Studying at the Fashion Retail Academy were some of the best days ever. Mainly because I was absolutely obsessed with fashion and being able to learn and talk about it all day meant I was in my element.
From a young age I have adored fashion and everything about it. After interning for Gap in the buying department at the age of 15 I was completely sold on working in the industry and couldn’t wait for that moment to come.
Once my final year at secondary school come and it was time to make the decision on what to do the next year I thought about my options in getting involved in the industry. A friend had mentioned the Fashion Retail Academy to me that she had just completed and thought that I would also love it. Once I read up on it I knew I wanted to study there. A fashion college with courses and lessons such as styling, buying, visual merchandising, design, fashion history and fashion marketing – it sounded like the dream.
I applied for a position and then was offered an interview. Two days later my place had been secured and I was offered an unconditional offer.
Once the school year was over I started FRA in September 2014. I have to admit, it did take me a few weeks to settle in, but once I did it was the best thing ever. The lessons were everything I had hoped for and my knowledge of fashion grew along with my love for it. I couldn’t get enough. My favourite lesson in particular was styling. Something that I was told I had a natural talent for.
Some of the styling lessons included speaking with Selfridges stylists, making our own Topshop personal shopping appointments, styling other students in the class and creating profiles for completely different individuals. Throughout the first year I learnt so much about different sizes, shapes and colours that work for different people.
Other lessons I loved were buying where you focused on everything on the season upcoming. It really opens your eyes to the pace of fashion and raises your knowledge towards future trends.
I have to say, my favourite project that took place over the two years was a styling photo shoot in which two models, a photographer and a whole lot of Topshop & Topman borrowed clothes came into the college for us to work with. We were able to choose each outfit, style the models and even help take the photos.
Another amazing thing about my time at FRA was the friends I made. Its lovely being with people all day who share your same interests and being able to work together on big projects.
FRA has the BEST library in the world. The amount of fashion books, magazines and DVDs they have for you to choose from is amazing. They literally have every up to date magazine meaning that you can cancel your subscription to Vogue and borrow it from there!
I can’t explain enough how I believe studying at FRA got me to where I am now. In every interview I have had for my jobs it has been one of the main topics of conversation. I truly believe that without these qualifications I would have never got to where I am now at such a young age. I have to admit, I have been SO lucky to work for such good companies but I know so many others who have also had similar luck who studied at FRA. In my opinion starting your studying straight from school in a subject and career you love shows to employers how serious you are about it and shows that you already know the career path you want to be within.
If you are looking to start at FRA but are unsure, I couldn’t advise it enough. The knowledge you gain while doing something you love and are passionate about is something so special and I truly believe it is the best start to anyone who wants to be in the fashion industries career.
Grace Carey-Caton, International Visual Operations Co-ordinator at Arcadia
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