MA student interviews Caryn Franklin MBE
MA Creative Direction for Fashion and Beauty student, Megan Faithfull recently had the fantastic opportunity to interview legendary fashion commentator Caryn Franklin MBE, for her Researching Visual Culture assignment.
MA Creative Direction for Fashion and Beauty student, Megan Faithfull recently had the fantastic opportunity to interview legendary fashion commentator Caryn Franklin MBE, for her Researching Visual Culture assignment. We caught up with her to find out more about the interview, her main takeaways and how her postgraduate studies are going so far.
Hi Megan, tell us a bit about the assignment your interview with Caryn Franklin was part of:
This assignment was a part of a module called Researching Visual Culture, which was during my first semester on my MA. We were asked to write a 3,500 word critical review, which debated a relevant manifestation of visual culture, such as an exhibition, a publication, or an event such as a conference or performance.
Ever since my undergraduate degree, I became really interested in working with brands who encourage diversity, inclusivity and equality. As soon as I heard about the assignment, I knew I wanted to focus on the Savage X Fenty show, as it was such a relevant and inspiring form of visual culture. It allowed me to speak about some of the most important issues in the fashion industry, including the beauty standards set in relation to race, culture and size, as well as focusing on feminism and the stigma around female sexuality.
The module really challenged me, as I was not used to writing such in-depth assignments. But I decided to take it as an opportunity to educate myself and research some of the most interesting articles/books on these topics.
How did your interview with Caryn come about?
As soon as I heard about the Researching Visual Culture assignment, I knew I wanted to focus on an event which concentrated on body positivity, diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry, as this is something I am extremely passionate about. When speaking to my tutor about this, and mentioning what event I wanted to focus on, she suggested that I reach out to Caryn Franklin, as she thought it would be perfect to discuss further key issues debated in my review.
I then researched Caryn and got in touch with her agent who replied straight away and said she would be happy to do an interview with me. We scheduled a phone call for the following week and spoke for almost an hour which was amazing.
What were the main things you wanted to find out, and the key takeaways from the interview?
The interview provided me with the opportunity to speak to someone who has similar views to me, in relation to the fashion industry; initially I just wanted to hear about her experiences. I asked her questions about her career, how she got to where she is today and what her proudest achievements were so far.
Then, we went on to speaking about issues involved in the fashion industry in relation to the body positivity movement and current beauty standards. I wanted to know who she found to be inspiring, and making a difference in the fashion industry, which led me on to speaking about Rihanna (and the Savage X Fenty show)- because for me, she is an inspiration. Finally, I asked her what she wanted to see change in the fashion industry in the next few years.
There were so many ‘key takeaways’ from the interview; in my opinion, the most important was to ensure I stay true to my morals when I go into industry, and stand up for what I believe in. Being so young, and because of my previous work experience, I was always led to believe that my opinion won’t matter until I’m in a position to physically change things. Caryn allowed me to realise that, as a society, we all have the power to help create change and that we need to be made aware of how important that is.
Why did you decide to study this MA at Solent, and how are you finding the course so far?
I graduated from Solent in 2019 with a BA in Fashion Management with Marketing. I worked in retail for a while and was still unsure about what I actually wanted to do. After a few months, I got an internship at a fashion maternity brand as a Social Media and PR intern for six months.
During the internship, I realised I didn’t want to work in marketing, as it was not creative enough for me. However, it did provide me with the opportunity of working on a fashion shoot for the first time- which changed everything for me. I was introduced to the Creative Director and Creative Assistant, and after I worked with them a few times I was sure that this was the career path I wanted to go down.
In the summer of 2020, I decided that going back into education would be the best option for me, so I applied for the MA and got accepted. I am really enjoying being in education again, and loving being challenged by the course. Before I started the MA, I told myself I was going to network and take every opportunity possible, so I could learn as much as I could from the people around me- which is what I have done so far.
What are your future career plans after completing your MA?
My plan after my MA is to get a job working on photoshoots (in fashion) in a creative assistant role. I am extremely passionate about working for brands who have a strong message of body positivity and inclusivity, so I hope to work for a brand who specialise in this. I also aspire to work for either a lingerie or sportswear company, as these are the industries which I am most interested in.
In the next 10 years, my aim is to become a Creative Director for a brand which is making a difference in fashion. Furthermore, I hope to be a person responsible for seeing change in the industry and achieve a number of things for women in fashion, and hopefully be known as someone as inspiring as Caryn Franklin.