Kirstin on Fullback and Friends | I have set myself the challenge of writing six themed blogs, and my chosen theme is LinkedIn. Now I am the first to hold my hand up and admit that technology is not my greatest strength, and yes, I do not mind admitting that I am a what is known as a ‘technophobe’, but with regards to LinkedIn, I can safely say I am a massive fan. I love LinkedIn.
This blog is the first of six, and I hope, will provide me with a platform to introduce my professional background and experience in using LinkedIn.
So, here are the facts & figures…
My profile link | https://uk.linkedin.com/in/kirstin-burke-b4b54317
My connections | 1,532
Account | Basic
Profile Strength | nearly, just nearly an ‘All Star’
Favourite LinkedIn tool | opportunity to showcase the creative you – portfolio of work
People I am proud to be, connected, too…
Far too many to mention, but two professionals I am inspired by and enjoy following their professional successes are Lisa TSE (MBE) and Laura Kent (Manchester School of Art, 2015 Textiles in Practice Graduate). Why? Lisa studied, BA Business at Manchester Metropolitan University (1996 – 2000), which is where our professional connection began. Lisa graduated, working for family business, Sweet Mandarin (Manchester). Since 2004, Lisa’s business role is as CEO – Sweet Mandarin, 2012 – operates a Sweet Mandarin sauce manufacturing business (Manchester), & co-author of two cook books. Yep, I did warn you, inspirational.
Laura Kent is a creative professional, that, I am so proud to have connected with whilst studying at the Manchester School of Art (2012 – 2015), and was one of my first Art School students who engaged with me as a placement & work based learning mentor, when I set up my service delivery two+ years ago. When I introduced Laura to LinkedIn, she got it immediately, a professional platform to showcase her creative achievements, follow and connect with like-minded creatives in the industry, update her profile with all of her amazing internships, bursaries, awards, volunteering – and, Laura grabbed every opportunity available to her (& continues to do so). I know that Laura’s has an amazing future ahead of her, and as with Lisa Tse, I will be there in the background, proudly cheering Laura on.
A little bit about me, I have 20+ years’ experience working within Higher Education, areas of expertise are placement & work based learning mentoring and business development, event management and networking. Sector knowledge includes Architecture; Creative; Third Sector and Business. I am a ‘business geek’, I love working with industry professionals, following business trends, and introducing meaningful opportunities to our students at the Manchester School of Art, Manchester School of Architecture and Manchester Metropolitan University. As a mentor, I support under-graduates with all aspects of their recruitment and selection process when organising placement & work based learning, help them tailor personalised job searches, and provide 1-2-1 support. In addition, during 2015/2016 I have designed and delivered under-graduate LinkedIn Masterclasses; created/manage multiple LinkedIn Placement & Work Based Learning – Course Groups; & my team promotes #LinkedInThursdays on our Facebook Group.
So finally, how do I use LinkedIn? LinkedIn is in the background of all of my work, as soon as I log-on to my computer, I sign into LinkedIn as well. All of the groups I manage, are fed and checked daily, I respond to in-box messages, review invite requests, check connection updates ie. work anniversaries, new job updates etc, and regularly check newsfeed. In addition, I use LinkedIn at my 1-2-1 sessions, reviewing student profiles, showing them how to search for companies, employees, and job opportunities to support their job searches. &, as my job involves a lot of business development/networking, I keep a business card drop on my desk, to make sure that I follow up on LinkedIn after business meetings/events etc.
Do you enjoy using LinkedIn as much as me? Do you find it is supportive to your work, and helps showcase all of your professional achievements and successes? If yes, I look forward to sharing, my next blog post with you next week.
Mark on Fullback and Friends | Over the past 6 weeks Laura Kent has been contributing to my blog Fullback and Friends. I first got to know Laura when I mentored her about business cards and websites. In fact this is her testimonial from that time:
“Whatever the problem, day or time (be it 7am or midnight), I know that I am always welcomed with any questions that I may have. His teaching styles are creative, enjoyable and valuable. He is very honest with his opinion and gets straight to the point. Mark’s kindness and helpfulness constantly makes me smile, and sets me up for a day full of motivation, even on some of my more challenging days. MB is clearly very knowledgeable; be it about web design, professional online presence or even Disney princesses. I feel as though I can really be myself and talk about any problems that I feel relevant; Mark will always help, however possible”
I guess it was mentored her about business cards, websites and DISNEY PRINCESSES!
Laura became a good friend and regularly commented and shared posts on my Facebook page. It was only logical that we invited her to contribute to our blog. This is the Collected edition of her first Series. This is an amazing collection of posts and a must read for anyone that has recently graduated and wants to stay excited about their degree subject, be it fashion or not. Read it and share.
MISCONCEPTIONS OF THE FASHION WORLD- WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE TO WORK IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY | #StayExcited | Post 5 of 6
Laura on Fullback and Friends | Usually when discussing the fashion world, many that have no passion nor experience within the subject matter know very little about the actual goings on of the industry, or much rather, have preconceived perceptions of what it must be like.
There is no doubt that many people have gained unrealistic assumptions regarding the fashion industry, from the famous (and fictional) character of Miranda Priestley- a demanding, intolerable editor-in-chief of a high fashion magazine in New York City; created from Lauren Weisberger’s novel and movie, ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. For anybody that has not watched the film, I highly recommend you do. It is full of quips and laugh-out-loud moments, but by no means, realistic. Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTDSwAxlNhc
I am sure that there must be some ‘devils’ to work with in the fashion industry, but so far, I have found none. Every individual that I have worked with or for so far has genuinely been friendly, helpful and clearly passionate about their work/job, with their intention being to make sure that all runs as smoothly and as enjoyably as possible for all. It is a truly inspiring feeling to work with such individuals.
Whilst researching a little into the different opinions that people have regarding the fashion world, I came across an interesting article by an industry insider, that depicts the 9 most common misconceptions of working in the fashion industry- http://www.harpersbazaar.com/fashion/trends/a11220/misconceptions-about-working-in-fashion/ – all of which, I agree with.
In contrast to ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, 2009’s ‘The September Issue’ documentary shows a prime example of being able to experience the true behind-the-scenes view of what it is like and what it takes to survive, in the industry. The documentary chronicles the “real life ‘Devil Wears Prada’” Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour’s preparations for their 2007 fall-fashion issue. My favourite thing about Wintour is her obvious passion and love of fashion, as well as the fact she is, like us all, a normal human being. 73 Questions with Anna Wintour depicts her take on real life, showing that it isn’t always all about the over-priced glamour and finer things in life – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhXwO_mkdzQ
The fashion industry is not something to be afraid of, more, enjoyed and excited about. I love the versatility, the challenges, the anticipation of what’s to come during each different job I take part in. Most importantly for me, I work backstage because of the people that I get to meet and the friendships that are formed. Many a time I have found myself in conversation with somebody that has worked in the industry for many years before me, and I found myself being inspired thinking about the infinite possibilities that I am able to gain from taking on this career.
FROM INTERN TO EMPLOYEE . MY EXPERIENCES OF ‘HOW TO GET NOTICED’ IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY (PART 1) | #StayExcited | Post 3 of 6
Laura on Fullback and Friends | I receive a vast amount of emails, many from under-graduates soon to enter the big wide world of fashion themselves, inquisitive to know how I have managed to achieve so much in such a short space of time since graduation, and truthfully, I find it a very difficult, and personal question to answer. I have accomplished things that six months ago I could not even begin to dream about doing; and quite frankly, a lot of my opportunities have been purely down to networking, a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck.
I thought that this week I would write a bit more personally as to the key things that I feel are important to do in order to get myself as noticed as a creative when looking for opportunities, as well as some of the physical attributes I feel are important whilst working within the fashion industry;
SHOW INTEREST IN WHAT IT IS THAT YOU ARE DOING. Very important. I think that this statement is kind of obvious, however with that said, if you’re taking part in a job and realise that you are not as interested in what you are doing as you thought you would be, to me personally, I would question if this is really the kind of lifestyle/job you honestly want for yourself.
INTERN & VARY YOUR EXPERIENCES. University is great, but nobody teaches nor prepares you for what exactly is out there. It’s easy to think that all jobs in fashion are similar, but you will quickly learn how different a job working backstage in fashion can be from an atelier position making bridal gowns, just as an example. Interning in different parts of the industry is a great way to understand what it is that you want in life. I am fortunate enough to have experienced a vast range of different working environments- bridal, costume, haute couture, high-end fashion- and have quickly found out the things that I ‘don’t’ enjoy doing, in comparison to those that I am truly passionate about and can imagine myself doing in the long run.
ALWAYS BE FRIENDLY & WILLING TO GO THE EXTRA MILE. I have, so far, never come across an individual that has been negative, unpassionate or rude to work with/for. Being kind, having an approachable and friendly attitude and offering to help others without expecting anything in return, from experience, has always been met with a positive response. Having these attributes also allows your genuine interest and passion for your role to shine through. And besides, why would anyone want to be miserable for the sake of it?
“You can’t put yourself in the position to be discovered. However, your work ethic can make you stand out, and will get agencies and designers to call you back. It’s what you put into it that determines what you get out of it.”
IT’S ALL ABOUT ‘WHO’ YOU KNOW. One thing that I have definitely learnt since leaving university- it’s not always a case of what you know, but much rather, who. As cheesy as that sounds, it’s true. My two favourite attributes both for working within the fashion industry and general life are networking and making friends. From working with like minded people and professionals, life long friendships have been created from mutual interests and in turn have led to more working opportunities.
CREATE A PROFESSIONAL ONLINE PRESENCE. Linking with the above comments; It has only really been since graduating that I have built up my list of contacts/connections in the fashion industry. I’d say that besides physical face-to-face connections; the most effective (and quickest) ways to get yourself noticed as a creative would be creating an online presence, be it through a website, online CV, LinkedIn profile- whatever social media platform works for you and your desired ‘audience’.
I won’t go into great details but I feel that; a CV allows potential employers to see the types of experiences you have already gained; websites/social media platforms can be used to showcase more physical attributes (for example, my website is used as an online portfolio to see my embroidery work); and LinkedIn is a way to connect and interact with many like-minded professionals and employers, which in turn can lead to, well, anything.
DON’T BE INTIMIDATED. The one thing I really wish someone had told me about working in the fashion industry is that it’s actually not nearly as intimidating as it seems. I used to feel like I wasn’t ‘cool’ enough to even be in the same room as some of the people I have had the good fortune of working with/for. One thing I have come to learn is that people are just people. It doesn’t matter how famous someone is- they still have to eat, sleep and breathe, just like you and I do. I think understanding this has helped me go further in my career than I otherwise would have.
Different things will always work for different people and situations, but I definitely think the two main pieces of wisdom that I can give to anybody would be creating an online presence for yourself and being friendly. These attributes help within any situation.
Having a look on the internet at others’ experiences, I came across a great article, entitled ‘How To Go From Fashion Intern To Employee’ which I feel touches on many other interesting and useful hints and tips that should be kept in mind when applying/ working anywhere.
Laura on Fullback and Friends | As the excitement of entering the New Year begins to settle; Many eyes are now turning towards the much anticipated commencement of Spring/Sumer 2016 Fashion Week. February is the month that invites designers from across the globe to launch their newest ideas and outfits into the world of fashion; displaying their latest collections in runway shows and across social media, in a bid to set this season’s current trend ‘do’s and don’ts’ for all Fashionistas alike.
With the upcoming shows being the industry’s current focus, I felt that it would be right to tell you a little about backstage life during the winter fashion season; I have been very blessed in being able to gain first-hand experience during one of the hottest periods in the fashion calendar, and truly love working as part of the wardrobe department during numerous catwalk shows.
Something that has always interested me about fashion, since I was a little girl, was what it would be like to work backstage at a catwalk show. Take The Clothes Show Live Alcatel One Touch Fashion Show, for example. I have watched the Fashion Theatre’s catwalk show and fallen in love with the sparkles every year since I can remember, and finally, in December 2015, I was lucky enough to be apart of the backstage experience for myself.
Truthfully, I was, at first, a little over-whelmed by the backstage world. Walking into an empty backstage area and within seconds it being transformed into a metropolis of over-flowing clothes rails, teams of make-up artists and stylists, and of course, the models themselves, was daunting and yet still is the most magical experience I have ever witnessed.
On stage, the models and dancers look absolutely flawless; with their outfits freshly steamed, catwalk routines effortlessly undertaken with each outfit change and effortless make-up looks; you have no idea of the extraordinary, meticulous attentions to detail taking place just metres away behind the catwalk curtains…
…Someone running across the room and falling to their knees to re-tie a tangled shoe lace whilst a member of the hair and make-up team repositions a loose curl coming out of place, seconds before they take their cue. Model dressers waiting in line to freshly steam a men’s suit trouser before they head on stage. 40+ models running back and forth to the catwalk in order to make their cues, swerving around bags and high heels left in the middle of the carpet from their previous outfit changes. 2-3 minutes to remove and reassemble a full look- with accessories, shoes, bags, necklaces…
See behind-the-scenes backstage highlights from CSL 2015 here:
It is fast and it is bloody fantastic.
The success of a catwalk show, I believe, lies in the hands of the hundreds of bodies that make up the wardrobe, dressing, make-up and hair, choreography and styling departments. When a model walks on stage, their only concern is making sure that they are focused upon their choreography. If a heel buckle isn’t done up properly, a shoe is three sizes too small and crippling the models’ feet or a dress zip isn’t fully done up in time, they have to get on with it. Some outfit changes are so quick (I remember I once had 28 seconds to remove and reapply a full men’s suit!) it takes three people collectively to get that model back on stage.
Read the requirements and experiences from BTS of a fashion show from model dressers themselves; http://fashionista.com/2015/09/fashion-week-dressers
6 days, 33 shows and more impressively 231 outfit changes taken per model(!!) later, I have to say that The Clothes Show Live catwalk show is the most enjoyable & invaluable opportunity that I have experienced to date. I am very much looking forward to my next roles in the wardrobe department, and sharing the experiences with you later in the month. Keep up-to-date with my experiences backstage on here: http://laurakenttextiles.co.uk/blog/