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BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising

Strength-Focus-Resilience

Guest editors: Miala de Burca and Bianca Sano

As children, we both aspired to work in the fashion industry, and in our first year at Manchester Metropolitan University, our experiences were quite similar! First year was most definitely a learning curve, adjusting to the new university life being social, having jobs and learning. The rollercoaster of first year helped us to learn and develop the best study habits, which we all built on in the following years when, with more freedom in terms of how we chose to complete our assignments, and more room for creativity, we were all able to excel in our projects.

Whilst we were determined and motivated to do our best, we could not have done it without the help and support of our tutors, who would always push us and provide us help with anything we needed. This year, we were both supposed to be completing our industry placements, which, alongside other students’ placements, were unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic: Miala at Primark in Dublin, and Bianca at H&M in Stockholm. Although at the time this was devastating, we took it in our stride and decided to launch our own businesses, Hekla (bespoke knitwear) and Omorfiá (hand-crafted jewellery) as part of our final major projects. When else are you able to launch a business with so much support?

Miala de Burca, “I am still in disbelief that I did the course of my dreams, and I will look back on it with a smile for the rest of my life. I’m really sad to leave and for it to be over, but I’m so excited to start my career and throw myself into the real fashion world. I have met the most amazing friends that became my family here, and I hope to have them forever.”

Due to the wide range of talent within our cohort the final year research areas were diverse: Jasmine Williams developed an innovative sizing guide and Children’s Footwear range as a live brief for Matalan, mentored by academic staff and an industry footwear specialist. For his Business Project, Charlie Rogers built on his work over the previous 2 years to develop industry ready software solutions for more sustainable and transparent supply chains. During lockdown, students excelled at developing new business concepts including apps in sustainability, clothing brands and homeware. In addition, half of the cohort opted for research covering subjects in diversity, cultural heritage and the future of fashion.

Bianca Sano, “Coming to university had always been a dream of mine but being able to have studied fashion buying and merchandising, definitely makes it 10x better.”

I think we would both agree that the course was really beneficial: within the Fashion Buying and Merchandising course we learnt about so many other aspects of fashion: finance, marketing, product development, quality analysis, design & supply chain management. This gave us the freedom to choose what path to take.

As a cohort, students have worked incredibly hard throughout the three years at Manchester Fashion Institute. However, the final year is where the students’ true resilience has shown. The pandemic has been an incredibly hard time for everyone, regardless of what stage they are at in their life but completing the final year of your degree at home is particularly tough. Whether you started a business, worked on a live brief, or completed a research project while being separated from friends, family and university facilities, the skills gained are priceless and the knowledge and determination acquired will be used for years to come.

Cathy Chase, Programme Leader, BA(Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising

It is time to celebrate the end of a fantastic degree with the Class of 2021; we are immensely proud to have played a part in building the foundations that start our graduates’ careers. We have seen them develop their knowledge, analysis and enquiry in all aspects of fashion business, making memories through taught sessions and with staff who have mentored and supported them to build their confidence and professionalism. They will have developed friendships that will last a lifetime and a network of support for the future.

This last year especially they have shown great resilience, creativity and innovation. Their positive attitude to learning has given them brilliant opportunities resulting in the presentation of their fantastic projects displaying their skills in business, entrepreneurship and research. This positive attitude, thirst for knowledge and desire to succeed is a strength in all of them. 45% of of our Class of 2021 graduates have secured jobs before they have even graduated and their employability skills and professional approach is admirable.

From the staff on the programme, we wish all our Class of 2021 the very best of everything in their chosen career. We would like to leave them with this message – “The fashion industry is ever changing, but remember; you are the future of fashion, follow your own path, excel in all you do, think big and achieve high”.

Poppy Catchpole

Lucy Hicklin

Rebecca Franks

Jasmine Williams

Ella Mendes Da Costa

Bianca Sano

Joseph Mccarthy

Zoe Wilson

Shamoya Ellis

Miala De Burca

Hannah Murphy