All the photographs used in this post were taken as a part of the Fashion Media Styling: Editorial course at London College of Fashion.
One Hell Of An Amazing Tutor: John William
Oh-So Cool Photographer: Darren Black
Rockstar Model: Sandra
Hey there you beautiful bunch of humans! How’s it going???
Like some of you may know I’ve recently finished a short course at London College of Fashion (which is a part of UAL, Europe’s largest university for arts and design, how cool is that!) and I thought I’d tell you a bit more about it. First of all because if you consider studying at UAL yourself you’ll know what to expect and the other reason is I’m still oh-so ecstatic about the whole thing.
Signing up for the course I was super excited but I also had quite a few worries:
“I’m not skilful/experienced enough! All of the other students will be fashion graduates with knowledge and experience I lack!”,
“I won’t be able to make any friends (not that it’s why you sing up for the course but a friendly face here and there doesn’t cause any harm, right?) as fashion environment’s reputation is not that great”,
“There will be a lot of technical language which I won’t be able to understand. And since my English sucks the others won’t be able to get what I’m saying”,
“Being hopeless with maps I won’t even find the school!”
Ok, I think by now you get the picture- I’m the queen of paranoia and my ‘What To Worry About’ list clearly lived up to the challenge! I can tell you one thing though- it couldn’t have been further from reality!
UAL has a few different locations but my course took place in Lime Grove. It was quite a nice area in west London, near the Shepherds Bush Market, very close to the Tube. There were plenty of cafes and little shops around which was rather convenient, especially during the lunch break.
The school itself is a medium-sized building (I wish I took pictures of) with students’ works on the walls and fashion publications for everyone to take in the reception area which I think was quite wonderful.
The receptionist himself didn’t make the greatest first impression when I heard him making fun of one of the students and her language skills but in the long run he turned out to be the sweetest, most helpful person who saved me a lot of trouble.
Our tutor was John William who’s a stylist himself. John is super laid-back with a great sense of humour and huge passion for his job. His knowledge and experience just knock your socks off and he’s oh-so inspiring! He’s the type of person who makes you want to constantly explore, keep learning and being always hungry of more which is exactly how I imagine a perfect tutor. John is just brilliant, he makes you want to be him. One of the first things he said to us was:
“There’s only one type of woman in fashion: she’s very rich, very thin and very white. Which, I think, is boring.”
which I was so happy to hear. Then he mentioned Lagerfeld being a prick and I was on cloud nine: Yes, someone finally had some balls to say that in public! Well, John said tonnes of incredible things and if I was to have a brain transplant I’d surely welcome his with open arms. He was bloody opinionated, happy to say things which I’m sure a lot of arse-licking cowards wouldn’t dare say and I absolutely loved that.
Personal views and opinions are one thing but being one hell of a fashion stylist is another. John’s portfolio was my cup of tea too, to say the least-I simply adored the message as well as aesthetics he used in some of his styling works.
What I loved the most about my tutor though was that, like I already said, he was soooo bloody inspiring! I don’t think I did that much googling being at university- John was throwing at us one name after another and showing us the work of amazing people I’ve never heard of. He made me watch 3 films, see 2 exhibitions, read 2 books and dozens of magazines- all that during just over 2 weeks! If it wasn’t for the course I would never discover some of the most exceptional things human beings have created. I’m genuinely so thankful for that!
As for the people I was studying with, all 12 of us happened to be girls, which wasn’t actually that surprising. When you study fashion you kind of expect the majority of students to be girls and that’s cool. A few of the students did have a fashion degree, most of them didn’t. What was the most exciting however was the fact that we were all from 12 different countries all over the show so it was a great opportunity to learn about different cultures too! Some people spoke English really well, the others not so much and nobody was making fuss about it. In fact, my tutor thought I was a native speaker which actually made me realise how pathetic I am moaning about my English all the time. And I promised myself to stop. At the end of the day, I am able to communicate every single thing I need so there’s no point bringing myself down anymore, I’d rather focus on more important things instead!
At the beginning me and the girls didn’t have much time to interact with one another as during the first two days of the course there were mainly lectures. Then, on the final day of our photoshoot we had plenty of time to talk and have fun. Everyone was super kind and supportive and we were all helping one another which was absolutely great. With some of the girls I’m still in touch and I feel very lucky to have met them all.
Overall the course was a great experience, especially that we all had a chance of working in a real studio with a professional photographer. I think that part could have been done with more attention to details but on the other hand, there was quite a lot of us and very little time so I can’t really complain complain- after all it was more about the experience than the actual result.
We all did 2 looks, one for the black and white shoot and one in colour. I am rather pleased with the result of the black and white one, I’m happy with my look and grateful for both John’s and photographer’s directions. Most of all though, I think having Sandra as a model was truly precious, she just had it all!
Before the shoot we were told that our model would be size 10. Silly as I tend to be, having that information I sourced all the clothes in size 6. I was telling everyone around that I wanted a black, skinny model with short hair although I knew it wasn’t going to happen. 2 days before the shoot we received our model’s measurements and I knew for sure that none of my clothes would fit her. But still, I didn’t change a thing. That sounds quite cocky but I don’t really know what I was thinking, I just had that strong idea in my mind. And then finally I got to see the model, Christina, who was that curvy, feminine, long haired babe. Don’t get me wrong she was a gorgeous girl, just far too sexy and obvious for my concept. I wanted more edge, more attitude, something that goes beyond a pretty face if that makes sense. I didn’t have any backup plan and when I saw her I was like ‘well, come what may’, at the same time, being a panic powerhouse, I was extraordinarily calm. And in that particular moment John said: ‘I’ve got a surprise for you all, today we’re gonna have one more model for you to choose!’ and he introduced Sandra who was exactly the model I’d dreamed of! I guess if you genuinely want something the universe is there to help!
As for the shoot in colour I wasn’t happy with how it went for different reasons but that’s alright. I’m really thankful that before shooting in black and white, the photographer took a shot of Sandra in colour too as I realised how beautiful the outfit colour palette turned out to be and I’m happy to have it documented.
Due to the nature of a short course some things during the lectures weren’t covered in details but then it left plenty of room for your own research. If you’re thinking of signing up for such course, definitely go for it- it’s so much fun! My only advice would be: don’t expect everything to be given to you on a silver platter. In fact if you don’t do your homework that wouldn’t be much for you to gain from the course. You aren’t born with the knowledge, there will be some names of people you’ve never heard of and pieces of art you don’t recognise. Like John said, ‘you need to be wanting to fill your gaps’. And don’t worry, you’ll get dozens of directions- it’s up to you what you’ll do with them.