Student, Paula Becerra fills us in on her time studying the 10-week Vogue Fashion Certificate course and gives us an insight into what she learned and what it was like to study in the heart of London with the Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design.
Studying on the Vogue Fashion Certificate
Having completed her degree, Paula, from Miami, was in pursuit of learning more about fashion before embarking on a Masters in Luxury Brand Management, so she booked her slot on our October Vogue Fashion Certificate in 2019 and hopped on a flight to London. Here, she fills us in on how the rest unfolded and what she learned on the 10-week intensive fashion communication course…
How did you find out about the Vogue Fashion Certificate course?
After interning with Salvatore Ferragamo Parfums S.p.A I fell in love with luxury fashion business and I wanted to further my studies in the industry. I was an undergraduate student studying International Finance and Marketing at the time, and I felt that to take on the fashion industry and its business, I’d need some education in that space as well. I started looking for programs I could be a part of upon graduating and was lucky enough to stumble upon Condé Nast College and the Vogue Fashion Certificate. In May 2019 I graduated, got my Bachelor’s degrees, and started at CNC in October!
What appealed to you about it personally?
What caught my attention from the moment I found it was that not only was it located in a global fashion capital, but it was Condé Nast’s college – the global mass media company, home of some of the biggest publications in the world. Who better to learn fashion business from? They do business with brands on a daily basis, not to mention, have been around almost as long as some of the most renowned heritage brands in the luxury fashion industry. The connections, insights, and anecdotes they must have – I thought. Conde Nast College seemed like an amazing opportunity and I wasn’t wrong. The industry speakers, guest lecturers, the exhibitions, etc. The whole experience felt like an insider’s look into the fashion industry.
What were your first impressions of the College?
Overwhelming but exciting. Like anyone’s first day of class, you go through what you’ll be doing during the entire program and what you’ll be able to accomplish at the end of it and it all seems like too much. It was a whirlwind of information but who wouldn’t be excited about photoshoots, visiting Condé Nast, creating your own issue of Vogue, and building a portfolio with the help of the industry’s best, ALL in a matter of weeks?
Had you been to London before or was this your first time?
It was my second time in London but it felt like the first. You can go on as many Big Bus tours as you want, but you’ll never get to see London the way we got to see it during my time at CNC. We got to live and breathe London culture – we had to observe it and study it in fact. We got to go to museums, experience Soho every day, and explore such a global city while we went to class in the middle of it all.
What did you learn from the Vogue Fashion Certificate course?
A couple of things:
To be open to anything and everything in the fashion industry. There’s so much to the world of fashion that you’d be surprised what role you get thrown in and end up liking. I walked in thinking my interests were just luxury fashion marketing and I’d gravitate towards those roles/tasks most, but at the end of the programme, I’d tried styling, trend forecasting, graphic designing, copywriting, PR event planning, even hand modeling, and not to mention taking on an Editor in Chief role during the production of a magazine.
No matter what their job description is, everyone has something they can teach you. Kind of going off of my last point, everyone has had different experiences that more often than not stretch out further than their current job description, especially in the fashion industry. So, if someone has experience in the industry and is willing to share some knowledge with you, no matter if their job description applies to what you’re pursuing, there’s something you can learn from them, guaranteed.
I also learned that fashion isn’t an isolated phenomenon, it’s triggered and impacted by context. It’s one of the first things I put down in my notes when the program began and something we saw and studied every day. It’s something I’ve seen every day since, quite frankly.
What was the most enjoyable aspect of this short fashion course?
The bigger projects where we [were] really put to test, [and] what we learned throughout the process were my favourite. Also, Fridays were my favorite days as we’d get to spend the entire day with an industry expert where they’d teach us their craft/about their industry while also providing a space for us to ask questions and learn what we were curious about. Getting someone from the industry to sit down with you, teach you, and answer your questions is truly a luxury you don’t get every day.
What do you wish you’d brought with you that you didn’t and what was the handiest thing you brought with you?
What I wish I’d brought: Thicker scarves. Mine were never warm enough. Apparently I brought too many “summer scarves” but, seeing as I’m from Miami, summer and scarves don’t go together and their association is a foreign concept to me.
The handiest thing I brought: A mini umbrella. Living in Miami you get used to abrupt thunderstorms that last three minutes amid sunny days. Going to a university that required a lot of outdoor walking got me into the habit of having a mini umbrella in my bag and I brought it with me to London. Somehow living in Miami made me simultaneously the most prepared and unprepared for London weather.
What advice would you give to anyone considering the Vogue Fashion Certificate and for studying at the Condé Nast College?
As cliché as this is: you get out what you put in, so give it your all. As overused as that saying is, I don’t believe there’s one more suitable. This course and studying at CNC are what you make of it and the resources are there for you to make your experience at Condé Nast College one to never forget and to propel you to your next step/chapter in life. Connect with your classmates, ask questions, take advantage of the experienced faculty and staff that you have at your disposal, and say yes to opportunities that arise. The number of industry guests that would visit, exclusive events you could get access to, tickets offered, invitations to events, notifications of new exhibits, etc. were endless! They’re there for you to take advantage of if you want to. But you can also miss out on great opportunities if you don’t.
Our next Vogue Fashion Certificate course starts on 25th April 2022.
With thanks to Paula Becerra
Images by Paula Becerra