Student Life by Liam McClatchey

Student Life


Student Life by Liam McClatchey, L4 Merchandising.

As the academic year is coming to an end, we are hearing and receiving absolutely amazing feedback from our students. We would like to share their experiences with you, in their own words!

Liam McClatchey, student on the L4 Merchandising course and graduating this year has answered the questions our students get asked most for our series of student life blog posts. What better way to find out more about our courses, than the voice of a Fashion Retail Academy student?

  1. What have you learnt on the L4 Merchandising course?

Throughout the year I learnt the key principles and concepts of merchandising and how the cycle works. We were taught to be analytical and think commercially at all times. The course content was varied and the lessons were always interesting, the retail concepts, systems & skills and the Oracle lessons taught us the formulae, how to use excel to input data into readable spreadsheets and then how to analyse and respond to that data.

Lessons were tailored specifically towards merchandising and in addition to those we .were taught how to use Photoshop and how to create infographics in our digital presentation lessons. In the retail environment unit we were taught about critical paths, different selling routes and the types of merchandising environments. We also had contextual studies which focused on learning about the history of fashion and specific garments. Finally, we had an industry project, three week work placement and were also taught retail maths and PPD, all of which were so useful alongside the course.

  1. Why did you choose the L4 Merchandising course?

I chose Merchandising as I didn't feel I was creative enough to do a course such as visual merchandising, buying or fashion retail. I was surprised that L4 Merchandising gave us a chance to be creative too, which I actually enjoyed. I also work on the shop floor along with studying and would make a habit of reading the weekly figures and best sellers, which as a merchandiser I would be doing. I love the fashion industry and felt this course was best suited to my knowledge and capabilities.

  1. Why is studying at the FRA good?

All the tutors have worked in the industry and have extensive experience, which makes studying at the Fashion Retail Academy great! The tutors having expertise and experiences to share makes the course feel more personal and motivates you to aspire towards the career success that they had or are still working towards. Tutors are so friendly and helpful, they are available 24/7 for support and advice. Being located in Central is also a huge bonus, it means you can easily get anywhere or just pop into Oxford Street on lunch. The atmosphere in and around college is just so vibrant and sociable. Not to mention the excellent industry links and how well regarded the college is!

  1. What did you enjoy most about the FRA?

Everything, it's hard to choose anything specific. The ethos and friendliness in the college environment, you felt able to be yourself and be accepted, everyone is so open minded and sociable. Again being in central London was amazing, I stayed at home while I studied and it was so different and more exciting than living in a small town. I enjoyed getting the emails about fashion shows, exhibitions or sample sales as they weren't things I'd have thought of going to or known where to look until I started at FRA. The discount for Fashion Festival was really good too!

  1. What is the best thing the FRA offered you?

Academically, it was definitely the industry links. Particularly the Industry Project, we did ours with All Saints and had to create the opening package for a new store in Knightsbridge. The team I was a part of won and we were able to have a tour around their head office. The three week work placement was also a brilliant opportunity, my placement was at Next and I loved it. Both opportunities enabled me to develop myself professionally and practice what I've learnt which helped to reinforce my knowledge.

Personally, the FRA gave me the opportunity to be more confident. I was able to be true to myself, and express myself freely without feeling judged. The teachers and my peers really encouraged me to believe in myself.

  1. What is your plan after leaving the FRA?

After the FRA I'd love to into go into a Merchandising Admin Assistant role and start my career as a merchandiser sooner rather than later. However, I am tempted by the two year degrees as I have loved my time at the Fashion Retail Academy and the teaching is excellent.

If this sounds of interest to you, find out more about the course here. We also offer a 22 week programme in L4 Fast Track Buying and Merchandising.