Gavriela Theologou

Fashion Marketing & Promotion BA (Hons)

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  • Year of study: Third (in 2023/24)
  • Length of course: Three years

There are a few reasons I decided to study at the University of Northampton. Firstly, the University aims to transform the lives of its students, by inspiring them to accomplish a variety of skills and knowledge during their years of studying and after graduation. The University itself has beautiful modern architecture, making it feel safe and approachable, and the campus is equipped with modern technology, so the face-to-face lessons are exciting and encourage students to use different equipment. Finally, the University offers a wide range of sports, societies, help and support, and activities for both students and staff.

Career aspirations and goals are different for everyone, even when studying the same course. On a personal level, I’ve got a few career goals, some of which include becoming a global marketer, working at an international level on successful marketing and promotion campaigns for fashion brands. I’d also like to become a trend forecaster, analysing fashion trends and helping brands to stay one step ahead. A major aspiration for me is to become an entrepreneur, selling sustainable clothing and potentially expanding this to an in-store brand. These are just a few of the achievements I’d like to accomplish during my career.

Studying Fashion Marketing & Promotion has helped me gain a wide range of experience and offered me a taste of working in the industry. Specifically, my course offers a variety of industry experiences, as a short placement is required to complete your second year of studies. Also, there is always a relevant event happening that you can attend, or even volunteer at – for example, I volunteered at African Fashion Week 2023 in London.

Throughout the three years of study, the course pushes you to develop in a lot of potential work areas such as fashion, merchandising, event management, photography, and marketing. In addition to practical development, the programme offers a range of skills development, such as the use of Adobe Creative software, portfolio development, teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving.

There’s a variety of skills that I’ve gained and developed during my degree that I feel will be most useful to my future career:

  • Ethical and sustainable practices – with customer awareness rapidly growing, it’s crucial for the fashion industry to put sustainable and ethical practices into action
  • Adaptability and creativity – the fashion industry is fast-paced and ever-changing, so this is a skill that will enable me to thrive in an innovative industry
  • Networking is a key skill to come out of university with, as communicating and working with different individuals is essential for career development
  • Communication and presentation skills – these will benefit me in client interactions and team projects
  • Understanding customer behaviour – this will help with the creation of marketing campaigns and audience targeting

For my placement, I worked as a Manager Assistant (Volunteer) at Oxfam in Kingsthorpe, Northampton, where I was covering a variety of roles, such as customer assistant, eCommerce lister, merchandiser, and administration. The role required a combination of skills, as well as keeping up to date with the fashion world.

A work placement is a beneficial experience, contributing to personal and professional growth. Working in a professional environment exposed me to different requirements and challenges, which enhanced my adaptability, a valuable skill. A placement can also help to clarify career goals by allowing you to experience the day-to-day responsibilities of a role. After completing my placement, my confidence has developed, as well as my experience, and it’s a good role to add to my CV.

I developed some useful employability skills during my placement, such as communication skills and teamwork – being exposed to customers and working with different employees helped me convey my ideas in different forms, and listening to my colleagues and taking their ideas and criticism into consideration will help when I’m working in the industry. Also, time management – as a student, I had to balance my work and university duties, so time management skills were essential to help with multi-tasking.

Having practical experience from a placement demonstrates to employers that you’ve applied your academic knowledge in a real-world setting and shows your ability to translate theory into action. It’s also beneficial for professional references, as you can ask your supervisors or colleagues to provide these. Positive references in the industry can significantly boost your chances of securing employment when you graduate.

My advice on applying for a placement is to always ask for guidance from your course tutors, as they are always pleased to help you ensure your placement offers the ideal setting for your personal development.

When you begin a placement, treat everyone with respect and professionalism – this is key to building a positive reputation in the workplace. Take time to reflect on what you’re learning, the challenges you’re facing, and how you’re growing, and be open to feedback by viewing it as an opportunity for improvement. I’d also recommend communicating with your manager before your placement starts, to clarify expectations and goals.

Alongside my studies, I’m a Student Ambassador for the University. This will enhance my career prospects as it enables me to be involved in activities outside my comfort zone, such as engaging with the public, and this has helped to boost my confidence. Involvement in extracurricular activities related to my field of study fills me with passion and demonstrates my commitment for my subject area.

As a third year, soon to graduate, my advice to undergraduates interested in this career path, would be to start networking and seeking experiences during your first year, as the three years go by so fast, and you need to grab every opportunity you can.

Studying Fashion Marketing & Promotion at the University of Northampton is one of the most enjoyable commitments I’ve experienced.