Brett Russell: I would never have had this life and career without Condé Nast College

Brett Russell, Fashion Photographer, Condé Nast College alumni

To celebrate a decade of Condé Nast College, we catch up with some of our most esteemed alumni to see where their careers have taken them since their time at Condé Nast College. 

Brett Russell – Fashion & Beauty Photographer


The roll call of people photographer, Brett Russell, has worked with, reads like a Who’s Who of the fashion industry.  Titles such as Vogue and Glamour, alongside brands like Balmain and Vivienne Westwood, have all featured in his work history over the past decade.  But when Brett came to study at Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design in London in 2013-2014, it was a leap in the unknown. The College had only been open for a year and had no track record, but Brett took the gamble.


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“I knew I wanted to get into the fashion media industry and having looked around I saw there was no other course like it, and no other school like it, so it was really exciting.  The College looked great; everything was shiny and new and so I signed up for the Vogue Fashion Foundation course, and I’ve certainly never regretted it.” Says Brett on his decision to study with Condé Nast College. 


Starting at Condé Nast College


Brett remembers his first day, being greeted with beaming smiles at reception, and taking part in an exercise with students from all the courses, where everyone had thirty seconds to introduce themselves.  

“It was a bit like we were all thrown into speed dating,” he laughs, “but it really worked.  Right away, everyone was mingling and chatting and sharing how excited they were to be there.  It was really lovely and it made for a great first day.”

Brett says that after graduating, time-after-time, the relationships he forged at the College have helped him get to that next step up on the career ladder.


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Making connections in the fashion industry


“After graduating, I had an internship at a photography, stylist, makeup artist management company, for a few months, doing things like updating photographers’ portfolios and a lot of back-end things on the website.  And just as that was coming to an end, a girl I went to Condé Nast College with was working at Glamour magazine and sent me a message saying Condé Nast’s in-house photography studio wanted an intern for a month to do some retouching.  I went on to meet the people there and slotted right in just as the first internship finished it aligned perfectly.  This is why I always say my career would never have taken the path that it has without going to Condé Nast College.”


On the last day of the second internship, Brett was introduced to the Creative Director for GQ Magazine, Paul Solomons, and landed another three months work there.  He moved on to becoming a photography assistant with the legendary Jody Todd, who he’d also met through working at Condé Nast’s studio.  Since then, he’s embarked on a successful career as a freelance photographer, and at the time of writing, lives between London and Ibiza and has just come back from Paris Fashion Week, where he has been shooting backstage imagery for Sam McKnight, Princess Diana’s (and many others) acclaimed hair stylist, and the man with more Vogue covers around the world than anyone else.


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The Condé Nast College Family


He says he still bumps into people he was at College with at events all over the world.

“We bump into each other backstage at places like Fashion Week all the time, and it’s always great to catch up. It’s like a lovely family.  The College has opened so many doors for me, and every time you cross paths with someone else who went there, there’s the chance that another door is about to open right in front of you, or that you could open one for them.”

And Brett is busy passing it on having recently recommended the College to a family friend who is a model, and who has herself just enrolled on a course.  “She’s brilliant and she’s really excited and is loving it, just like I did, which is great.  History’s repeating itself, in the best possible way.”