Hello Everyone! It has been too long since my last post, I would like to apologize for that. So much has happened in the past two weeks. The last time I left you all I was stressing out trying to get some final projects of mine done. That was an entire week straight of stress and working all day on projects. Very little sleep. After working many hours on these projects I thankfully completed and turned in everything without any problems. I was all done with my courses by last Thursday and have just been enjoying my last full week in London because I will soon be heading back to the states. Three more full days here is all I have left to relax, pack and do any last minute things before I am gone from this wonderful place. This experience has been amazing and I am so thankful and blessed to have had the opportunity to spend a semester abroad. Time sure has flown by during my stay here, besides the fact that the school semester here is an entire month shorter. None the less I have enjoyed every minute of it.
Well, last week I had three major projects to work on. The projects are really enjoyable but since I had them all due around the same time, that added a little stress. One thing that is wonderful here at London College of Fashion- well at least the study abroad program- is that there are no exams and no work out of textbooks. Grades are based on one or two projects throughout the semester, usually one project broken down with the final product due at the end. The learning environment is extremely different in that aspect because back home I am used to weekly exams, quizzes or assignments with maybe one project thrown into a semester. Although, not having exams or constant assignments may be admired by most, this means that possible one project you have to turn in must be outstanding to get the grade you desire. Puts a little extra pressure on making sure your project is perfect. Theoretical and Social Fashion Studies, Start Your Own Fashion Label, and European Fashion Studies were the last of my classes. For TSFS I had to write a 2,000 word research paper based on three key words from any one of our lectures we had. I choose mine from the first lecture which were ethical, ecological fashion, and fashion contradiction. The books I checked out on eco fashion and the notes I took in class were a huge help to writing this paper but my new found interest to continue thinking deeper into the topic helped out even more. I am not going to lie, it did take me a while to complete and edit the paper mainly for the fact that I do get distracted easily. But I got it done and emailed before the deadline without any major problems and then it was on to completing my other two. My Start Your Own Fashion Label project was due next and that required a lot of research that I had been doing from the start of the class. This course was basically helping us prepare a business plan of the label we we would one day like to create. A design background is not required but it sure does help when you are going through some of the skills needed to run a business on your own. Concept for a new fashion label and the strengths and weaknesses it brings to a particular market, market research within the market your going into, supply chain and business management needed to run your label, a product range template of a maximum of 30 styles, cash flow of the monthly figures of money going in and out within a year to show how much revenue the label plans on bringing in at the end; these are some of the things that our final assignment consisted of. In the end all this information came out to 12 pages of my plan and then many other pages of research attached which I collected by using the database resources available to us online at school. The research I did was on the athletic apparel market to help see where my eco friendly leisure sportswear apparel line, I called Constance, would stand in the market. So much work went into this and I was pleased and happy with the idea I came up with. The last requirement was to presented our ideas to the class and try to persuade our tutor and classmates to want to back our labels financially. With my eager need to want to get another final assignment over with and my confidence in the label I was proposing I volunteered to go first. Once I finished with what I had to say in the 3 minutes we had, I felt great about my idea even compared to those of my other classmates. A majority of the class had some really realistic and great idea but in the end there was not one unanimous label selected for being the best. After everyone was done presenting we each wrote on a piece of paper who we would select- not being able to vote for ourselves of course- and multiple labels were voted for. I really can not wait to read the notes my tutor had to say about my proposal when we get our grade sheets back. That next day was one I was greatly anticipating, my final day of class for the semester, European Fashion Studies. That was another class I was willing to volunteer first but my tutor in that class goes by the attendance list she has and choose to go the extra long way so I was about third to last to present what we had done. The final project was basically to go through newspaper clippings, magazine articles, internet reviews on all three european fall 2011 fashion weeks- London, Milan and Paris. We had to collect these clippings and put them in a scrapbook, arrange the book by city or trends. I choose to do city and came up with a pretty good collection of articles I collected and read. The LCF library is a very helpful resource, they cut out these reviews and article during the time of the shows and store them behind the desk available to checkout for two hours. I wish I had collected the articles from the newspapers themselves because that would have saved me so much money which I spent on photo copying them to place in my book. Copying and printing was a major expense I did while here at school, it made me miss my scanner and printer back home. Another part of this project was to select a trend that was seen throughout the cities and write a minimum of 200 word paper along with a trend board. I choose- along with many others after sitting through presentations- was masculine/ feminine. This look was seen throughout a lot of the designers shows and thought it was worth pointing out to the class- and I obviously was not the only one who felt the same way. Projects like these do not seem like work because it all interests me, it was only the time that I had left to work on the project that had me stressing since I had been working on my other two projects at the same time. A designer profile on the key person that may have a new influence or has had an influence in the trend we choose was the third and last part of the project. Stella McCartney was the designer I felt was very much worth highlighting in this trend since it is something she is known for in all of her shows. Three key words I felt helped describe the look of this trend were Slouchy, Oversized and Exaggerated. Many of the masculine/feminine looks in McCartney’s show had all three of these. She also added a new touch of a more curvier woman and showing these curves in the close fit of some of the garments. In the end I felt my project went great. A weight was lifted off my shoulders once I finished my presentation and could not believe that my summer had begun. To make that even better it was a beautiful sunny almost 70 degree afternoon. Now I could enjoy the beautiful weather that had come to London the day before.
Later that night was finally ballet day with a friend of mine. I can not remember if I mentioned previously that a I had purchased a ticket to watch the ballet Cinderella at the Royal Opera House. Ever since I took ballet classes at school for the first time ever in my life I have fallen in love with this art. Besides The Nutcracker when I was in elementary which was performed by a small ballet school in my hometown, Cinderella is the first big ballet I have ever seen. The performance was about two hours long and had three intermissions in it. We had front row balcony seats off center- pretty much by one or two seats- and could see the whole stage and over see the orchestra area. At the time of purchasing my ticket I was a bit hesitant at choosing those seats on the balcony because I did not know how far it would actually be from the stage and if I would not be able to see. After being convinced by my friend that they would be good seats I made the purchase and was very satisfied after the ballet. The day of the ballet I was running on little sleep so I tried very hard to keep my eyes open although my friend let the orchestra music get her because I could see her dozing off from the corner of my eye. It was quite funny. Since this was my first real ballet I had seen I was amazed at how these performers were so graceful and perfectly on point with the live orchestra playing, just beautiful. After the ballet we had gone to the restaurant we had eaten at before the ballet where I had pizza- as usual- but for desert this time. After a successful day and the start of my summer I was finally able to get some much needed sleep.
The next day after sleeping in late I finally got up and decided to walk around Covent Garden- which is in the area of the Royal Opera House- a very nice place but you must be careful for pick pocketer’s amongst the huge crowds of tourists. Thankfully I have not been a victim of theft but I know girls who have been during their time abroad. This is not something I feel I have had to worry about but keeping an eye open most of the time is important because you really never know when it will happen. So I did a little unnecessary shopping, walked around a lot, had a bite to eat then headed back to the apartment for a little before I headed to Hyde Park to go boating with the same friend I went to the ballet with because the weather had been so beautiful for the past few days. That entire day I was in shorts and a tee shirt all day long, it was just so wonderful. The time finally came for me to walk down to Hyde Park which is just about a 10 minute walk from my apartment. When I got there I saw tons of others taking advantage of the beautiful weather and just laying out in the sun. I have taken for granted the warm- sometimes extremely hot- weather year round in Texas and have missed that so much after being here in London. But that would go for staying in any other place that actually has different seasons of weather during the year. My friends and I spent the next three days enjoying the warm weather until it went back to being cold.
On Saturday my friend Ying and my flatmate Brittany and I decided we would go to Portobello Market for the first time for all of us. I had gone to the area before but not on market day which is so much better but so crowded as well. Portobello Market-as I may have mentioned before in another post- has vendors who sell new and old things, antique furniture, jewelry, vintage clothing, new clothing, hand made jewelry, and last but not least food. I really enjoyed this market, there is so much to see. You must plan to be there for a good three or more hours to walk down the road to see everything.
Sunday I woke up early to go to church and after walked all the way to the London Eye which seemed much closer than it actually looked when I saw the distance I walked from on top of the Eye. My feet have never hurt so much from all the walking I do here in London. Once I was done doing that and sat for a while with my friend, Ying- who I have done so much with during my time here- I headed off to meet a flatmate of mine at a beautiful park called Holland Park in the Notting Hill area and also near where Portobello Road is. That park is really worth a visit for anyone visiting London. I know I did not get to see the whole park but what I saw was really beautiful, kind of reminded me of Alice in Wonderland with all the colorful flowers everywhere. I had no idea where I was going when in the park, only following my flatmate who had gone there a couple days before. We sat in a cute little courtyard area, had our lunch and then laid out in the sun for a couple hours and relaxed- even took a little nap. The sun was still out but it started to get a little cool so we decided to head back to the flat.
Well just so you know I will continue to catch up on my blog. It has taken me longer than I thought to finish this entry and now my time has already come to an end. I will be leaving tomorrow morning (Tuesday, April 19th) so I will have plenty of time to write on the plane and post more once I get back. Once again I apologize for taking so long but will be sure to fill you in on what else I have done on my last days in London. As you can see with this post I have tried to enjoy it to the fullest and do as much as I could before it was time to head back to the states. Until next time!