What advice could or would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in Fashion Psychology?
You’ll be hard pressed to see a posting for a ‘Fashion Psychologist’ on any job boards any time soon. When starting a career in Fashion Psychology you will have to pick a particular focus and hone your skills in that area. Just like with Psychology (which has many different disciplines including social, behavioural, clinical, organisational etc.), a Fashion Psychologist can be skilled in a variety of areas which can lead to very specific career paths. This can include personal styling, retail management, consumer relations management, marketing, public relations, brand management, research, teaching, consultation and much more as these are all areas which, in one way or another are grounded in Psychology.
The best way to get into the field is to educate yourself first. For example, I did my Masters in Psychology for fashion professionals but I knew I wanted to create a blog and subsequently turn my blog into a brand so I did a course in Fashion Brand Management. There are many institutions worldwide which offer short courses as well as many platforms which offer online courses. To get a better understanding of Fashion Psychology specifically check the blog regularly, suggest an area of interest you would like us to research via the contact page or read some academic journals.
What, if any job opportunities did you have after your degree?
Fashion psychology is a new field so prospective employers will always be questioning whether your educational background will match up to the role you are applying for. During my research, my main area of focus was marketing and consumer behaviour. I was lucky to have gained internships at two global luxury fashion brands in PR, Marketing and Social Media as soon as I finished the course at London College of Fashion. I have also held a position as a director of PR & Marketing Director at a premium menswear brand.
With my own work founding The Psychology of Fashion Blog™ I have had my writing published in various publications such as Marie Claire UK and i-D and have been interviewed for Who What Wear, The Voice Newspaper, Gal-Dem and more. I am consulting fashion brands by conducting psychologically focused research to aid in the development of new projects, to enrich consumer relations, to facilitate campaign management etc. I also run workshops surrounding all things Fashion Psychology. If your institution is interested in hosting a Fashion Psychology workshop please contact me here.
Describe what studying psychology for fashion is like? How are the two fields alike?
The global apparel market is worth an estimated $3 trillion and employs approximately 1.8 million people in the US alone. I studied Psychology at University College London and it always amazed me that more research wasn’t being conducted into an industry which impacts so many of our lives. Studying the Psychology of Fashion felt incredibly rewarding and necessary especially considering the cultural impact fashion has in terms of marketing and dictating what is and isn’t considered beautiful – this has a crucial effect on the self-worth and identity formation of young men and women.
Fashion and Psychology are intertwined in numerous ways. Psychology informs consumer behaviour. It explains why certain consumers are loyal to certain brands and not others, why different advertising methods are effective on certain demographics and not others, what characteristics people attribute to individuals wearing certain styles of dress and uniforms and much, much more.
Should I study at psychology and then fashion design and then mix the two together?
Psychology is a very full-on degree so if you do decide to study it make sure you’re passionate about it. There are many people like me who have studied Psychology or a similar degree and have gone on to have a career in fashion and the arts. Some of the most successful people in the fashion industry did not study a traditional fashion degree at school so don’t worry if this is you. It all depends on how you push yourself. The first step is to do your research, find out what you like, what you don’t like and take it from there.
What advice would you give to someone applying for the Psychology for Fashion Professionals course at London College of Fashion?
Learn the basis of conducting a psychological experiment. Figure out if the topic you want to study is plausible, if it has already been investigated and how you can make it your own. Be prepared to read a lot of academic journals and last but not least, give it your best shot!
What were some challenges you faced over the course of your studies?
During my Undergraduate degree, I was one of three Black people in the entire course. During my Master’s degree, I was the only Black person. My research has always centred around race and culture so I felt a lot of pressure at times to represent not only myself as a Black psychology student but also to represent my race in its entirety. If I got something wrong or made an error it was almost like I was letting everyone down. What it did do however, was push me to do my absolute best and continue to break boundaries for young black academics.
After posting your inspirational Instagram on graduation day, did you anticipate the outpour of support and what did you feel at that moment?
I remember waking up the day after I made the post thinking that there was something wrong with my phone then I realised it was my notifications blowing up. I had people from all over the world messaging me telling me that I was an inspiration to them as well as numerous media outlets asking me for interviews. The whole time I was thinking ‘who, me?’ I was very overwhelmed and extremely humbled by the love and support I was shown. It has always been my mission to make a difference no matter how big or small. This new platform has given me the opportunity to reach a host of young students and give them the advice and encouragement they need.
With this degree, what are some goals you have set to accomplish?
I am in the process of publishing my Master’s thesis which researched the effect of racial representation in fashion advertising on consumer behaviour. I hope to use the results to share with the industry the fact that the inclusion of racially diverse models is more than just social responsibility.
What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?
With fashionispsychology.com I hope to introduce as many people as possible to the field of Fashion Psychology. It’s full of eye opening pieces about the industry, it’s practices and the various ways that we as consumers are effected by fashion. Students can use the blog to inform their research, brands can use the blog to inform their marketing and branding practices and everyone can use the blog to get an understanding about the global impact of the fashion industry.