International FMP student, Inese Gailane is featured in the 4th issue of World Student magazine and talks about finding her path in the fashion industry.
I chose to study at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) at Rochester for a few simple reasons: it's a really interesting course with good industry links and is in a very good location. It was difficult to choose a university and where to study without being able to visit the campus. I followed my gut instinct, but still analysed all the aspects really practically, and all I can say is that I’m not regretting my decision at all.
My dream has always been to work somewhere in an area between fashion and publishing. Two years before graduating from secondary school, I took a sewing and design course thinking that I would move on to a fashion design course. However, during that course I realised that I was not good enough in this area to compete with other creative personalities in the future, so I decided that it was not the right path for me. Before applying for university I told everyone that I would study journalism, because writing was, and still is, one of my favourite activities. But, to be absolutely honest, I said it, because I thought that fashion and me together was just a dream - I knew that no one, apart from myself, could imagine me in the fashion industry at all!
When the time came to make the final decision for a course and where to apply for, I somehow decided to believe in myself and apply for a course that I felt reflected my interests and would be a good trampoline for my future.
I felt that I would not be good enough to be either a designer or a journalist, because I realised that writing in English is absolutely different from writing in my mother language, so I decided to look for some fashion related courses that included writing. This is when 'Fashion Media & Promotion' appeared. I can’t even remember now how I noticed it. I guess it was a destiny, but I remember thinking: “one of my strengths in secondary school was communication, and this course provides fashion and writing as well, why not try it?” And here I am now, a year and a half later, a really happy student trying to achieve my dreams.
It was, and still is, really interesting to move out of my parents’ house at the age of 18 and go to a different country where I have no relatives and friends. When I was six my brother went to America to study, and since that moment I knew that I wanted to do the same thing - I wanted to follow in my brother’s footsteps. This is because he is my idol, the one who always believed that I can study abroad and the one who now helps me figure out what I would like to do after graduating. But he is not the only one who supports me, my two sisters, parents and grandparents are my rock. I am more than thankful for my entire family, for all the support and sacrifices they are making for me to study abroad. After graduation I want to be able to give back to them, especially my parents and grandparents.
My dream has always been to work somewhere in an area between fashion and publishing
Speaking about graduation - I’m still in my second year, one more year to go, but I am already thinking about what I would like to do after getting my degree. That’s why I really like this course - I have been taught so many different aspects of the fashion industry that I have a feeling that I would like to do everything. However, last year, as one of our projects, we were asked to create a fanzine, a little magazine, and I realised that I really enjoyed doing that. As mentioned previously, I felt that I couldn't express my thoughts properly in a written format in English, but this course has proved me absolutely wrong. Another aspect that I really enjoyed was being responsible for everything - from the front cover to the back cover: everything was my own responsibility and my own imagination.
When I flip through my fanzine now, I remember all the processes as to how it was made, all the emotions that appeared while writing the articles, all the mistakes that happened during writing and photoshoots, all the sleepless nights... But now it all feels a long time ago and if someone would ask me what would you change in the process if you could do it all again, my answer would be: “bind it earlier than on the submission day! But apart from that – nothing.” My favourite article was, and still is, ‘I + I’. It is a little article about the realisation that it’s not a weakness to admit that you need someone in your life who is your ‘plus one’, that you are your best and strongest when you have someone who you share your life with.
Continuing the previous theme about sharing your life with someone, in the second year we have two different units to complete - Fashion Film and Social Media & PR, where the film needs to be made in a team, which I was really excited about. Our film is based on the Jean Rhys story 'The Wide Sargasso Sea', and all four members of the team have different roles and responsibilities. This unit gives us all a chance to work together, be creative, but at the same time think about how, through our creativity, we can communicate our ideas to the viewers. I have always been interested in films, but from a viewer’s perspective, so I never thought I would enjoy making film as much as I did.
I was enthusiastic about the Social Media & PR unit because it lets us see how powerful social media is in the current day. The project has enabled me to gain knowledge and experience of the future’s most influential media platform. Even though you may not always read news stories specifically, by being on social media, you are still aware of things that are happening around the world, because someone will share some news, re-tweet, like, or re-post something, and it will appear on your feed. Social Media is one of the many ways in which we communicate in the current day and thinking about my future in this industry, I need to gain the knowledge and understanding of how it actually works, to be a competitive employee. In light of this, I have joined an editorial committee, led by our Social Media Tutor, which is in the business of communicating a number of aspects, events, news stories etc., that are happening on the course.
Personally I never realised that, more or less everything is about communication, but now, in a year and a half, I have learned that communication is more than just verbal or written words. Because of these two units, I'm thinking about carrying out an internship in PR or film. In the second year, as part of our degree we have the opportunity to carry out an internship as part of another unit, Industry Awareness. However, my little dream is still to work in a publishing company and one day to have my own magazine.
I volunteered to be a Student Ambassador for the course and talk to visiting applicants and show them round, so now if someone asks me for any advice when choosing what and where to study, I say that sometimes the craziest dreams are the ones that you are made to do. And, specifically for future ‘Fashion Media & Promotion’ students, I would say that this is an amazing opportunity to see that the fashion industry does not consist only of designers, stylists and retail managers. There are so many other directions to take and it’s up to you which paths you follow.