I am currently a master’s degree student in Fashion Marketing and Branding at the Winchester School of Arts (WSA). Before this, I did my undergraduate degree in fashion design. Although I have never been to the WSA because of the lockdown, I have met some classmates during the online lessons. Most of the students are from China, some are from the UK and India, and some of them have already had their own brands, and want to learn how to promote their brands in new markets.
In the first semester, we have three modules, namely Key Issues and Trending, Fashion Marketing and Branding, and Professional and Academic Skills. Each of these three courses has an assessment, respectively two reports and a literature review, and the PAS lesson also requires us to write our CV and Covering Letter. We don’t have any exams; we just need to hand in those assessments at the end of the semester.
Key Issues and Trending is our main course. The professor used to teach in China and can speak a little Chinese, although he is from the UK. Our most important work is to analyze the current and future trends of the fashion industry, looking at sustainability, blockchain, Virtual Reality, etc. The module Fashion Marketing and Branding is mainly to compare a chosen brand’s marketing strategies in two countries' markets. Most of the Chinese students compare China and the UK. In class, we will discuss some different strategies brands used between China and the UK, both fast fashion and luxury, such as Zara, Burberry and Louis Vuitton, etc. I was surprised to learn that Zara's market in the UK is much larger than that in China, and most British do not like Burberry's new brand image, although Chinese consumers think it is acceptable and nice.
I think my major is ever-evolving because we live in a rapidly changing world. Recently, the Xinjiang Cotton incident has intensified in China, causing a wave of boycotts of brands such as Nike and H&M. The co-branding strategy between Burberry and a popular mobile game in China has also been cancelled. Many brands that boycott Xinjiang cotton have been blacklisted in China. Perhaps this is temporary, but as the international situation changes, it may become a future trend. I feel very unfree about the increasing interference of politics in the fashion industry and worry about my future career. Of course, this may be just because I am a pessimist…
We will have some on-campus lessons in April, and I will go to school at that time. By the way, we will also have the opportunity to participate in the Winchester Fashion Show, which is an interesting job opportunity for WSA students.
Life in Unilife Sparkford House is very convenient and suitable for me. It is quiet and warm, so I can concentrate on reading. The distance from the high street just allows me to get exercise enough without getting tired. We also have lots of social events and when it is a special day, we will get chocolates or cakes from the Unilife team, it makes me feel at home. I think I’m lucky to live there; it’s the first time I live in another country, and everyone is so friendly and helpful. Winchester is a nice city, it always reminds me of my grandmother. Hope when the lockdown is over, I can have a deeper understanding of this city.