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Waiyee Chong

Fashion Design and Marketing

Why did you choose Northumbria School of Design, and what did you know about us before you applied?

I chose Northumbria as its design courses have a great reputation. Previous to Northumbria I studied ND Fashion and Clothing at Newcastle College. Tutors there suggested the Fashion Marketing course as a suitable choice for me.

What do you most like about Newcastle, and how do you find the city?

It has a lot to offer in terms of arts and culture. As well as great museums and a wide choice of shops, the city has an amazing nightlife that caters for all personality types. On the weekend I love to visit Tynemouth market, which is only a Metro ride away, it’s a fascinating place!

How do you find the cost of living in Newcastle?

The city is not an expensive city to live in. I spent most money on food and travel. I get all my books from the library and request them in when the library doesn’t have them. Also, all of the museums and galleries are free so I don’t have to spend a fortune when I’m doing research locally.

Did you find the Design School welcoming?

The School of Design is very welcoming. The building is full of students from different design courses who are all happy to help; whether it be holding the door open when you’ve got two coffees in your hand to wake yourself up on a Monday morning, or if you need to go and get some lunch and need someone to keep an eye on your work space. Work areas are fairly open plan so I often find myself meeting new people and learning new things from them.

How do you find your tutors and the staff within the School?

The tutors are there to help. They understand that we can’t know everything and have much to learn- nobody’s perfect! If I’m unsure about how to do something or have no idea whatsoever about how to go about something they will always be there to help. They’re really trusting and honest. If something doesn’t look good they will let you know. When it’s really bad they’re there for you and will remind you that things can only get better and will!

What are the facilities like?

The design school has all the equipment you will ever need. There are plenty of tutors to ask for help and won’t mind if you ask them to demonstrate something twice. From photography equipment to dog mannequins, Northumbria’s got it all. There are specialist staff for all areas of the design school. They all know exactly what they’re talking about and very understanding and easy to approach. The use of equipment is free but consumables need to be purchased. These are set at very reasonable prices and most can be purchased from the university.

What do you like most about the School of Design?

What I like most about the School of Design is the buzz you get when you’re there. You feel like a designer and are treated like one too. Some days I am there from the morning to the late evening; it feels like a second home- but not in a bad way. My fellow colleagues become a second family and the friendly atmosphere keeps me going.

Tell me a bit about your course?

The course gives you an insight into many aspects of the design industry. In the first year you learn plenty of skills such as computer aided design, illustration and trend prediction. These will help you create a portfolio ready for the second year in which you will have to apply for placement positions in the fashion industry. During my placement I picked up so many skills I could only gain from working in the industry. After placement, the remainder of third year allowed me to use my newly found skills to my advantage. At this point in time you will know what you’re good at and what you still need to work on to prepare you for final year. During the final year you are required to set your own brief and organise your own project. This helps to build confidence and allows you to stretch your wings, getting you ready to leave the nest.

If you had to pick an object to represent your course, what would it be and why?

A pencil - never before has such a simple, yet well-engineered item solved so many problems. A picture is worth a thousand words and a pencil is worth a thousand pictures. 

What are the most valuable lessons you have learnt to date during your time with us?

The most valuable lessons I have learnt during my time at Northumbria are to spend your time well. Try your best at everything you do and trust your instinct. The four years I have spent here have flown by. If I could go back in time and write a little note for myself I would write: enjoy every second of it, seize every opportunity and don’t be afraid to try anything.

If you had 3 words to sum up your time with us what would they be?

Time spent well.

If you could offer some advice to students thinking of coming to study here what would you say?

Make sure you research the course fully. It’s not just about fashion and fashion marketing. It incorporates many different aspects of the fashion industry including: graphics, photography, textiles, illustration and trend prediction. Don’t think that just because you’re interested in fashion design now you’ll still be interested in it a few years’ time. That’s what’s brilliant about this course; you get to keep all your options open and try your hand at everything. You may not be excellent in everything you do but you might just be exceptionally good at something you never expected to succeed in.

What are your plans now and for the future?

I am currently unsure about the direction I will take in the fashion industry but hope this will become clearer after I have graduated. However, my long-term plans are to build up my portfolio with jobs I have enjoyed and overall succeed in the career I have chosen. I would like to be able to look back on it all and be able to say that I’ve done it all.

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