One of the Macromedia’s biggest benefits is its connection with other universities around the world. A major reason for Fashion Management students at Macromedia has been its collaboration with Istituto Marangoni – one of the world’s leading fashion schools with campuses in Milan, Shanghai, Paris, and London. This term, 14 students decided to move to London in order to gain foreign experience and truly understand where art, design and fashion origin and come to life.
Istituto Marangoni itself describes London as an “energizing melting pot.” Located in Shoreditch, the campus takes roots in a work environment that is characterized by graffiti and urban flair, as well as diversity and all different ethnicities. The concept is simple but effective: Learning from young and old professionals that have been part of the industry for years and can transfer their broad work experience that is grounded in theoretical knowledge. Flat hierarchies shape the learning experience. Everyone is called by their first names; lecturers will be sitting on the tables if they want to and share their social media accounts with students. It is all about creating a learning experience that conveys an inclusive feeling for everyone and strengthens a free-spirited mind. One can see that Istituto Marangoni is endeavored to develop solutions with their students together. Fashion is fast-paced, answers are not set in stone and criticism is absolutely desired.
The whole environment is highly motivating. Every day there will be an additional offer of lectures from young entrepreneurs that just started their own fashion business and want to share tips and advice or seminars from professionals that are working as Head of Retails, IT-Specialists, HR-Managers or Senior Buyers for brands like Burberry, Joseph, Chanel, Saint Laurent or MaxMara. They all convey the same message: You can achieve everything with a good qualification, a strong network and most of all: hard work.
In our two terms, we did exciting projects like planning a pop-up store for Chloé or a capsule collection for Bottega Veneta. The fact that these projects are accompanied by not only lecturers but actual employees from these brands that not only develop ideas with their students together but are part of the evaluation process, really lets you sink in the brands and understand their idea and image to the fullest. We all enjoyed the numerous opportunities of collaborating with these brands.
Due to the fact that London functions as an epicenter of fashion and art, it attracts many people that want to be part of that living dream. Looking for work is unavoidable for many students in order to be able to finance one of the most expensive cities in the world. My own recommendation would be: Try hard for the first two semesters. German has one of the best education systems in the world and good grades can open various doors for different scholarships. Good grades simply are a necessity for that. Apart from that, finding work in the fashion industry is relatively easy in times of higher unemployment rates and a longing for a professionalized workforce. I had the feeling that British people highly believe in German labor and will often favor your applications. As soon as you find accommodation, apply for a National Insurance number. It is for free and will prevent you from paying an exorbitant amount of taxes when working in the UK. Besides, Istituto Marangoni actually encourages everyone to actively look for jobs. Uni only takes place 3 days a week and shops in London are open every day (even Sundays!). They believe that the key to a successful career is to already gain work experience within your studies. Some abilities can’t be educated in university, they have to be adapted at actual workplaces. The career service can provide help for that. It helps you to review your CV and application letter as well as social media profiles like Instagram or LinkedIn that become more essential in terms of applications day by day.
Nevertheless, London is not only about studying and working all the time. London is huge and opportunities for free time activities are endless. Try to understand how London was built as a city and how the different districts interact with each other. The cultural differences between the UK and Germany are bigger than one would think and it’s interesting to watch how these differences influence the way we differ from the way we think to the way we dress to the way we behave. Parties in London are great fun as well. Enjoy the fact that British guys find German accents very cute. I would also encourage everyone to do things alone. It is great to be able to study abroad with good friends and have a nice time with them, but they will neither broaden your horizons nor let you understand the city. London is an option to really grow as a person and that can only happen if you dare to make experiences on your own. Try to be open and meet lots of people and try to leave your comfort zone and go to places on your own (I know how hard that is, I had to experience it myself).
For most people, studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Before moving, think about what you want to achieve in that time and how you want to do it. Being away from home definitely changes you as a person and makes you more mature. So, don’t waste your time with insecurities and fear or restraint.
All in all, I couldn’t be happier with my choice to move to London. I return as a person that got more of an idea on how the fashion industry works, how I can achieve my goals in career and life in general and met lots of new people that will stay in my life as good friends.
If you would like to gain more insight on how studying at Istituto Marangoni looks like: I did a takeover for the Instagram account of the Cologne campus that has some story highlights of my time abroad on it. Otherwise, feel free to text me on my personal account and ask me anything: _luisli.
Thank you for reading! Byeee.