A day in the life of an FRA student
One of our Level 4 Visual Merchandising students, Sam Sefer has written a great blog post about the life of an FRA student! It gives a brilliant insight into what it's like to study with us and is definitely worth a read...
If your question is, 'What is the FRA?', have you fallen of the face of the earth?!
The FRA, also known as the Fashion Retail Academy is where young, aspiring fashionistas dreams come true.
'It was founded in 2005 as a result of Sir Philip Green’s realisation that the industry faced an overwhelming skills gap for entry level jobs. As a result, a private-public partnership was formed between Arcadia, Next, Marks and Spencer, Tesco and Experian who funded its start-up, matched by investment from the Government.'
In the heart of London, just moments away from the chaotic Oxford Street, is a place where all ages can study a wide range of specialist fashion courses. Filled with industry experts, experienced teachers and dual professionals, this really is the best place to study any form of fashion. If that wasn't enough, most full-time courses provide a guaranteed work placement with a major high street brand, ensuring graduates leave with a wide range of skills and experience to take them into the workplace. Anyone who steps into the FRA with determination, will leave with a bright future ahead of them. Take +That Pommie Girl
for example, she studied a level 3 diploma in fashion retail. Now look at her!
What I study and my daily routine:
So back in September 2014, my bags were packed and I was off to uni, moving away from home, I went to go and study Fashion Management and Marketing in Southampton. 6 months later... I was back at home. Lets cut to the chase, the course wasn't right for me. A good friend called Josie told me about the FRA. I was so annoyed I hadn't heard of it before. September 2015 and here I am now, studying Level 4 Visual Merchandising and absolutely loving it. I have learnt and achieved so much more here in the last month than I ever did at uni. I want more and more people to be aware of this place and not make the mistake I did.
Tuesday and Wednesday 9-5, I spend my day hanging with the mannequins.
It all starts with a quick stop at Pret for my morning fix and to meet the lovely girls I have made friends with. Then like a girl band, we march into college, take our seats in our first lesson and wait for our tutor (who we call uncle T). This side of term our two days are spent learning areas of the industry; window display, mannequins, Photoshop, Illustrator, In-Design, retail concepts, branding and contextual studies. What I love is, how active the days are, we are always learning or doing something. Of course we have to fit in lunch, where we again probably get something from Pret or a cheeky trip to Mcdonalds round the corner. I'm going to be so fat by the end of the year...
I have literally only been at the FRA for a month and we have already displayed the college windows with our first task...bin liners. Yes that's right, bin liners. We had to construct an entire window in groups made of bin liners. What was created by everyone was amazing and for me I was proud of what I had achieved for my first ever window display. And of course I named my mannequin Susie.
Dear Susie did have a theme about her, she's basically a crazy flower lady.
BRING ON THE NEXT TASK!
As mentioned, the FRA is so unique because it offers students a compulsory work placement for three weeks. Giving students that experience to take with them for future jobs, as we all know it can be hard to get a job when you don't have experience! You have no choice on where you go, but that shouldn't stop you from making the absolute most out of them three weeks. SAY YES TO EVERYTHING! I'm super excited for my placement at the high end department store Fenwicks, assisting the Visual Merchandising team. This is something I will obviously do a post on when I have completed my three weeks, so keep reading!
For any of you budding young fashion gurus, don't just think that Uni is always the answer. If you want the fastest route to work, then this is the place. I currently work part time along my studies at River Island's London flagship store, with only being there for two months now, I was recently put forward to work some hours in the River Island concession in Selfridge's. Yes, Selfridge's. Any Visual Merchandisers dream is to be involved at Selfridge's at some point in their career. So trust me, this is my foot in the door for my future and I will work hard to get there! But I wouldn't be as confident in doing so, if it weren't for the FRA.