Having recently completed the Vogue Fashion Certificate Course at Condé Nast College of Fashion, Brazilian born designer, Carolina Xavier writes about coming to London, making lifelong friends, furthering her fashion line, and why she chose to take 10 weeks out of her busy schedule to study at CNC London.
In 2016 I started my own brand, which goes by my name ‘Carolina Xavier’. I was designing patterns and got called in for a meeting with a buyer, Solange, from DFP - Duty Free Partners in Miami. She asked me to come in and design a collection of patterns to be applied on a travel retail product line. Later, I expanded my product range into fashion. I was selling products in Atelier Daniella Martins, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and given the success - I decided to open an e-commerce shop.
Why the Vogue Fashion Certificate Course
The truth is that while I was running it, I realised that I needed more knowledge on how to run my business, how to market it and to simply expand my knowledge of the fashion industry before getting deeper into it. When I looked at the Condé Nast Vogue Fashion Certificate program, I realised this 10-week intensive course was exactly what I needed, particularly for the Fashion Marketing portion of it.
I really needed help developing a marketing strategy and business plan for my brand and it sounded like the course would cover a lot of what I was interested in. The rest of the program also sounded appealing to me, as I could not think of a better place to be introduced to Fashion Media than Condé Nast, and the Visual Communications class excited me since I am a designer and could use a fresh perspective on how to design for Fashion magazines. Condé Nast also offered guest lecturers from the industry every week which was a great opportunity to learn, make contacts and be involved.
Since I wanted to experiment the Fashion Industry and acquire knowledge specific to my business, I ended up opting for the Vogue Fashion Certificate course because it is a shorter, intensive course, that was capable of providing me with what I needed without having to make a long-term commitment. That was important for me because I did want to focus on my business as well. During the college interview, the interviewer did reassure me that there were options for me to further my knowledge after the course, for example an MA, in the event that I wanted to continue studying the topics in more depth. I enrolled with an open mind to meet people, learn and embrace the Fashion Media industry on all its levels.
The Atmosphere at CNC London
Wow. My first impressions could have not been better. The first day we were already granted with an incredible opportunity: a talk with the iconic Val Garland. I knew I was off to a great start. The staff and professors were all incredibly helpful in making us feel welcomed. The school in itself is a small, beautiful, modern building, with state of the art facilities. You feel as if you are studying at Vogue - and yes, they have the most incredible Vogue archive you can think of! The fact that it’s not too big, enhances the sense of community. It is easy to meet people and to feel at home. You really get the sense that you are part of something special. Plus, I must mention the location could not be better - right in the heart of Soho!
I could have not been luckier with the mix of students on my course. Everybody was extremely nice, and I feel like we all had something to add up to each other. We became a big group of close friends, who enjoyed being in each other’s company and share our passion for the industry. We were also a very international group and we had people from all different parts of the world who brought in new visions and experiences. Being relatively new to London, it was a great place to make friends that I know I will have for life.
Industry Speakers at Condé Nast College
I found it so incredible that we were able to hear from people who are incredibly talented and great at what they do in one of the most influential industries out there. These are hardworking, creative people, who come from all different backgrounds and the fact that they are willing to share with us their experiences and advices on how to succeed in this business is amazing. Condé Nast College contacts definitely shows when we see the industry speakers that are coming to talk with us. It is also a nice mix of people - from the ones who are at the very top of their career to the ones who are building theirs - and they have very different job roles which gives us a range of perspective on the possibilities that are available for us to explore once we venture ourselves into the business world.
After the Course…
The course really helped me refine my vision for my business. As I started my marketing research throughout the second part of the course, I realised there were many areas for improvement for my business. I needed a concrete and better plan and marketing strategy. The classes definitely assisted me on figuring out the best way to go about it, thinking critically and coming up with a sustainable feasible strategy that I could execute straight away. The lecturers were very supportive of assisting me and providing me with feedback. I also feel that I now have a much clearer and educated view of the Fashion Industry which is essential for the type of business I am running.
Find out more about the Vogue Fashion Certificate course