Last weekend, we headed to the Vogue Festival panel discussion chaired by Vogue‘s deputy editor Emily Sheffield, who discussed careers with CSM’s Louise Wilson, The Telegraph’s Fashion Editor Lisa Armstrong, McQueen’s Sarah Burton, Daniel Marks – director of The Communications Store and British Vogue Editor-in-Chief Alexandra Shulman. If you didn’t get the chance to head down, fear not! We have made a selection of their wise words and epic errors to help you out (our fave: drink wine to relax and never refer to PR as ‘Pubic Relations’.)


Let’s start off with Louise Wilson’s three-word philosophy for applicants: LOTS OF WORK. Your portfolio should show both individualism and skill, which could be anything from color to 3D or drawing. “When we say four projects, that means four projects. Not two, not one!” Though, she doesn’t call being a fashion design student ‘hard work’ as it is mostly ‘holding a pencil.’

It’s also refreshing to hear that even the big bosses make mistakes. Louise says it’s an essential part of the MA course, whilst Daniel Marks recalls a proofreading error when he had sent out invitations under the name ‘Aurelia Pubic Relations‘.

In a similar vein, Alexandra Shulman sent an ‘I am not going to hear one more word from these egocentric tyrants,’ back to the designers of a fashion house, instead of her colleague. To beat anxiety, she swears by a glass of wine.

Hello Tumblr-generation, how would you like your research today?! According to Sarah Burton, it can be anything, from a painting to a piece of music or a glass of water. But ignore the snobbery around it, as it doesn’t have to be an intellectual piece of research (relief), but just about feeling what’s around you.

Louise advises to research MA courses carefully, otherwise ‘it’s like researching a holiday to go skiing: you check out a resort, you wouldn’t arrive with a bikini.’

Another good advice she gives, is to care a little more about the honesty in your CV than the weight of your degree. Work experience, according to Daniel Marks, often counts more than the degree, too. Better get those fingers typing out job- and internship applications…

Developing contacts when interning, and maintaining them is something that doesn’t always have a ready-made manual. The most important thing, Daniel says, is to keep your head up and not in your iPhone or Blackberry.

Go forth and prosper!

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