For a fashion student there’s no better professional development than a placement at one of the country’s leading high street brands.
BA (Hons) Fashion Business and Promotion student
I spent two months in total swapping seminars for social media, lectures for client-liaising and Netflix for Next.
Whether you’re a prospective student, a fashion enthusiast or involved in the industry, here are the five things I learned about myself whilst on industry placement at Next.
This may seem an obvious statement – but in this industry experience is vital. Whilst my love of fashion has been my main focus through my teenage years and into adulthood, how could I truly understand the industry I want to work in without first spending time working there? During my time at Next I spent time doing: PR, marketing and press sample coordination. The lectures I had experienced at university transformed into real life situations preparing me for the tasks I was expected to complete on a day-to-day basis.
If I can give one piece of advice from my time at Next: if you have any interest in working in the industry then I recommend finding a placement as soon as you can. Whether it’s a week of experience or a longer period of time as an intern, the experience will be invaluable. My only regret is not doing it sooner.
For the first time in my life I was a situation where there is no teacher. Even during university there is a clear hierarchy between lecturers and students. I fully expected this to be the same whilst on placement but what I found was the opposite. It didn’t matter that I was just an intern; I was treated as if I had worked there for years. The stereotype that interns just ‘make coffee and photocopy was broken. If you are given the opportunity then run with it and take your chance to impress in a professional environment.
When I was in the final year of my GCSEs I was voted ‘Most Fashionable Female’ by my peers. A feeling better than any first on an assignment. Working in fashion has always been my goal but I believe it’s a future career that comes with a lot of negative stigma. “Oh you’ll never make it…” “It’s about who you know, not what you know…” “What about teaching instead?” are just some of the most commonly heard phrases when I tell people what I want to do with my future.
Working at Next gave me the confidence to believe in my dreams. I was surrounded by like minded people who were successful at what I wanted to do. It was inspiring and motivated me to just go for it.
Now whilst I might not have been paid for my time at Next that doesn’t mean there weren’t other advantages to working there…Clothes. Oh, the clothes.
Anybody reading this blog clearly has some interest in fashion and I truly feel that I managed to exploit my love during my time at Next. Firstly, through my first experience of office wear – you will find no dowdy suits in the offices of Next!
Dressing for the job was a catwalk in itself with all members of the office looking like they’d stepped straight from the pages of the latest issue of Elle. I was window shopping from my desk. But the real benefit came at the end of my time there when I was given access to the press samples. I staggered under the weight of my shopping bags on my final exit from the head office.
Working at Next Head Office has already opened doors for my future. My degree – BA (Hons) Fashion Business and Promotion – offers me the chance to fill many roles within the fashion industry, from buying to PR. I am grateful to have my first experience of the type of job I might consider when completing my studies next academic year. Whilst I don’t yet know what the future holds for me I would like to think that the doors to Next aren’t shut on me just yet.