The Fashion industry isn’t a hobby, it’s a real job.

Date 14 March 2024

In this blog, Courtney shares her experiences from her Fashion Marketing and Promotion BA (Hons) degree course and where it’s enabled her to get to, as well as seeking to shut down the conception that fashion careers are saturated.

Courtney Eliza

Despite all the negative comments, such as “fashion isn’t a job,” or my favourite, “pick a real course,” from my peers at the time, I still did it, I chose the course – Fashion Marketing and Promotion BA (Hons) at the University of Northampton. It had all the modules I wanted to experience, study trips abroad and at home, and was hosted at a new campus with fresh perspectives. I wanted to do it because I loved the fashion industry and all its art, but I also wanted to prove people wrong and change their negative visualisations of the art and creative industry.

Unfortunately, creative subjects and careers are still seen as side hustles, which puts so many young people off taking these courses at university or going into the industry itself. Newsflash! It’s quite the opposite and I’ll prove it. Admittedly, my first year didn’t exactly go to plan. Imagine, it’s late 2020, you’re sat in bed on a cold autumn day, about to start your first class via Zoom because of Covid-19. It was lonely, but I took advantage of being at home and researched the hell out of the fashion industry – the history, the facts and the trend predictions – to up my level and put real knowledge into my projects. Fashion photography, fashion history, marketing and promotion – it was all pretty exciting, and I ended up getting my first A+ without even physically stepping foot into a classroom! This only increased my motivation for the second year, where we would meet our classmates, lecturers and modules.

Fast forward to September 2021. My Grandad had recently passed from Covid, and my ambition only got stronger, purely for him. That’s when it all changed for me. It was the beginning of Year Two, the year of opportunity. I finally met my classmates, and bonded closely with two of my best friends, I met my lecturers, and found out more about the upcoming modules, which included planning a fashion event, working on the promotional side of fashion, graphic design, fashion photography, and much more. I also began documenting my experience as a fashion student via TikTok (@courtzeliza), allowing me to interact with the coolest fashion students and graduates from other universities. I started off by giving tutorials on fashion graphics, and ‘Day in The Life’ videos, to inspire others to pursue their creative dreams and choose to study a fashion course.

I then took on my big fashion photography project, for which I created an editorial cover and double page spread inspired by Dazed Magazine. Alongside this project, we planned a fashion runway event at a nightclub in Northampton, creating trend mood boards for our own made-up brands, and upgrading our skills in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Then at the end of the second year, we got to do work experience on a study trip to New York City – by far one of the best opportunities we were given. To meet various designers, showroom assistants, stylists and others, with our classmates and lecturers, was a dream come true. We met with Dover Street Market NYC the week before The Met Gala to talk about previous celebrity outfits and visitors they’ve had, such as ASAP Rocky. We also got to sightsee, as well as my favourite part – shopping! I filmed a lot of content for my TikTok, specifically about The Met Gala, which gave me over 1m views, so it was super beneficial to me. I will say, this year went super-fast. I didn’t expect university to go as fast as it did, but I suppose when you’re having fun, that’s what happens.

Third year. That’s scary enough as two words. Not knowing what to expect, I went in with full confidence. The projects and modules were announced, and I was a happy girl: brand collaboration. We had to take two opposite brands and create a collaboration for them – I went for Jaded London and Carhartt. The project consisted of creating outfits to suit both aesthetics, promotions, fake social media posts, and more. I planned the shoot, styled the models, created graphic designs and social media pages, and drew up sketches.

During the third year, there were opportunities to go on local fashion trips in Northampton and we had guest lecturers from all different walks of life. Our final project was to create a website portfolio to showcase our work. Seeing my growth and journey through University made me even more ambitious and eager to achieve my goals – my art, my ideas, my thoughts, even my change in opinions and trends! This was the perfect way to end my time studying for an undergraduate degree.

Now, for the most exciting part: my present! In September 2023, I launched my business Fashion of Social (@fashionofsocial), reporting on the latest news and trends from Fashion Week, Met Gala, fashion award shows and events, creating in-person and virtual events for fashion students, graduates and aspiring industry workers, as well as online courses to increase your work experience, resources and more. In six months, we’ve reached 20K followers and had a tonne of engagement . . .  I’m talking millions. We’ve been noticed by Bella Hadid, The Perfect Magazine, Lila Moss, Molly-Mae Hague, Julia Fox and many more huge names. Unfortunately, many fashion media companies currently only accommodate and feature upper-class, fully funded designers and businesses, but I want to change that and showcase graduate fashion, student work, and underrepresented artists, alongside the big mainstream companies.

I hope my story inspires you to follow your heart and pursue a career in the arts and creative industry. There ARE opportunities out there. There IS enough space for you, and there IS a career to be made. Because guess what? Fashion is not a hobby.

Courtney Eliza, University of Northampton Fashion Marketing and Promotion graduate
Courtney Eliza

Courtney Eliza is a recent Fashion Marketing and Promotion BA (Hons) graduate. Since leaving the University, she has founded her own fashion media business, where she reports on fashion news and trends, and provides coaching to others within the industry.