The speakers included editor of Company magazine - Victoria White, Company's associate editor of fashion - Oonagh Brennan, blogger at A Little Bird Told Me and freelance copywriter - Jen Holmes, senior digital content manager at New Look - Kathryn Kenny, senior brand manager at New Look - Siobhan King, stylist - Karen Jones Russell and regional business manager of New Look - Brooke Pattison.
I've been to a few fashion industry careers events but this has been the most insightful, so far. I had my heart ripped out at one point but it finally answered a question I had been asking myself for almost 3 years and that was "Was my fashion degree a waste of time?" Although it wasn't a definitive yes, the speakers really emphasised the importance of hands-on industry experience and how they favoured this to University degrees, often overlooking them completely. Although this was a generalised industry ideology and therefore cannot accurately conclude its relevance to my degree, I assumed there were at least some admissible points - especially when some weren't exactly revelations to me. I would have liked to have seen a buyer as a speaker like they had on their very first panel back in November 2012 in London and particularly because the profession was mentioned on their most recent Fashion Forum page on Company.com but the forum was insightful nonetheless and definitely worth the £25.
Top Ten Tips
1. Meet and keep as many contacts as possible; they may be useful or say positive things about you.
2. Never turn down an opportunity because it may never come again.
3. Experience is more important than academics; the more qualifications, the more time out of the industry.
4. Do a variety of things; you may discover a better career path.
5. Age doesn't matter; Company recently had a 28 year old intern.
6. No blog is better than a poor blog.
7. Make your CV stand-out; be fun but to the point as employers don't have time to read life stories!
8. It takes time to break into the industry but once you're in, you're in.
9. Start from the bottom; be prepared for humility.
10. Mould but don't change yourself and remember how lucky you are.
- Victoria on how talking too much landed her in her dream job
After initially wishing doom upon the girl beside me when I saw her pick up a baby pink polish from her bag while I got grey, I realised that I had far too many baby pinks anyway and didn't own any grey polishes (which are useful for nail art). One gripe though was the smell, it smelt of wall paint. The Popchips were the first to go, the Miners Matte Factor Lip Paint in Cappuccino matched my lip colour exactly and oh my - smells like a cappuccino! A few items remain to be used like the tanning lotion which will be used prior to my holiday and the temporary spray-on hair colour which I also plan on bringing on holiday...then using on an unsuspecting friend while in Vegas. I was over the moon to receive the deodorant and toothpaste as I had just run out of both; these have quickly become new favourites. I love nail art so the ones included have been added to my growing collection of nail art stickers/wraps. The Kleenex blotting tissues are by far the best I've ever tried so I'm glad I received two. I added the Batiste dry shampoo and Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula to my existing collection and the toothpick which was a bizarre but amazing thing to include, has been added to my make-up bag for hot-male-in-the-vicinity emergencies.
The only problem with the bag was that while I was very excited to read the latest issue of Company which I'd seen included in the London bags and even some of the Manchester bags, there wasn't one included in my bag. I can only assume that they didn't have enough magazines to fill all the bags but it would've been great if one was included with mine, as I am constantly working on mood boards and rely on magazines for a lot of my images.
Overall, I would definitely recommend the Company Fashion Forum events. £25 is not a lot for a generous goody bag, bubbly and valuable industry advice from people who actually have first-hand experience of the industry. This is what I'd call an investment, and who knows this could be the best £25 you'll ever spend.