Compiled by Di Downs, Head of Textile Design and Fashion Marketing.
Last week’s post 6 ways to impress me at interview offers valuable advice for applicants to any course, but was written from the perspective of textile design. We promised an insight into what to consider if you are interviewed for other fashion and textiles institute courses at Falmouth, so we asked some of the interviewers for our courses ‘what are you really looking for in an applicant to your course’?
Clare Ball, senior lecturer on Fashion Photography replied:
It might sound obvious, but we are looking for people with an undeniable interest in fashion. We are always going to ask you ‘Why do you want to study Fashion Photography?’ and sometimes people answer ‘Because I love photographing people’. Well, that’s helpful, but it isn’t enough. You can photograph people on all sorts of photography courses. We want to know why you want to photograph fashion. Tell us, show us, what you find so exciting about fashion and about clothing.
We are less concerned about a given level of technical ability when you join us, because that can be taught, and you will develop that on the course. What we need to see at interview is evidence of creativity in your work, of your enthusiasm and love of visual imagery.
Always bring workbooks as well as a portfolio of images. We want to understand how you develop ideas, so background work helps us in that. Don’t think that you can only show us project work from a college or school course – we get very excited to see personal work too. That can be blogs and Instagrams, whatever form that work takes. We love to see your engagement and commitment though personal photographic work, whatever the subject matter.
Michelle Lawrence, Course Coordinator for Fashion Marketing explains:
Our Fashion Marketing course attracts applicants with a visual background and those who have a stronger interest in business – that’s what makes the course different from some of the solely business orientated marketing courses out there, it’s about a 50/50 mix. It’s possible that some applicants will have skills and interests in both areas, but equally possible that you will be more or less firmly in one camp or the other.
So you might be someone with a portfolio of visual work, for example graphic design, or you might be someone who actually has no idea what you would even put in a portfolio!
No matter, because what we want from you at interview is for you to be yourself. There is no right or wrong way to be, or to think. So we might talk about brands, but we don’t have a list of ones it’s good, or cool to be interested in, we just want to find out which ones capture your imagination and why.
We do look for people who are informed about what’s going on in the world. In fashion, yes of course, but a broader general awareness and interest in what is happening out there – culturally, economically and politically for instance – helps give us the idea that you might be right for us.
It’s a cliché, but fashion marketers are people-people. That means people who enjoy being team players, interacting with others and contributing ideas. That’s how it works in the business, so that’s what we look for in applicants.
So, what to bring to the interview? Well, if you have a portfolio, bring it. If you don’t, think of other ways you could evidence your interest in fashion marketing. How about bringing a magazine article you found really interesting? Or a recent piece of fashion or business news? (Be prepared to say why of course.) There is no right or wrong, if all else fails, bring yourself!
John Boddy, Head of Fashion Design and Sportswear Design
As well as an obvious interest in fashion in whatever form that takes, we are always on the lookout for that creative spark, a sense of intuition, an affinity with garments and their relationship to the body. We are looking for leaders not followers.
One of the most exciting things that can happen at interview is when we learn things from you. Perhaps you have found a designer, or stylist whose work you find compelling, we love to hear about that and why they interest you so much.
We always want to see your research, so do bring sketchbooks. Yes, show us that you are abreast of fashion and current trends, but don’t feel research has to be confined to that. Some of the most interesting, and rewarding research stems for all sorts of areas outside fashion. Nothing is irrelevant. Show us how you think and how you develop ideas. Show us how you innovate.