Now on the way to finishing her thesis on ethical consumption, fourth-year Management student Svenja Pohlmann from Germany talks about her experiences at AMFI as she prepares to dive into the real world.
For her internship, Svenja went back to her home country to work at Frontline, a company similar to Zalando. When she returned, her high expectations of AMFI were met in the Make & Buy specialisation programme. ‘I really wanted to learn the ins and outs of becoming a buyer’ she says, ‘although now I’m still deciding if I want to be a retail buyer or a buyer with one company’. In the first part of the course, students researched and delivered a collection plan with a given target group as a starting point. Svenja and her team needed to source and select for plus-sized women. They developed Fête, which means party in French but also plays on the word fat.
The second part involved changing her perspective. During the programme students also have conversations with people active in the industry, like Svenja did with a buyer from C&A. ‘Whereas before you werebecame the buyer of a private collection, managing production and communication, you now have to learn to adapt to the clients needs, such as fabric and price choices. It’s all very different to sitting in front of a teacher.’
Svenja thoroughly enjoyed the minor programme Trendwatching offered by the HvA because it was so different from what she had learned at AMFI so far. The projects involve looking at the food, art and film industries – which are different, but all have a bearing on the fashion industry. ‘It really broadened my horizon’ she says.
Svenja’s thesis is now the main focus in her life. Her topic: trend analysis on ethical consumption. She explains: ‘I find it very interesting to explore this movement that has gotten more prevalent in the last 10 years. A simple example is the vintage or second-hand clothing industry; a couple of years ago this had a poor connotation, but we all know this has changed. I’m looking at how this movement has an effect on high street fashion.’
Some last words of advice from a soon-to-be graduate? ‘You have to remain true to yourself. You get a lot of criticism and feedback and you have to listen to it but at the same time develop your own style of working. The values that you learn here are important, you learn to know what fits you.’
Text by Jade Wilting, second-year International Fashion & Management student.