Graduation. For some students the most nerve wrecking part of their study for others a party. Fashion & Management student Noura Oul Fakir explains how her study at AMFI made her change her mind about her future in fashion. She is now researching how the genderqueer development influences fashion brands.
Interview by Èlia Betlem Montoro Smith – 2nd year Int. Fashion & Management.
Do you remember the time you got into AMFI? What expectations did you have?
“I do remember it. Of course you need to choose a direction from the start and I chose management. It was a very well thought out decision. In the first semester was not at all what I expected as then all departments are mixed and the assignments are more general. That was a bit of a shock and I thought it was tough. Because I chose for management and what I had been told on the open days was all things related to production, products and finance I thought it would immediately be all about that. When the second semester came it did meet more of the expectations that I had in mind. However, I definitely think that the first semester was valuable for getting in touch with ‘thinking outside of the box’ and using this in all the concepts we had to create.”
Did your Vision on fashion change over the years?
“Yes, definitely. Most people when they come to AMFI, think fashion is a fabulous industry. I will speak for myself, I only had one part of the industry in mind and that was the end result. I didn’t have a lot of knowledge or insight on what happened before we see fashion in magazines, campaigns and shops. AMFI you mostly learn everything that happens before, from product development to production and distribution. After the second year I opted for product development, but after my internship I realised that is probably not the direction I want to be working in for the rest of my life because it does not fulfil me. I feel like I would be doing the same thing over and over. Whereas when I started classes on Fashion Culture and when I started my specialisation (Fashion in Marketing & Retail) I had to do read a lot of academic articles and doing ethnographic research combined with a project for a fashion brand, I found it much more satisfying and interesting. Or as I am doing my thesis, researching fashion from a sociological perspective.”
Do you have a fashion role model?
“Industry-wise I don’t have a person that I look up to, also because I don’t know in what kind of way I want to work in the fashion industry after graduation. However style wise I like an artist called Yayoi Kusama. She makes beautiful artwork with polka dots and I love, love, love polka dots!”
Tell me about your graduation project.
“It is about non-binary fashion and I will research the relation between genderqueer and fashion. Because I want to do a master I chose to write a thesis from my graduation project.”
What was your starting point for your last project at AMFI? How did you come up with the theme?
“I was always interested in the role of gender in dress and I was looking for a connection between gender and fashion. I began with a broad research reading many articles, and one of them was about Zara making a gender neutral collection called ‘Ungendered Collection’. This brought a lot of fuss which I found interesting because they claimed it was a ‘Unisex Collection’. However unisex and ungendered are not the same thing, so reactions from the targeted genderqueer consumers were very negative. That’s why I started to think if there were ways of creating non-binary fashion that would be more appreciated by the targeted genderqueer customers.”
Where do you want to be in ten years?
“That’s a really hard one simply because that is the exact reason I want to take a gap year. Since I am young and I like to study, I will do a master study in sociology and after I will figure out what proffesion I would like to go for. I then also had the idea that I wanted to have my own business someday, not necessarily a brand. What exactly it would be, I don’t yet know.”
Are you prepared for the industry? How do you feel?
“You learn through actually doing and that is what we learn at AMFI by setting up different concepts and projects so therefore you will be prepared. However, when actually working in the fashion industr, with a bunch of different kinds of companies and brands, you will learn a lot of new things as well since you cannot apply one way of doing something to every single business.
Since I will do a master’s study after graduating I don’t think I have to be prepared for the industry. However, if I would, I I think the study Fashion & Management prepares you when wanting to become a product developer, manager, going into production or doing anything with marketing.”
What do you dread mostly in the coming months?
“Time. Time flies. Right now I am already two months into my graduation semester and I still need to do so much. Primary research, getting out there and not just sitting behind my computer, that will take up a huge amount of time.”