Ruth MacGilp Heriot Watt University

Lots of people have been asking me what it is that I actually do at uni, as my course it the only one of its kind in Scotland and is not exactly a traditional fashion course! I am currently in my second year of studying a BA in Fashion Communication at the School of Textiles and Design, the Scottish Borders campus of Heriot-Watt University. Read more to delve into the details of my degree, and let me know if you have any questions!

My experience

I applied for the Fashion Communication course, as well as Heriot Watt’s Fashion Marketing and Retailing course, back in 2013 whilst still in my final year of high school. However, once receiving all my offers, I decided to opt for studying Fashion Management at Robert Gordon University instead, then I took a year out to work and recover.

In 2015, I started in Aberdeen, but halfway through the year, I dropped out for health reasons. WHen the next September came around, I decided not to return to RGU, but instead apply once again for both courses at HW. I have now finally made it to the second year at the grand old age of very nearly 21, woohoo!

Basically, what appealed to me about this course was the openness of it. You take your studies where you want them to go, as long as it relates to communicating fashion in a contemporary way. So it might be photography you’re interested in, or maybe filmmaking, perhaps graphic design, art direction, events management, or journalism. You will learn the basics along the way for everything, but when it comes to your final projects, it’s generally completely up to you.

Ruth MacGilp Heriot Watt University

Day-to-day work

Something that I  wish I knew when applying as an undergrad was what specifically would I be doing on a day to day basis during my time at university, seeing as Fashion Communication is a highly creative, conceptual, and pretty non-academic/traditional course.

So, in my experience, the first year was a bit of organised chaos with dozens of group projects and sharing classes with other disciplines (including design, tech and textiles), but now things are a lot more focused, with less time spent actually in class and the majority of the time at home or elsewhere taking on your own self-directed projects.

A typical day on campus might be a group tutorial first thing in the morning to go over the previous week’s project and receive a new brief, or perhaps a hands-on class in photography, or a short lecture on fashion film. Over lunch, I’d knuckle down on research and reading in the library and then the afternoon could be a longer lecture and seminar on fashion history and theory.

Most days, however, I work from home because it’s not exactly convenient to travel by train to Galashiels every day! AT home I might spend a whole day out on location photographing models in different looks for a fashion magazine project, or I could be designing moodboards and sketchbooks for an upcoming project. There is written work too, but nothing in comparison to my other academic experiences, just smaller essays, reflections and articles.

 

Ruth MacGilp Heriot Watt University

This course is perfect for:

  • People who want to work in the fashion industry, but are not 100% sure specifically what line of work to go into (buying, marketing, events, photography, publications, digital etc)
  • People who have jobs, freelance work, family or other commitments who are not able to attend Monday-Friday 9-5 type classes.
  • People who are highly self-motivated and do not feel the need to rely heavily on teachers and lecturers directing every project.
  • People who are passionate about the industry or an element of it, be that politics, diversity, sustainability etc. Know what you like, and what you don’t like, and stand strong by your values.
  • People who already have an intermediate knowledge of fashion and keep up to date with fashion news.

Find out more about the course: https://www.hw.ac.uk/study/uk/undergraduate/fashion-communication.htm

Watch the video below to see some work from last year’s graduate showcase:

Ruth @ Urbanity xxx

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