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AFTER THE FRA: RUPALI, MAA AT HARRODS

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20th June 2024

We're proud of the amazing accomplishments our students and graduates achieve, both during their time at the Fashion Retail Academy and after their graduation. 

We spoke to Rupali, who studied Level 4 Fast Track Buying & Merchandising, about her experience at the FRA and her role at Harrods. 

What course did you study at the Fashion Retail Academy?

I have studied the Level 4 Fast Track Buying & Merchandising course.

What were your favourite elements of your course? Were there any challenges?

I thoroughly enjoyed each session of my course, especially the third project on sourcing and strategy. I put my professional experience to good use, incorporating my knowledge of critical path and fabric construction into the project. However, I did face some challenges. Firstly, being my first course in the UK, I struggled with communication due to the unfamiliar study pattern and English not being my first language. Additionally, managing my studies alongside taking care of my 4-year-old son was quite demanding. Despite these challenges, I worked hard and ended up with a distinction in my final project.

What did you learn on your course and what projects did you particularly enjoy?

During the course, I learned about buying, merchandising, range planning and building, trend research, sourcing, critical path management, and many more. Each module was equally important as it was designed according to practical industry knowledge. When I started my internship at M&S, I knew exactly all the terms they used in daily communications.

Why did you choose your course?

I chose this course because, despite having 8 years of experience working in a manufacturing unit, I was struggling to land a job in a major fashion brand in the UK. The reason was my lack of retail merchandising experience in the UK. Since moving here, I have always wanted to work for renowned brands like M&S and John Lewis. Getting an internship at M&S during the course felt like a dream come true.

The practical, industry-focused education I received there gave me a strong foundation in both the creative and business aspects of fashion. Rupali - Level 4 Fast Track Buying & Merchandising Graduate

What is your new role?

I am a Merchandising Admin Assistant at Harrods.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in fashion?

The fashion industry is dynamic, creative, and ever-evolving, making it both exciting and challenging. My first piece of advice would be to continually seek knowledge. Fashion trends, technology, and consumer preferences change rapidly, so staying informed and adaptable is crucial. Be prepared for a competitive environment.

Do you think your course prepared you for working in industry?

Yes, I believe that my course has provided a strong foundation that has been essential in my career in the fashion industry. I have experience working in a garment export house in India and have a very good knowledge of product development and sourcing. However, after relocating to the UK, I encountered significant challenges in continuing my career in merchandising as I didn’t have UK retail experience. After doing my research, I discovered about the Fashion Retail Academy and immediately enrolled in the Fast Track course. Now, I can confidently say that it was the best decision I've made.

96% of our students are employed or continuing their studies within 6 months of completing Level 4 Fast Track Buying & Merchandising.

How has your FRA experience helped you in your career?

My FRA experience definitely helped me to get my dream job. My time at the Fashion Retail Academy has been essential in shaping my career. The practical, industry-focused education I received there gave me a strong foundation in both the creative and business aspects of fashion. The hands-on projects and internships provided through FRA helped me develop essential skills in real-world settings that are directly relevant to my work in the industry.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to go into the fashion retail industry?

Follow your Passion. The fashion industry is competitive, and the more effort you put into your studies, the more you'll stand out in the job market. 

My time at the Fashion Retail Academy has been essential in shaping my career. The practical, industry-focused education I received there gave me a strong foundation in both the creative and business aspects of fashion. Rupali - Level 4 Fast Track Buying & Merchandising Graduate

Rupali studied Level 4 Fast Track Buying & Merchandising with us at the Fashion Retail Academy. This 22-week course is designed to get you straight into industry as an entry-level buyer or merchandiser. You'll be taught over two full days a week, so you can continue working part-time whilst you study.

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