I come from a family where higher education is given the primary importance; marriage, kids, jobs etc comes secondary. My grandfather was a lawyer, father is a doctor, brother is an engineer, and I am a journalist. Since childhood, I have been taught that knowledge is great and it has no boundary; you can keep on learning and re-learning all your life and still won’t know it all.
I had finished my Bachelors in Commerce (B.Com) with a specialization in Marketing in 2009, and just like many other student of my age, fell into a dilemma as to what I should do next, post my graduation. My parents have never forced me into doing something that I don’t like, they have always encouraged my creativity and thirst for knowledge and had said, “You can be what you want to be. Study what you want. We are with you.”
Somehow, I did not want to follow the often trodden path of M.Com or MBA post my B.Com. I had always been a good writer, and have been contributing in the school magazines and newspapers since as long as I can remember. I used to write short stories, poems, film / play scripts during my leisure time and used to dream of changing the world with my pen one day. One fine winter night, at the dinner table, I broke the news to my family. “Mom, Dad, I want to be a journalist,” I said proudly, and with conviction. They were happy to see I have found a career path of my choice.
I gave the national entrance examination Symbiosis National Aptitude Test (SNAP) and got selected in one of the best media institutes in India for the Masters in Mass Communication (MMC) program, specializing in Journalism. Those were the two best years of my life, really. I passed out in 2011 with good grades and got my first journalism job through campus placements as a Feature Writer in a lifestyle magazine. I have always been interested in the lifestyle / fashion beat and I knew this is the area where I would want to further my journalism career.
Trust me when I say this, joy knows no boundary when you get paid for what you love to do the most, and get to follow your passion. Writing is my biggest passion, and I have been a journalist for three years now. But like I mentioned earlier, the education bug will never leave my system. The itch to go back to the books, to the big college classrooms, to attend the lectures and to study for exams; have resurfaced again.
Now, I want to do a second masters specializing deeper into my domain i,e journalism. I have been mulling over the idea to pursue MA in Fashion Journalism from the London College of Fashion, affiliated under the prestigious University of the Arts London (UAL), for quite some time now. So when I saw this contest topic on IndiBlogger, guess what my reaction was? I went straight up to my father and read the topic out to him, and he encouraged me to take part in this contest, because he knows how close to my heart this topic really is.
Why MA in Fashion Journalism?
Well, I already have a masters in journalism, so it is only wise to do a second masters degree specializing on the particular area of journalism that I want to work on in my career, which is – fashion. London College of Fashion teaches its students solid journalistic skills in order to become an articulate and aware fashion writer.
In the future, I see myself working as a Fashion Features Editor in some of world’s leading fashion magazines like, Vogue, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar or Elle. In order to reach that dream of mine, there’s no better course or college than this. This course will help me develop both practical and theoretical understanding of fashion journalism in the UK. With a close eye on changing trends in contemporary fashion, I hope to develop an analytic understanding of the fashion trends around as well as the rigor of practical journalism.
It is a 15 months full-time course broken down into three terms. The third term requires one to do a Masters Project worth 60 credits. The curriculum is interesting, where cultural theory and journalism strands run in parallel through the first stage of the course. Three of the four pathway units are focused on the practice of journalism, a key feature being visiting speakers from the fashion industry.
Previous MA Fashion Journalism graduates of London College of Fashion are now working in areas such as magazine and newspaper journalism, magazine styling and image making, lecturing in cultural studies and researching and developing concepts for television. The MA also provides an excellent preparation for higher level research degrees (MPhil or PhD), with an increasing number of graduates undertaking research in fashion related subjects, in practice or theory or entering into education as lecturers. If I want, I would either do a PhD post my course, or I would directly enter the competitive world of fashion journalism.
Another thing that really intrigued me about this course was the 2013 Graduate Fashion Week newspaper created by the MA Fashion Journalism students. I read the magazine in the official college website and loved the content and the effort put in it by the students. I see myself contributing there too someday, if I get through London College of Fashion.
Why London College of Fashion?
The MA in Fashion Journalism in London College of Fashion (LCF) is unique than the rest. Here’s why – It merges cultural theory with fashion journalism in an incredible way. It is a multidisciplinary framework for independent study that leads to an original body of written and/or visual work.
Plus, LCF is one of the best colleges in the UK, and is affiliated under the prestigious University of the Arts London. There’s no denying that it is a leading global provider of fashion education, research and consultancy. Oh and the college location! There couldn’t have been a better location even if they tried: Bond St, Savile Row, Soho and Great Portland St – London’s very own garment district – all converge at John Prince’s St. Where better to keep an eye on things?
The college also organizes some amazing events over the year, one of them being ‘Fashion Matters’. It is the college’s annual gala event raising money for scholarships, bursaries and equipment to support future generations of designers, makers, entrepreneurs, commentators and industry specialists. In 2013, they raised over £275,000 for scholarships and awards!
LCF also uses a term called ‘Better Lives’ in order to describe the work that they do that uses fashion, as a discipline, to drive change, build a sustainable future and improve the way one lives. I really loved that concept, and how they run a number of projects, initiatives and collaborations that reflect their belief in using fashion as a catalyst for change. For example, in 2012, the School of Media and Communication at London College of Fashion embarked on a collaboration with a women’s prison to produce a unique publication, entitled The Beauty’s Inside. This magazine brought together 11 serving women offenders and 11 students from across the School who, over the course of 10 weekly workshops held at the prison, worked together to produce content inspired by and relevant for the women prisoner readership! I found that really inspiring and in the future, would love to be part of such a project.
LCF is a way of life. I feel they instill in you more than just mere classroom and bookish knowledge. Like, LCF’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF), from 2011 to 2012, engaged in a collaborative project with iconic fashion publication i-D magazine and i-D online. The project featured monthly fashion shoots and articles, each one focused on a different designer with a different approach to embedding sustainability in their work.
Another, amazing thing done at LCF is the college’s pop-up retail space – College Shop! The store stays open to the public for one week only, and it showcases items from the very best of LCF talent, each item on sale are limited edition and the stock rotates daily to ensure a myriad of choice.
Plus, the prolific alumni. As we know, the alumni defines a college to a large extent. Some of the great alumni of LCF includes William Tempest (a womenswear designer who has dressed the likes of Kate Moss, Rihanna, Emma Watson, and has designed collections for River Island and W Hotels), Simon Chilvers (Mens Style Director at Matchesfashion.com) and Lily Marpaung (Senior Fashion Editor at Harper’s Bazaar Indonesia). I must mention here that Lily had graduated with a MA Fashion Journalism in 2012. She had done exactly the same course that I’m willing to study at LCF and is working in a profile that I’m interested to pursue in my career. So, she is definitely an inspiration for me.
Also, for students like me, who might need a scholarship in order to pursue a second masters degree, UAL offers various scholarships, bursaries and loans. A number of Vice Chancellor’s Scholarships are available for Home/EU and international Masters students; including some other scholarships like the ISH/UAL Graduate Scholarships, The Jane Rapley Scholarship, The LCF Artscom Scholarships, The Alan Fletcher Scholarship and more. If one’s a good student and is really passionate about their field of study, then one can have a good chance of bagging a scholarship or a loan and follow their passion.
I’ll ask you why not? It gives you a world-class education where you get to study with students from all around the world. You get to learn about various cultures, languages, cuisines, cities, and that teaches you more than what classrooms and books can ever teach you. UK courses also give you the skills, qualifications and connections needed for your chosen career.
According to the Tracking International Graduate Outcomes report (BIS, 2011), UK-educated international graduates achieve markedly higher average salaries than if they had been educated at home. The 2013/14 QS World University Rankings found that employers worldwide consider UK graduates among the most ’employable’ – from a global survey of 27,000 graduate employers, five UK universities were ranked in the top 10.
UK higher education courses are generally shorter than in other countries, so I will be done with my masters degree in a shorter time, 1 year and 3 months to be precise. How cool is that? Plus, there are many financial support schemes offered by British Council for international students who wish to join a UK course.
Last but not the least, UK is beautiful! Ah.. the snow-topped mountains and rolling green hills, flowery meadows and ancient forests, sandy beaches and deserted islands. As a student, I’ll definitely go hiking and cycling to take in the breathtaking scenery, and I’ll definitely visit the outstanding museums and art galleries.
All in all, I get to have the adventure of a lifetime plus follow my passion and get a degree, that will help me further my journalism career. What more can one want? I think this is what they call – ‘Perfection’!
The topic was – If you could study/specialize in any subject of your choice in the UK, what would be, where and why?