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A book Bethany Wray has featured in - credit Rae Finn

Bethany Wray

BA (Hons) Fashion Promotion and Communication  

Graduated 2013

Bethany Wray

Tell us a little about your career story so far.
After graduating, I was unemployed for about three months (but applying and searching for jobs every day) before being offered a graphic design job at the ethical fashion brand People Tree. It was only a temporary contract covering maternity leave but it enabled me to make the big move to London.

After three months, I was offered a permanent contract and stayed for two and a half years in the end. I then moved on to Chanel, where I have been for nearly two years now.

Tell us about what you are doing now and what it involves.
I currently work as a graphic designer on the fragrance and beauty side at Chanel – covering makeup, perfumes and skincare.

A typical day involves working on projects, big and small, for stores and counters and for our in-house training academy. I work closely with the marketing department and also do projects for press, media and international markets.

What’s your career highlight so far?
The part of my career I'm most proud of so far was the run up to Chanel's first standalone fragrance launch in 15 years - Gabrielle Chanel. I really enjoyed being part of the excitement and buzz that filled the office, and I got to work on some really cool projects as a result.

What tips would you give to someone wanting a career in your industry?

I'd highly recommend working at a smaller company to begin with, as you get exposure to all aspects of the business and, when you grow in confidence, can really make an impact.

I would also make sure you work on your portfolio all through your career, as you never know when you might need to show it off! I have a website so I can easily share my work with others and make a good first impression.

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Lauren Hunter's work

Lauren Hunter

BA (Hons) Fashion Photography

Graduated 2015

Lauren Hunter

After graduating, I started the long process of applying for jobs. It was a lot harder than I thought! Eventually I landed a job on a graduate scheme for buying and merchandising. It wasn’t my dream job, but I wasn’t in the position to turn it down. I resigned after five months – and it was the best decision I ever made.

People thought I was unwise to leave, but it really wasn’t what I wanted to do, and I was determined to find a job that I loved. It paid off, as I’m now working as a Creative Assistant for Dorothy Perkins in London!

Less than two months after I started, I organised an entire photoshoot in South Africa. It was a huge responsibility but everything went to plan and I was so glad I was given the opportunity to prove myself so early on. 

The main part of my job role is to organise and assist on photoshoots, but I do a variety of tasks, including casting models, researching photoshoot concepts and organising the retouching of images. Every day is different, which is why I love my job!

If you want to get into the industry, get as much practical experience as possible. Approach companies, apply for internships, and use your summers wisely. It can be hard to land a great internship, and even harder to fund it. This can be very off-putting but once you have that experience on your CV it’ll be worth it!

When applying for employment the main thing I noticed was that for even an entry-level job they expect you to have so much experience. Getting this on your CV will not only improve your knowledge and skills but it will definitely make you stand out from your competitors.

Another tip is to network – LinkedIn is your best friend! Now that I work in the fashion industry it’s surprising how many people you meet and how they are all connected. Always present yourself well and be kind to everyone – you never know when or where you’ll meet them again.

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Jo Joyce styling a model

Jo Joyce

BA (Hons) Fashion Styling and Creative Direction  

Graduated

Jo Joyce

Tell us about your recent work placements.
In my most recent role at Wonderland Magazine, I was constantly rushed off my feet. There were a lot of returns that had to be done from the photoshoots, which meant I would be travelling around London for the majority of the day meeting different PR companies and brands such as Fendi and Gucci.

When I wasn’t doing returns, I would either be on a shoot assisting the styling or the most fun task would be when I could sit in the office, looking at the most recent runway shows and sourcing looks for upcoming shoots - it was like free shopping with high-end designer brands!

How did you secure the work experience placement?

I used Instagram to look at different magazines' pages, as well as different editors/stylists' accounts. I'd then research the magazine/individual using Google or LinkedIn to get their contact details and send over my CV and appropriate cover letter. 

All my cover letters would be similar, but would be adjusted to each magazine/stylist. It’s so important for these to be strong and to make you stand out. Make sure to use an email subject line that makes you stand out too!

With Wonderland magazine they replied to my email asking when I would be available to come in for an interview and then straight after my interview they had me starting! 

How have your studies at Solent helped prepare you for this opportunity?
My studies at Solent have prepared me for this opportunity by helping me with organisation and time management for the real working world, something that I’ve never found that easy. The 1:1 tutor sessions give you great guidance and support when you need it and you can feel comfortable talking to them. They’re always willing to help, they’re understanding and will always believe in you. It’s really nice having people that genuinely care about you and your success.

What advice would you give to others?
I think it’s so important to just be yourself at an interview - it’s easy to notice if you’re not being genuine and you should dress how YOU feel most comfortable (I wore trainers to my interview) because at the end of the day, you’re going to be working in a fashion environment and run off your feet all day, so stay comfy but stylish!

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One of Sophie Mahmud's designs

Sophie Mahmud

BA (Hons) Fashion Graphics

Graduated 2017

Sophie Mahmud

At Solent, I learnt all different aspects of graphic design for fashion, as well as new software I hadn’t known existed before starting university life. I’ve now got a bag full of skills in more areas I could have imagined, which have enabled me to stand out from the crowd to employers.

My career highlight so far was having my design sold on ASOS, which was really surreal. I've been lucky enough to work with big brands before I even graduated. It made me think, 'if I can do this, I can aim for anything'.

I now work for a jersey supplier company in London, which supplies designed clothing to Topshop, Urban Outfitters and Miss Selfridge, to name a few. My role is creating/drawing designs (graphics) and shapes ready to be sent to the factories for samples. Usually a buyer sends over information they want and we make the magic happen.

I’d advise those hoping to get into the industry to be passionate and willing to learn things that may not be directed to where you think you want to go. I had an open mind – I wanted to be an editorial designer for a magazine, but came out the other end skilled in lots of other areas, and mainly wanting to pursue a career in print design.

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Ellie's work

Ellie-Paige Richardson  

BA (Hons) Fashion Styling and Creative Direction

Graduated 2017

Ellie-Paige Richardson

This course is for you if you have a creative flair and innovative ideas regarding fashion and makeup.

To me, fashion styling is allowing yourself to be creative and unique in fashion and beauty. I’ve always tried to push myself creatively and think up new makeup ideas which push the boundaries. At Solent, we had to do 100 hours of industry-relevant work experience, which helped me look for professional jobs, and make a creative CV and portfolio to send to potential employers.

I’m now working for the company I did my internship with – In Your Dreams. As a makeup artist for the company, I attend festivals and corporate events, making over clients with glitter and gems made into intricate designs.

A typical day for me could see me commuting to London to go to an event with In Your Dreams, or undertaking a variety of jobs as a freelance makeup artist. It can vary quite a lot and I’m never doing the same thing twice, which keeps things interesting.

My career highlight so far is being featured on social media by big makeup brands, such as Nyx Cosmetics and Eldora False Eyelashes. I also recently won a competition with some of my makeup looks. I won £500 worth of high end makeup, which will help me build up my freelance kit even more.

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