Interview with Professor Frances Corner

Professor Frances Corner
Professor Frances Corner
Head of College
London College of Fashion
London College of Fashion

‘Fashion’-this word is very glamorous! And, it influences a lot to a student. This either can be an illusion or a reality for the student in context to his/her career?

Fashion is about glamour but it is also a powerful way of communicating, inspiring and engaging people on important issues. Take Catalytic Clothing for example, ( a great example of using the vehicle of fashion for the common good. Fashion is more than just about clothes. It communicates who we are and our uniqueness. Fashion allows self expression, and for us to explore our true nature as human beings. Here at LCF, we teach fashion in the broadest sense from ethical issues to the catwalk, and aim to arm our students with all the tools necessary to be truly successful after graduating.

How do you see the market scenario, such as getting a break into the industry?

We encourage students to gain work experience whilst studying, which is much more important than it used to be in terms of gaining a foothold in the industry. Employers see this as an advantage (as well as good academic qualifications) in a competitive jobs market. Besides, our students are also encouraged to networking as much as possible, attending industry talks, being involved in industry projects whilst studying and making contacts, can all help in the search for a first job and are useful skills to have throughout your career.

There is cut-throat competition in the market, globally. What is your formula for students for their healthy future panorama?

A big part of our work focuses on providing students and graduates with the tools they need to enhance their chances of finding work. Whilst we broker many student placements and graduate vacancies directly, we also ensure that our cohort understands how to strategically plan their job search, develop networks and of course self promote. The role we play also focuses on utilising industry contacts as careers coaches, through mentoring individuals and talks on recruitment processes and core professional skills to large groups of students considering their next step after higher education. Moreover, more industry exposure that LCF students can get before leaving the college ensures that they have a higher chance of showcasing their talents at an earlier stage than their competitors from other educational backgrounds or experiences.

Rather than theory, fashion is more about practical wisdom. What are those practical facets that you are guiding your students? Please explain.

The college’s heritage is routed in well established technical trade schools, which were opened to train in the art of dressmaking, millinery, embroidery and hairdressing. This means that all of our courses have a firm grounding in the practical skills necessary to make beautiful items. Fashion education today, whilst having a firm foot in technical skill development, is also about understanding the psychology behind fashion and developing the ability to think more about the work and ourselves. Practical areas of teaching are responsive to this. Research skills underpin the understanding of colour, texture, pattern, print, shape, fabric, finish, pattern cutting, construction, illustration, computer aided design, typography, surface textiles, etc.
Published on: 20/12/2012

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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