Thinking of going abroad to get an MA degree in fashion? Then this post is for you! The tips come from my experience at the London College of Fashion, but work for virtually all international institutions. Here we go:
– The most important tip: don’t do a master’s degree without having professional experience. It’s good to have at least 2 years of experience to make better use of the course and even to choose the most suitable program for you.
– Usually, fashion related programmes are divided in Design, Business and Media/Culture. Start your search thinking if you want to complement or specialize your skills. For example, if you have a BA in Fashion Design and want to have a brand, then a Business MA will help your project. On the other hand, if the plan is to work designing accessories, a course in this area is a great idea.
– There are many available courses so even if you already have an idea of what you want to study, research everything you can. Some institutions promote seasonal events with advisors who analyse CVs and portfolio and help with your decision. If you have a chance to attend one, don’t miss the opportunity. That’s how I discovered that the MA Fashion Entrepreneurship & Innovation was the most suitable for me!
– Trough social networks, you can contact alumni and ask questions about the courses. Talking to people who has had the experience is always helpful and can clarify many doubts. The LCF MA Courses page is one of them. Going to “Open Days” is also great. Keep an eye on the calendar because they often spread well in advance.
– Do not apply for one course only, choose 2 or 3 because the chances of approval will increase. When preparing a portfolio, cover letter and thesis proposal focus on showing your point of view/creative process in a concise format, highlight what the course will add to your career and how you can contribute to the expansion of the fashion industry in your country. Avoid clichés, predictable responses and naming brands that everyone knows (who doesn’t admire Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes etc?).
– Do not be surprised if the first few weeks are very overwhelming. It’s too much information to process at one time, so relax and go meet people!
– Nothing in life is perfect, nor your course. Have realistic expectations and don’t wait to things fall into your lap. Focus on what really matters for your career and avoid the trap of “school regression” (just because you’re a student again don’t behave like you are in high school. Or kinder garden).
– Take every opportunity to go to events, workshops, lectures and seminars to network and expand your horizons.
– Interning during the course is worthwhile and add points to your CV. Usually, the institution or the tutors divulge available positions. Going to events can also be a great way to find out about them.
– Do not stress too much about papers and reports because what really matters is the dissertation. The best thing to do is to start the research as early as possible (I wish I’ve done that!).
– When the research is submitted, comes that feeling of mission accomplished. Then, it’s time to access all those contacts you’ve made and focus on the job hunting.
– Taking time off to think about the future can be very useful. Instead of getting hard on yourself, plan the next steps wisely. Obviously, the chance of a dream job appearing straight away is tiny, so exercise your patience and strategic thinking to achieve medium and long-term goals. Trust that the right opportunities will emerge in time and probably from nowhere!
Ps1: if you are moving to London, here goes a survival guide
Ps2: some links to fashion related MA courses here: