Uni // Applying For A Fashion Placement Year

Like a lot of fashion students, last year I had to go through the stress inducing and emotional process of applying for an industrial 12 month placement as part of my University degree. When I first accepted my University program in International Fashion Marketing, I was naive to believe that everyone just gets a placement and it was a certainty as part of the course. Only in my second year where I was going through the process of placement applications did I realise how wrong I was

My application journey

To learn that on average, only 60% of students are offered a placement struck me with panic; will I be good enough to be offered a placement? what will happen if I can’t find one? What happens if I graduate and I have to go against people with this experience that I failed to achieve? To think my future and success in the industry could very well rest on me succeeding in finding a placement and getting such vital experience before I have even finished my second year definitely added a lot of stress, not only to me, but to everyone in the same situation with the same thoughts running through their heads. You are suddenly competing with the people you sit with, go out with, maybe even live with; you can feel everyone’s determination to be the ones to get the job.
As soon as I started my second year, it was drilled into us to apply for everything that comes through, build portfolios, practice assessment tests, thoroughly research the companies and do everything in your power to stand out from other candidates. You are literally thrown in at the deep end. Not only do you have to do all this, but you have to concentrate on uni work, maybe even hold down a job and try to get some work experience on the side to increase your chances. It does spread your time very thinly, do I spend my day filling out this application form and completing online tests in the hope that I get an interview or do I spend this spare time doing the report that counts towards my degree?
When you put your time and effort into making your applications as passionate and impressive as possible, sometimes having to go through multiple choice questionnaires, written interview questions, and several online tests before you even get a telephone interview, let alone a face to face one you begin to think will it really be worth it? As many people will know, for companies to not even let you know you were unsuccessful and to hear off other students that they have been contacted for assessment centres is very disheartening and you do think you have completely wasted your time and could have done that report or revision instead.
But then, there’s that glorious moment when you get that email that says you’ve been invited to that interview, you feel you have finally got a real chance! I must have applied for about 15-20 roles and out of it I got 1 video interview, 1 interview and 2 assessment centres.
My first assessment centre was in January last year, 3 months after starting applying for roles. the group tasks went well, but once I was by myself I crumbled, what were the answers they wanted me to say? how have I lead people? how have i persuaded people to choose my ideas? I became hesitant and waffled, I just didn’t know how to answer these questions as I had been solely researching about the company and didn't even think about my own skill set. Of course I didn't proceed any further with that interview process. A few weeks passed and I had a video interview for a company, having to talk to a webcam naturally with a question flashing up on the screen was very unnerving, no interviewer to bounce off and read their reactions, although you were allowed 30 seconds to prepare an answer. I am naturally very shy and introverted so I know this inhibited me in these interviews, I have the knowledge and determination to be an ideal candidate but I just couldn’t put this across in words, I just wanted to be given a chance to prove myself properly and not based on how I could answer random questions.
A couple of months passed and I was getting no responses from applications and started to panic, maybe I would be in the 40% that just don’t get a placement? Should I have just gave up then? I was determined and tried to keep positive, I changed my tactics and decided to try and source my own placement as well as apply for ones advertised, hoping I would have a better chance applying at smaller companies.
A few weeks passed and  In the space of a few days I had a PR interview and a marketing assessment centre lined up, as well as a work experience week and a possible sourced placement with a buying office in the process. First of all was my PR interview, I live in Manchester and travelled all the way to London for it. The 'interview' itself involved a 10 minute group task and a 10 minute interview. I spent a week putting a portfolio together for them to haphazardly flick through it, could they really pick someone based on this short amount of time? After everyone had been interviewed they then chose 4 people they wanted to interview again in front of everyone who they didn’t want, including me, by this time I was just expecting to be automatically rejected.
A couple of weeks passed and I was emailed by the buying office with my sourced placement forms, finally! All I needed now was for my University to approve this. A couple of weeks later was the start of my work experience with the buying office and I still hadn't heard off my University, will they approve it? what shall I say to the buying office when they start asking if its been approved? Anyway, I got on with my work experience and loved my first taste of working in a proper industry related role, a lot of spreadsheets and a lot of computer work, but very very interesting!
Finally last April, 7 months after I first began applying for my placement year, i finally got that email off Uni that I had been craving “you are now officially allowed to accept your placement”. That weight of worry and anxiety that I had been carrying around for months had finally been lifted off my shoulders and was ecstatic that my efforts had finally paid off. I could finally relax and didn't have to continue applying whilst having to revise for my end of year exams and no longer have to face the uncertainty about what I will be doing the following year; do I still hold out for a placement or do I sort out my living arrangements for final year?

My advice

I have now been on my placement for nearly 7 months and I can't believe how time has flown! To think this time last year I was preparing for my first few interviews is crazy, but I'm so glad that it's over and done with, I really didn't enjoy the stress looking for a placement year brought me at all! I just hope that when I graduate that this year will really help me to stand out and give me better career prospects than if I had just gone on to my final year of uni. I know at this point there will still be 2nd year fashion students who face this uncertainty and my advice to you is don’t give up yet! there are still so many opportunities out there and you have to keep on trying. I didn't secure my placement until April and I've been there where I've felt like giving up and accepting the fact that I won’t be getting a placement and come through the other side and soldiered on. A lot of companies will not have even advertised their placements yet and a lot wait until April to work out how many placement they are financially able to offer! Don’t just rely on the advertisements the University provide, email companies if they provide any paid placements, not just retail brands but PR companies, marketing companies and independent brands, they will be wanting fresh young influences on their brand! I sourced my own placement in the end so I would highly recommend emailing companies you have an interest in working with and see what they can offer you, you won't know unless you email them.
It may sound weird but twitter is an excellent resource, there are many pages that advertise placements  and paid opportunities such as https://twitter.com/Fashion_Workrm and https://twitter.com/ukfashionintern so it’s worth having a look! Brands sometimes even tweet about their own placements, so make sure you follow a variety of retailers, PR and marketing companies and continue to check their websites for job and placement updates. Even if you are not successful in gaining a placement, there are still so many work experience opportunities that companies offer, every little helps and you can end up with summer placements and work experience weeks, fortnights and months, which will rapidly build up your experience. 
I would also suggest you to practise your interview techniques and anticipate questions that will come up and prepare your answers in advance. You can even practice the numerical and verbal tests  that are often used at assessment centres on http://www.shldirect.com/practice_tests.html. Also work hard on building a varied and interesting portfolio to take with you on interviews, this could include examples of written coursework, visual boards, trend analysis, design development, blog posts, collaborations with companies, articles you have written and anything else that could showcase your skill set for the particular role you are applying for.
You will succeed in securing a placement if you are willing to work damn hard for your dream and to keep on trying and never give up, there are always experiences and internships on offer, you just have to seize that chance and say this will be your time to shine. 
I hope this post offers an insight into the application process and the ups and downs that it entails, if you have any questions about my own experiences I am always here :)
Good luck guys, I know you can do it,
Amie xx

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Review // Babyliss Curl Secret - Demo + Results

Babyliss Curl Secret, Curl Secret review, Curl secret results, before and after, curly hair, curly hair tutorials, beauty blogger reviews

As some of you may have seen, I received the Babyliss Curl Secret for Christmas from my parents. I have been lusting after it ever since last summer when I saw the Pro Curl version being used in my hairdressers, I was absolutely transfixed watching it automatically drawing in the hair and creating a soft curl effortlessly in a matter of seconds. It was the same hairdressers trip that I also discovered the L'Oreal Steam Pod - another amazing hairstyling tool and if you haven't already you can see my full review of the Steam Pod here - it's worth a look if you have thick and frizzy problem hair like mine.

 I have used a number of methods in the past to curl my hair, from mastering curling with my GHD straighteners to sleep in rollers to rag rollers, all of which had their positives and negatives, I used my GHDs the most as heat styling seems to be the most effective on my hair, but I found that my curls would drop out before I had even finishing curling my hair! So often I would have to re do the bottom layers of my hair as they would have just gone limp, very frustrating especially when it takes me the best part of an hour to curl my hair anyway! With GHDs I also found the curls would be very temperamental and uneven from time to time, cue more retouching and fiddling to try and get an even look. I have never used a heated curling wand or tool before and when I saw the Curl Secret I thought it would be my answer to a more professional looking and styled curly hairdo. In the run up to Christmas, I saw so many blog posts and YouTube videos on the Curl Secret and had high hopes for it to produce the same look for me; I did have some worries that my hair would be too thick for it to produce the same look and that they would again drop out into a slight kink. Finally after months of lusting, I un-boxed my Curl Secret for the first time last weekend and couldn't wait to see for myself whether it would live up to my very high expectations. 

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Red Carpet // Golden Globe best dressed list

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Award season is back and the first major event in the line up is the Golden Globe awards. I'm one of those people who loves to see what all the celebrities are wearing including the good, the bad and the ugly! I love poring over the array of beautiful couture gowns; and as always there are few wildcard outfits worn to make a statement as well as a few 'What were they thinking?!' moments. The anticipation of who will be next to walk up the famous red carpet and more importantly who they will be wearing is exciting and I personally love to see the gowns that once debuted on the catwalks styled and brought to life in front of our eyes. This blog post is going to focus on my personal favourites from the night and who I think deserves to be on the coveted best dressed list; whether classically stunning, bang on trend or going for the wow factor in a unique style, these outfits in my opinion are the crème de la crème from last nights Golden Globe awards.

Golden Globes 2014, Red Carpet, Best Dressed List, Celebrities, Couture, Gowns, Amy Poehler, Stella McCartney, Emma Watson, Christian Dior, Backless Dress, Kate Beckinsale, Zuhair Murad

Amy Poehler opts for the classic LBD in this custom made Stella McCartney gown. Although a very simple column sihouette, the asymmetric neckline is a really interesting feature and the metallic belt helps to draw in Amy's waist and add a slight curve to the silhouette. Amy is also sporting a pretty cool wrist cuff as a statement accessory   //  Emma Watson in a daring and unique fully backless dress with various slits worn with slim leg trousers underneath from Dior's couture collection - so wrong but so right, who knew a dress/trouser hybrid would prove so stylish?! Styled with pointed  Roger Vivier heels in a contrast blue colour and classic Dior pearl earrings. Emma's simple up-do really showcases and draws attention to the backless feature of the dress  //  Kate Beckinsale wows in this statuesque silver Zuhair Murad couture gown, it exaggerates every curve and Kate looks like she has been pored into this dress! The metallic detailing that adorns the gown is exquisite and I love the fishtail train - the shape gives Kate an envious hourglass figure. With simple accessories and a curly up-do, all attention is definitely on this statement gown.

Golden Globes 2014, Red Carpet, Best dressed list, Couture, Gowns, celebrites, Margot Robbie, Gucci, Olivia Wilde, Olivia Wilde pregnant, baby bump, Gucci Premiere, Zooey Dechanel, Oscar De La Renta

Margot Robbie oozes sex appeal in this cream Gucci gown with a plunging neckline and thigh high slit - this option could have had all the potential to look trashy but with understated make up and a classic up-do Margot manages to look as glamorous as ever. I love the sparkly detailing around the bodice which also matches her sky high emerald heels, this outfit is simply perfect for Margot, everything about it is just seems to work!  // Olivia Wilde and her baby bump still manage to turn heads on the red carpet in this emerald green sequinned gown from Gucci Première. With long sleeves and high neck, Olivia still manages to showcase her amazing figure and teeny baby bump. With tousled ombred hair, Olivia's look oozes glamour and the head to toe sequins adds the extra glitz that makes this dress belong on the red carpet  //  Zooey Dechanel looks like an ethereal Hollywood starlet in this neutral Oscar De La Renta gown. The shape of the structured boxy top and floaty tulle skirt is a real contrast and yet really works together with the delicate colour palette and intricate detailing. Can we also take a moment to appreciate those amazing statement shoes (also from Oscar De La Renta) that also adds another pretty/tough element to the outfit. The bold  fifties themed make up really stands out against Zooey's pale complexion and the palette of her outfit.

Golden Globes 2014, Red carpet, Best dressed list, celebrities, Couture, Gowns,  Kerry Washington, Kerry Washington pregnant, Balenciaga, Lupita Nyongo, Ralph Lauren, Caped dress, Sarah Hyland, Georges Hobeika,

Kerry Washington looks glowing in this custom made Balenciaga gown, Kerry is another mum to be that proves you can still wow on the red carpet with a baby bump. The dress itself with a simple column shape with an almost peplum style structure framing her bump. Kerry has kept this outfit simple with matching accessories and a simple crystal design on the bust  //  Lupita Nyong'o stunned in a beautiful Ralph Lauren dress with floor length cape, the silhouette of the dress hugs every curve and really showcases Lupita's figure. The vivid red really compliments her skin tone and the off the shoulder cut of the dress is perfect for her short hairstyle. A dress this simply beautiful only needs simple accessories to complete the look.  //   Last but not least is Sarah Hyland, who looks like a Greek goddess in this baby pink Georges Hobeika gown. Another classic and simple dress with a beautiful floaty skirt and simple waist belt. I love Sarah's beauty look; it is one of my favourites of the night with a braided crown and bold eyebrows - whilst everything else is kept simple to let Sarah's natural beauty shine through

Do you agree with my choices for Best dressed contenders? I would love to know what your favourite looks were from the Golden Globes!

Amie xx

Image credit: Vogue
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Fashion // ModCloth Uniquely You Style Competition

Last week, I was contacted by Amy from ModCloth inviting me to take part in their 'Uniquely You' campaign. Every week ModCloth give a group of fashion bloggers an article of clothing or an accessory from their website and we then have to style it with up to 7 other items from ModCloth to create an outfit - simple! There is no limit on how to style the item so it will be exciting to see how everyone chooses to style the same product! ModCloth will then choose a winner who's style collage will then be featured on their Polyvore page! This week the item that we were given to style was the Grand Tour Guide Top, a chic sheer blouse with a dainty collar and adjustable sleeves. It's a very versatile blouse that can be styled in a variety of ways for different occasions, so I can see why ModCloth chose it for us to style, I can imagine there will be lots of variety between all of the entries.

My styling entry

Check it out

For my entry, I decided to style a casual yet stylish winter look that will be perfect for days out as well as being smart enough for wearing to work and going straight out for a meal or drinks afterwards! Tartan is one of the biggest trends this winter and I absolutely adore these plaid pants, as the blouse and the oversized cardigan I've paired it with are fairly simple, it really makes the bold plaid pattern stand out and become the focus of the outfit. I think these pieces really blend together and work well as an outfit. Adding a chunky pair of ankle boots and a beanie hat adds a grungy edge to the ensemble and these clash and yet compliment the classic and feminine accessories. The outfit has so many sides and really does work on so many levels that it can be worn for so many situations and still look perfectly styled for the occasion; it's a real classic styling with a current and trendy edge.

What do you think to the outfit that I've styled and the pieces I've chosen?

Amie xx

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Marketing // Mulberry S/S 14 print campaign

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Cara Delevingne is back for another Mulberry collaboration with this light and ethereal marketing campaign. Last season saw Cara posing with a variety of adorable owls in a fairytalesque indoor woodland scene and it seems that spring has sprung and the room has bloomed into life; filled with light and surrounded by beautiful pink roses. Of course Cara isn't alone and again she has an abundance of animal friends to join her in the campaign including cockatoos, a pelican, a variety of dogs and an adorable white pony. Cara's furry and feathery friends are joining her in a quintessentially British tea party which adds a cheekiness and charm to the whole campaign when they come into the shot, almost like they hijacked the shoot and weren't supposed to be there!
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New Year Group Giveaway // Win $75 PayPal Cash!

Hello everyone!

Today I have an exciting post for you because it is a New Year giveaway! This is a group giveaway with a total of 6 lovely bloggers included who have all chipped in and you will have the chance to win a prize of $75 (approx £45) PayPal Cash! After the expense of Christmas and New Year this would be a very handy treat to spend the money on whatever you wish whether it be some sale bargains, beauty products something for the house or for a day/evening out, it's up to you to spend it on whatever you want! To see who is involved in bringing you this giveaway you can check out all the blog links below!

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