We've all been there.. ''What do I do when I grow up?!''... ''Which direction of fashion do I go into?!''... Read my story of how I got to knowing I wanted to be a future top Visual Merchandising Queen..
Ever since I was a little girl I’ve always known I’ve wanted a career in fashion. I made my mum get me some fashion designer kit one Christmas when I was really young and loved it; from then on I was adamant I was going to be a future top successful fashion designer. At school, whenever someone would ask me what I wanted to do when I grow up, was always answered with ‘’fashion designer’’. However for a week it once changed to hair dresser, but switched right back. Always knowing I’ve wanted to be in fashion helped so much with GCSE options and A Level choices as I chose courses I knew would lead me in the right direction.
At 16 I got my first retail job in New Look, a brand I’ve basically grown up with as my mum has worked for them since forever. Here I had my first taste a visual merchandising. I’ve always loved looking at shop windows, I find them so interesting and the concept of grabbing a customer’s attention via styling on a mannequin in the window which they’d potentially look at for a good 5 seconds before choosing whether or not to enter your store is exciting. Through me constantly bugging and trying to get involved whenever I can, I was given the chance to be the store Window/Mannequin specialist. I think I was either 17 or 18 when this happened and I was so excited. The responsibility motivated me so much and I took the role a little too seriously for a part time job, however I loved it so much. I’d come in early to change the mannequins, bust forms and the windows whenever they needed doing (and even when they didn’t). Even tidying the windows from dust and smudge marks excited me, as I had my very own role and responsibility!
Then came University. I researched all the places which had fashion courses to offer, all of them advertising that they wanted students who had completed a Foundation Art degree. Now I had my heart set on NOT doing a Foundation art degree, doing a AS Level in Fine Art killed it for me, after GCSE Art and 2 A Levels in an art subject (Graphics and Fine Art) made me want to stop Art and just focus on fashion, I had enough of it. I applied and interviewed for places and mostly was turned away at application process as I hadn’t got my Foundation. Now this was horrible, was seriously considering saying no to university full stop and working my way up instead. Luckily I received an offer for an Interview for Epsom University. Went and looked around and then came to the group portfolio showing. Wow. Now I realised why they ask for a foundation art degree. These girl’s portfolios were jam packed! I went away knowing I hadn’t got in and debated this bloody Foundation art degree, HOWEVER along came Southampton Solent and offered me a place. Yes! Was so happy.
I came to University knowing I was going to be a Visual Merchandiser. The course I’m on is so varied in fashion that we do it all. PR, Styling, Buying and Merchandising.. You name it we do it (apart from pattern cutting which I’m definitely not complaining about). This left me in a panicking state a few months ago when my course leader told us to start applying for jobs. What do I want to do now as I’ve tasted so much fashion industry choices?!
During my time at university however, I had completed a load of work experience at New Look head office, yes this brand is a brand very close to my heart! I was the International Visual Marketing Assistant and bloody loved it. Apart from the half 6 in the morning wake ups, it was so fun and it was definitely a career choice I wanted to pursue. The head office itself was amazing; I’d find myself wandering around just ogling all the shoes and pretty clothes. I even got to attend a few Press Days which I absolutely loved. I mainly worked in the Visual Marketing department but my role required me to work with other departments as well, so I got to see and taste all of it, and I loved it. During my time here I learnt more about Visual Merchandising and the nitty gritty details of it. I was involved in training workshops and even got to assist in creating training modules to send to Field VM Managers to train their VMs in their regions! By the time I left I felt so confident in my visual merchandising knowledge.
My Visual favourites are the obvious, being Selfridges London and designer brands such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel. One of my favourites has to be the Louis Vuitton gold dinosaur skeleton concept as I bloody love dinosaurs and love LV, it was genius. The dream is to one day reach this level. I want to style and go nutty in the windows for one of these brands, with an amazing Visual Merchandising budget I can imagine, and let creativity loose on the mannequins and concept. It'll take a lot to get there. The reason I cannot continue my story is because I don't know the next steps. I'm completely stuck on what to do next, trying to find a VM job role right now but there's little out there I can find and I need to concentrate on finishing this bloody FMP for my degree.
I hope you've enjoyed reading my story. If you're stuck on what to do next, don't worry, as i'm trying not too! I'm just hoping that destiny will occur and the right oppurtunity and what to do next will just happen and it's meant to be...