Class of 2019 alumni Oriana Findlay shares her experience on the MA Fashion Media Practice course, specialised in Fashion Journalism reflecting on her studies and life after graduation. Looking to get ahead in the fashion industry and further your studies? Find out more by reading Oriana’s Condé Nast College Masters course review below…
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
I’m a blogger and originally from Lusaka, Zambia and I’ve lived in London for the past five years. I studied Religion and Politics before I went into fashion and I studied the first Masters at the college which at the time was called MA Fashion Media Practice, specialised in Fashion Journalism.
What initially drew you to college and what stood out to you about the course?
I think it was definitely the Condé Nast name. I’ve always been obsessed with titles like Vogue and Glamour and what they represent. It wasn’t originally my plan to go into fashion journalism. I did a generic search on the internet and it came up and the brand drew me in. I had no idea that such a huge media giant had a university. Also, the fact that the cohort for each course are so small was important to me and allowed for a lot of one-on-one. I knew that wasn’t the type of experience I was going to get in a bigger institution.
How did you find the transition from your undergraduate studies to Masters level?
I think it was easier than I thought. If you’ve done any undergraduate degree or training, you’re most likely going to be ready for the things expected of you at Masters level. Obviously the content we learnt was different and everyone gets presented with challenges throughout but I didn’t find the transition too bad. If you love fashion, I don’t think there’s going to be a problem with that.
How did you find the course? Were there any standout moments?
There were so many. I think we we’re really lucky because all of us have stayed friends which is not the same from my undergraduate degree which again I think is down to the small cohort. My biggest highlight was having the opportunity to do my work placement at Glamour. It was amazing and I’m super thankful to the college for helping. I did 2 weeks there during the course and that involved writing and other office tasks. A few months passed and they called me back for a formal internship/assistant role to help with events.
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How did your experience at the college help in getting you to where you are now as a blogger?
I think that the blogging sector is very demanding and competitive. Being in an environment like Condé Nast you’re around people who are really passionate about what they do and have similar goals to you really helped me in the blogging world. Also the fact that you’ve got a Masters and something very relevant helps you stand out a little bit more. Even when you’re talking to clients, and gives that professional edge.
How did you find managing the schedule alongside your blogging?
It actually worked so great. We went into college two days a week, so I had the rest of the time to work on my studies but also my blogging. Everyone in my cohort was also so nice and would take photos of me on our lunch breaks!
How did you find the access to industry speakers? Did anyone stand out for you?
I think that was one of the biggest benefits with all of these people I’ve dreamed of meeting or being in the same room as them. I’d have to say Suzie Menkes was amazing and some of the advice she gave I still use now. I also loved the make-up artist Val Garland and how much she’s done with the supermodels.
What’s your favourite memory from your time at the college and what advice would you give?
Probably my cohort. Who knows what’s to come in 10 years and it’s so nice to think what we’re going to achieve in the future as a group. The support from my classmates and the people who taught us really offered us one-to-one advice, and my biggest tip to students would be to take advantage of that and to speak to people who really understand the industry. I think the nice thing about doing a Masters is that you’ve gone through all those earlier stages. It’s not competitive because you’ve found your niche.
If you could sum up your experience at the college, how would you describe it?
Like the school equivalent of The Devil Wears Prada, without the brattiness! Everyone looks great, everyone loves fashion, the building is beautiful and you really feel like you’re in the industry when you’re in that building. Everyone’s got their thing, their own style. It’s really unique.