make it clear they look mostly at how creative candidates are and how much they love fashion. They also made it clear that they already know what you study in English Lit or Textiles so there's no need to write the content of each course or what skills they taught you. That said, I think it's a good idea just to write a tiny amount on why you enjoyed those subjects.
  3. Talk about obvious designers. Everyone loves Chanel, Dior, Prada and so on. Show your fashion flair by choosing someone off the beaten track. Though, don't just choose anyone, pick someone you genuinely like. 
  4. Explain too much. Keep it witty, short and sharp to maintain interest.
  5. Say you love shopping. It's just a big no-no.

And there you have it!

I really hope this helps. If you have any more questions feel free to email me or drop a comment in the box below.

Good luck!

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