Katie Gavaghan

London College of Fashion (from Arts London Image Library)
London College of Fashion, John Prince's Street
Arts London Image Library ©

Journalist - London College of Fashion, Fashion: Marketing and Promotion, 2012

The journalist, editor and freelance fashion consultant tells us why she compares LCF to Hogwarts, why her proudest achievement so far is being published in the Observer online and why she is excited by what the future has to hold.

What are your memories of being a student?

The most poignant memory I have of being a student has to be the entry interview. As I climbed the imposing stone staircase in the heart of LCF, I expected to be ridiculously nervous - five years earlier I had applied for a different LCF course and failed the interview quite disastrously! Plus LCF was the only university I applied to this time around but I had the sense LCF was the right place for me. The interview went smoothly and I gave an honest representation of myself. As it turned out LCF was the perfect fit, that day shaped my future.

Who was your favourite lecturer/support staff and why?

Tim William the course leader quickly became my favourite tutor and we've stayed in touch. He's the first person I go to for career advice. As a tutor he had this intuitive way of nudging you in the right direction without giving the answer away. Looking back I see he was helping his students to develop the skills needed to work out the answers independently.

What was the best part about being a student here and living in London?

LCF is Hogwarts for fashion students, where anything is possible. The University is home for like-minded individuals, some of the finest creative talent in the industry today attended LCF.  Resources are vast and varied, LCF remains ahead of the curve with, in my opinion, the strongest industry network of any university in the UK.

Do you keep in touch with people you met here?

Not as much as I would like but the nature of the course is tailor-made for students who study while maintaining other commitments. In other words, students on the Fda Fashion Marketing and Promotion online course will most likely be juggling a full-time job, a family and studying all at once - free time was and still is, rather scarce. Social media is truly a gift, that's how I stay in touch with  former classmates.

What do you do now?

I work as a journalist/editor and freelance fashion consultant. I launched Fashion Follows Her in 2011 to house everything I do all in one place. I work as a PR/marketing/branding consultant, often for new businesses needing a little guidance. I specialise in social media so naturally I blog too, Fashion Follows Her charts my stylish online endeavours. I also work as a fashion journalist and I'm currently editor of an online magazine. 

What was the best piece of advice you have ever received, and what advice would you pass on to students or recent graduates?

The best piece of advice I have to offer relates to confidence and was handed down to me a few months after I graduated. It's so easy to 'talk' yourself out of seizing wonderful opportunities when you are inexperienced and lacking confidence. Be brave, stop questioning 'Can I do this?' and ask yourself 'Do I want this?'. If the answer is yes, then go for it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

What is your proudest achievement so far?

Professionally my proudest achievement has to be being published in the Observer Online. English was my weakest subject at school and I put in quite a few extra hours to keep up with the rest of the class. One teacher wrote me off, telling my parents that I 'wouldn't get very far because my spelling/punctuation would hold me back'. I took that as a challenge; borrowing textbooks from school, studying at home and taking extra classes during the holidays to achieve an A grade GCSE in English Literature. Seeing my name and work published in such a renowned publication was the real reward.

What drives you to keep pursuing your dreams?

I think it's my nature. Friends would probably say 'determined', it's the way I work. Fashion is my first love, it's what I know and I can't imagine doing anything else. It really is that simple.

What are your goals for the future?

Career wise I hope to build Fashion Follows Her into a successful business on a similar scale to that of my heroine Sasha Wilkins (Liberty London Girl).  At a time where it is entirely possible to carve out a job role on your own terms, it is exciting to think where I will be in 10 years time. Personally I believe being 'happy and healthy' is the greatest blessing.

What do you like most about being part of our alumni community?

Apart from the support the Alumni Association gives recent graduates, including comprehensive information on subjects like 'how to set up a small business', which I personally found extremely helpful. I like the way the Alumni community supports fellow members. Former students Alice Shreeve (Belle) and Hannah Coniam-Thompson (Bunty) from Belle & Bunty kindly agreed to feature in the very first 'Fashion in 5' Q&A for Fashion Follows Her, which is where it all began.