Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Experience of a First Year Fashion Student

Hi everyone!

As of Monday 8th May, I have officially finished my first year at university studying Fashion Management. It has been an amazing year and I have loved it. I love my course, my friends, my flatmates, my city and everything else. I am sad that first year has ended but very excited to see what will come with my next year here.

I thought I would do a post talking about my course as I know many people who might be interested in or considering doing a similar course. Hopefully by sharing my experience of my first year on the course, I can help to give anyone who wants it a little more insight.  So for some background information: I am currently studying Fashion Management BA (Hons) at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. Here's a link to the course content for some further information:

First things first: This is a BUSINESS course. It is not an art course or a design course and is not based on the creative side of the industry.  This course is ideal for people interested in becoming a buyer, merchandiser, fashion journalist, stylist, editor, etc. We are based in the business school and do reports and exams, same as any other business student. It is not an easy course.  My modules for first semester were Marketing, The Fashion Business and Fashion Design Concepts and Communication.  The Fashion Business involved research into fads and styles throughout the 20th century and what events/people inspired these fashions. Our coursework was a 2500 word report about a chosen clothing category (e.g. bridal wear) through the 20th century including a picture timeline of the category throughout the decades and then a discussion of current trends within the category. This was a really interesting module as it provided a good general background on the fashion industry and made me more aware of trends and important people within the industry.  This was, however, by no means an easy module. Our report had to be referenced correctly and filled with academic underpinning. It was a business report, simply about fashion. 
Our second business module was Marketing. For this module we had lectures with Events Management, Journalism, International Business and many other business degrees.  This was a pure business module and we all sat a 2 and a half hour exam involving a case study and business questions relating to the marketing mix, services, pricing strategies and many other features of business. It is important that members of the fashion industry have an in depth understanding of marketing strategies as fashion's main role is to sell clothes. 
The third module was a more creative one. We had to use design software such as Photoshop and Kaledo to design 6 mood boards showcasing a t shirt from a collection of a brand collaboration of your own invention (I did Zara Phillips for Jack Wills). If you are anything like me and not artistically talented, this may seem very intimidating. Don't worry. This is not a test of your photoshop or design skills, it is about your ability to stick to a brief and produce an appropriate end result. I did struggle with this module as I had never used photoshop before and there were people on my course who already had fashion related degrees and were experts in it. I should't have worried as most of the other people on my course were in the same boat as me: straight from school and hardly any experience. Our lecturers are always willing to help us out and mark us fairly, knowing that mostly all of us have no experience whatsoever. 

Another thing I was really worried about before joining my course was the people. It sounds really bad but I was worried that the girls would all fit the Emily from The Devil Wears Prada bitchy, stylish girl vibe. I could not have been more wrong. I can honestly say that everyone on my course is so lovely and friendly and I've made some amazing friends over this year.  There is a girl on my course who has studied design for 5 years, a boy with a degree in Vet Med and someone who studied Law and Management for a year. We are such a wide mix of personalities and experience but we all get on so well. It's great. There is literally nothing I would change about my experience this year.  

I hope that I've given a little more insight to anyone thinking about studying a fashion degree. If any of you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will try to help out!

Much love,
Cat x

Wednesday, 3 May 2017


Hi everyone,

Before coming to study in Aberdeen I had never really been here. When telling people Robert Gordon's was my first choice university, most people responded with 'Why would you want to live in Aberdeen? - its so grey and boring!' I have to say I completely disagree. Aberdeen might be grey, but it is 100% not boring. It's not even really grey, it's a kind of sparkly silver. I know many people might assume that I would find Aberdeen exciting as it's a city and maybe I'm from a small town in Scotland... well no, I'm actually from Glasgow and can truthfully say I feel much more at home in Aberdeen. I'm writing this post as I've had a few friends that have been applying to uni this year completely ignore Aberdeen as a choice even though it has 2 great universities and a really good college. Most of the time their reason is: "it's boring and dull". I really think people should give Aberdeen a chance. I think since moving here 8 months ago, I can count on both hands how many times it has rained. It is a city, with a beach and countryside. It has 2 cinemas, 7 shopping centres and an arcade. It is also such a student friendly city.

Literally, just look at this beach. Would you EVER think that this was Aberdeen? It's amazing being in such close proximity to the sea.

I also think the buildings in Aberdeen are so beautiful. As Aberdeen is known as the 'Granite City', most of the buildings are made out of granite and are very intricately designed. Google 'Nandos, Belmont Street, Aberdeen' if you want an example... If you ever needed a little inspiration in the city all you need to do is look up.

Both of these buildings are just typical examples of what you would find outside your door in Aberdeen.

One of my favourite things about Aberdeen is the street artwork. On just about very street you walk down there is some sort of hidden painting somewhere. This art really adds to the trendy, student-y, modern feel of the city. It's kind of like a secret only the residents know to look for.

All these anonymous pieces of work really add to the friendly and funky atmosphere.

I've always been really patriotic towards Scotland... specifically to Glasgow. I never thought that I would feel so dedicated to another city but I am definitely just as strongly patriotic to Aberdeen and I have absolutely no regrets about my university choice and my city choice.

Much love,
Cat x

Saturday, 22 April 2017

My Sunny Day Places

Hi everyone,

How are we all? I'm currently in the process of purchasing my own domain name so be excited for a new blog site!! It's also that time of year again when there's only a week left of uni and I'm drowning in coursework and not leaving my room for days on end...not a fun time. That's why, when there's even little bit of sun and a little bit of spare time, it's important to take advantage of it purely for your own sanity. Having moved to Aberdeen, I have discovered two places that are perfect for a sunny day. To be fair, I'm pretty sure these places are every Aberdeen student's favourite sunny day places but who needs to be original anyway. If you live in Aberdeen or are visiting there anytime soon and haven't been to Cup or Revolution, I highly recommend you do.

Cup is a little cafe on Little Belmont Street and it's honestly the cutest place ever. It has an Alice in Wonderland theme and it is just such a nice, relaxing place and the food is absolutely ace!


As the sign says, Cup is exquisite! The hot chocolate I had was absolutely incredible - the maltesers really make all the difference! The cafe is also so well priced it makes it a perfect spot for the skint student. I love going for lunch or brunch here with some friends after uni or with my mum when she comes to visit. Cup is definitely a great place to be on a sunny day.

My other favourite sunny day place is Revolution. Rev is such a cool bar on Belmont Street. It has a really cool, vintage feel to it and the cocktails are amazing. If you go on  Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, all cocktails are £4 making it an even better place for students to spend their time.  Rev is definitely the place for students to go on a sunny day. It has a little outdoor section which feels so nice and chilled when the suns out and you have a cocktail in hand. My favourite cocktails are a Bubblegum Daiquiri and a Pornstar Martini, so if you're stuck you can't go wrong with one of those!


I hope this post has given you guys some inspiration for a study break or a summer day. If you are also studying for exams or drowning in coursework, I wish you the best of luck and please remember to take a few breaks!! 

Much love,
Cat x

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Mini Post

Hi everyone,

Hope everyone is happy and well! Just now, there is only 2 weeks until Easter break and then 3 weeks after that until the end of first year which is so scary! I still feel like I have just started! Anyway,  we're at that point in the semester where everyone's a bit down and bored of uni. I've been feeling it too so today I met up with my friend Hollie- who I haven't seen for 2 weeks which is really weird- for lunch and we ended up exploring Aberdeen a little bit and found some cute places to take some pictures. As I haven't posted in a while I thought I'd share them! Sorry this is a bit of a rubbish post but Aberdeen is too cute not to post pictures of!

Outfit details:

Shoes - adidas superstars
Trousers - Topshop
Belt - New Look
Top - Tkmaxx
Jacket - Misguided

Much love,
Cat x

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Summer Is Coming

Hi everyone,

If you also live in the UK, I'm sure you will be feeling the exact same as me: bored of winter. All we have had lately is rain and wind and rain and wind and more rain and wind. It's a bit demotivating especially as it is cold too! But yesterday we actually had a sunny day in Aberdeen! It was very exciting, they are definitely not a common occurrence! My friend Hollie and I had some things to do in the morning but when we were done it was still early and such a nice day we decided to go to Aberdeen beach.
 Since I moved to Aberdeen in September I had only actually been to the beach twice before and both times it was horrible weather. It was so nice to go when it was bright and sunny and to be reminded of why I love Aberdeen.

Just LOOK at these photos! It doesn't even look like Scotland! Hollie and I were both walking around thinking we were in Majorca or something. The beach is honestly one of my favourite parts of Aberdeen. I find it so relaxing and nice that a 5 minute walk out of the city in one direction there is the countryside, and in the other direction there is the beach.

Any beach is a good beach in the summer. I always find that I end up really stressed out before summer and comparing myself to friends that are maybe going on holiday to America and trying to plan loads of holidays that I forget how nice Scotland actually is and how much there is to do.

Scotland has beaches, countryside and amazing cities and they are all easy to access by public transport or car.

I do have some plans for summer this year that I am excited for and a big part of my summer will be working so I can save money (student life) but I'm going to try and explore some of my home country as it is such a beautiful place.

While we were at the beach, we decided to get lunch at a cafe called 'The Pavillion' that was on the boulevard. It was such a nice wee place and very well priced - if you are in Aberdeen I highly recommend that you go!

I had a bacon and mozzarella panini with crisps and a tango apple all for under a tenner and it was amazing! It was such a nice day that we actually sat outside and somehow we managed to avoid the seagulls!

Aberdeen beach is actually really cool and has a lot of funky graffiti on walls and benches. Yesterday really made me very excited for summer and I can't wait to get through my coursework and get to the nice weather! Naturally, we had to take advantage of the sun and get ice cream! Best. Decision. Ever.

I hope you are all as excited for summer as I am and hopefully this post will give you a little motivation to make it through the last of the rain and cold!

Much love,
Cat x

Monday, 27 February 2017

Living in Halls

Hi everyone!

How are we all? Sorry for the inactivity again, I've been really busy lately with university and adjusting to moving out. My blog is also going through a makeover which will be revealed very soon so this post is just to keep you interested!
 Speaking of university, thats kind of what this post is about... moving out for university. For anyone that doesn't know, in September 2016, I moved from Glasgow to Aberdeen (about 3 hours apart) to study Fashion Management at Robert Gordon University.  For anyone, moving out of your family home is a big, scary experience and the thought of living completely independently - buying all your own meals, cooking for yourself, etc is terrifying. I was no acceptation. I was so nervous to move out and into my new flat with new flatmates but I can promise you it has been one of the best experiences of my life!

For anyone that knows Aberdeen, I'm staying in Woolmanhill Flats which is an RGU student residence. Woolmanhill has a reputation of being a bit grim and party central. Yes, its not as nice as living at home and it is relatively basic and looks gross from outside but I love my flat. You can make the best of anything and Woolmanhill feels relatively homey to me and my flatmates. As for the party central... it has 700 1st year students living in it. Its going to be loud but its also a great way to meet people and make new friends.  Luckily for me, I get on really well with my flatmates which has made moving out feel a lot easier. I live with 7 other 18 year old girls and although you may have thought this would lead to bitchiness and fallouts we actually all manage to get along relatively smoothly. I think the most important thing to remember when moving out is these people are not your family. They aren't going to tolerate your mess in the living room, your unwashed dishes in the kitchen and your inability to take the bins out.  If you clear up after yourself and give each other space then there is absolutely no reason you can't all get on well,

The social life for people who move out always seems to be so much better than those who stay at home. For me, when I compare friends who moved out with friends who stay at home, in the majority of cases my friends who moved out have found it so much easier to settle in and meet new people. I think this is probably due to the fact that we have thrown ourselves in at the deep end - you can't just go home at the end of your lecture and hang about with your school friends. Don't get me wrong, school friends are important but its more important to put effort into meeting people and that is so much easier when you move out.  I've had people who have stayed at home asking me 'How did you know so many people when you started university?' I didn't. I met everyone from my residencies and its easier to bond with people when you know everyone is in the exact same boat - alone and wanting to make friends. When you move out or even just start uni, don't worry about what people will think. Just be smiley and approachable and you will do well.

I also want to mention homesickness in this post. Its normal, okay guys. Everyone gets it at some point even if they don't seem to or say they don't. Its so easy to compare your experience to all your school friends who are posting it all over snapchat and Instagram. In reality though, they're probably having the same experiences and emotions as you are and are just trying to make it seem super cool to make themselves feel better. Although you are away from everyone, remember that your family and friends are only a phone call away and you will still see them loads! and I promise you, after the first month you will be totally fine and loving life. Take it from me - I had tonsillitis 3 times during my first semester including the first week and I've made it through!

Honestly, I would 100% recommend moving out into halls for your first year university. The independence you gain and experience is unique and incredible. If you are worried about it not feeling like home, it probably won't at the beginning. Take some photos or something from home with you, decorate your room amazingly and get excited about only being responsible for yourself and you'll get used to it. People expect you to make mistakes when you are 18 and living alone for the first time, it's okay to ask for help. That's why its so much easier to move out for the first time when you're 18 than when you are 22 and everyone expects you to know what to do.  So if you are wavering between moving out and staying at home, please MOVE OUT. You will not regret it!!

To finish I have just attached some photos of my university room which I actually really like. If you have any questions or worries I can help with about moving out, freshers or starting uni please leave them in the comments and I will answer them as best as I can!

Much love,
Cat x

Sunday, 25 September 2016

My Topshop Interview Experience

Hi everyone,

Before I start, I just wanted to apologise for being so inactive lately, I've just moved up to Aberdeen to start university so I'm just getting settled in. I'll be getting back to the weekly blog post now though!

As I have just moved to a new city and I now am technically living 'independantly' I felt like getting a job would probably be a good idea as I have a major shopping addiction! In Aberdeen, there are 3 shopping centres - Union Square, Bon Accord&St. Nicholas centre and the Trinity centre. Union Square and Bon Accord are probably slightly more fashion retail based but the Trinity centre does have a Debenhams! When I noticed on the Bon Accord website that Topshop were looking for sales advisors, I had to apply.  So, I handed in my CV and didn't really expect to hear much else as I assumed many more 'fashion experienced' people would have also applied. A couple of weeks later, however, I got a phone call asking me to come in for a Visual Merchandiser interview (I should mention that in my previous job I was a Visual Merchandiser for Nutmeg, the clothing branch within Morrison's).

The first interview literally lasted about 10 minutes, it was a very informal chat with one of the store managers who was absolutely lovely. It was 1 to 1 which was good as it felt more relaxed.  She asked me what I was doing at Uni - Fashion Management - and a bit about my VM experience. I was also asked what kind of job I was looking for and then she told me what job they could offer. The manager said that I was great on paper but a lot younger than they had expected - obviously, I don't have a degree or anything yet! I was told that I would hear whether or not I would get a second interview by the end of the week so I left feeling reasonably happy with how the interview went.

Later on that afternoon, I got a phone call inviting me back for a second interview. This interview was going to be a practical so I was a lot more nervous! When I arrived, I had another mini interview where I was asked about my customer service experience, how I take feedback, my availability and how I keep up with current trends. I was then taken onto the shop floor and given a rail to set up with non clothing items such as purses, umbrellas, stationery, travel cups and phonecases. This was a lot of fun but very difficult. The whole process was supposed to take 30 minutes but it took me an hour and a half! During this time, some customers also came up to me asking for help just assuming that I worked at Toyshop so I had to try and help them! When I was finished, I had to briefly discuss why I had set it up like I had and then I was allowed to leave. The managers told me that they were impressed with what I had done and that I would hear either way the following week.

I had sort of come to the conclusion that I hadn't got the job as I felt I lacked the necessary experience and I had found the practical quite stressful. When the manager phoned me back, I was right, I hadn't been given the VM job but she had been impressed with me enough to pass on my CV and her recommendation to the Topshop concession in Debenhams! I was extremely grateful for this but by this point I had already accepted a job in Miss Selfridge.

I wanted to write this post as I know many girls and boys probably would love to get into Topshop or Hopman so I thought sharing my experience might help any of you out if you have an interview or are planning on applying! I would say the main thing Topshop look for is passion about fashion (what a cliche). If you show your personality and prove to them you would fit in well with the brand, you will do great!

I'm sorry this post has been so long, I was trying not to miss anything out! While researching for my interviews I came across this blog - that has a really good post about Topshop VM interviews that would be helpful to read as well.

I hope you enjoy reading this post!
Much love,
Cat x