Durham University Theology and Religion student, Cressida Prentis talks us through her experience on the 5 Days of Fashion Journalism short course.
For a Second Year Theology and Religion student from Durham University, fashion journalism isn’t the obvious next step. But after following up a Facebook ad from Condé Nast College, I found the itinerary for their 5 Day Course increasingly hard to ignore. Three months later – there I was!
Arriving at Condé Nast College
I walked slowly along Bedford Square with my Longchamp handbag and my loafers, trying to look as though I was not every bit the country girl that I am. I was going for the Rimmel London Look, that effortless style channelled and achieved only by girls on Instagram Reels, Hailey Bieber, and the newest It-girl. If I wasn’t nervous, I was certainly apprehensive; the large black double-doors were locked and imposing. An enormous group of girls (and two boys) stood uneasily on the steps, forcing small-talk, each admiring and envying the other’s more fashionable outfit. It was a hive of designer handbags and earrings, a bizarre sort of ultra-trendy reverse prison. The doors clicked, and opened. 31 Bedford Square was revealed to us – big mirrors, framed and enlarged covers of Vogue running up the stairs, a clean, modern scent mingling with our own. My course-mate sighed and said casually “It’s just so Vogue”. There is no better way to describe it.
“It’s just so Vogue”
Of course, the apprehension melted. This was partly owing to the stifling heat (a September heatwave in London somehow managed to join my cohort at CNC), and partly owing to Paul Tierney. As our first course leader, Paul perhaps had the hardest job; we were all young, nervous, and very uncertain of our abilities and place in the industry. However, it’s hard not to be put at ease when a man has both been clubbing with Calvin Klein, and interviewed Taylor Swift. His professionalism oozed; used to relaxing celebrities in interviews in order to encourage them to spill their guts (thanks for the new album, Olivia Rodrigo), we must have been a piece of cake.
Browse & Book our ‘5 Days of’ Short Courses in Fashion
- 5 Days of Fashion Journalism
- 5 Days of Fashion Styling
- 5 Days of Fashion Business
- 5 Days of Creative Direction
Carrie Bradshaw once said that she used to buy Vogue instead of lunch because she felt it fed her more. If she had worked at Condé Nast even for a week she would never have been hungry. The publications, but more importantly the people behind them, are more full of wisdom than I had ever imagined. I was a blank canvas going into the week. I had never even considered how many times you need to see something on the catwalk before you can brand it a ‘trend’, nor how many months in advance a publication like Vogue must be completed (Christmas in July, anyone?).
I was equally clueless about London; in fact, following an intriguing morning learning about connecting to an audience through nostalgia, I hopped on the tube in my lunch hour in order to head to that afternoon’s activity – the Diva exhibition in the V&A. As it turns out, there are two V&As in London, and I’d hopped on the tube to the wrong one. So, instead of a leisurely lunch in South Kensington, I was stuck in 32 degree heat zooming steadfastly towards Bethnal Green. So much for my London Look. (When I eventually made it to the exhibition I was feeling far from Diva-like, but the sight of Elton John’s 50th birthday costume is enough to make anyone smile).
From Fashion News, Features, and trend forecasts, to Vogue House, beauty journalism, and creating a profile for your reader, the 5 Days of Fashion Journalism Course was everything I needed, and nothing I expected. It is a telescope into that far-off land of Fashion, and it left me desperate to set sail in the hope of reaching that land sometime soon. My knowledge of journalism has increased tenfold, my hatred of the Central Line even more so. But even my Tube-dramas cannot take away from the week itself. It was the most incredible week; it was just so Vogue.
Images and words by Cressida Prentis