On Friday, I spent a few brilliant hours at Vogue's Fashion Festival. One of the events on the agenda was Kate Hudson in conversation with Stella McCartney. As you can imagine, the auditorium was packed out. Towards the end, the floor was opened up for questions from the audience. One young girl, 16 years old, stood up and explained how much she admired Stella and the brand she has created and then proceeded to ask Stella for work experience with her. In front of 700 people. Stella said "Yes, of course. Give me your number NOW" How could she not? Sometimes, that's the kind of thing you have to do to get noticed in a massively competitive industry like fashion.
Conde Nast has another project up its sleeve, just as innovative as the Vogue Fashion Festival. It's the Conde Nast College and will open its doors in January 2013 to its first cohort of students. There are currently two course options- the 10 week Vogue Fashion Certificate (£6,600) or the year-long Vogue Fashion Foundation Diploma (£19,560). We all know, and I'm not going to repeat at length, that the ratio of eager Fashion industry wannabes to available jobs is way out of line. We also know that, whether we like it or not, the accepted way to get into fashion is to get internships and prove yourself through work which is often unpaid. That's the status quo. So I'm wondering whether the Conde Nast College will change that? Not really they told me when I rang earlier, "We will be arranging work placements and internships for the most promising students". So it's a great way in if you impress enough but you still have to do the work experience like everyone else.
|One of the enticing images from Conde Nast college's prospectus|
The admissions team were frank about the reality of the Conde Nast College. They told me "The calibre of visiting lecturers will be like that at the Vogue Fashion Festival, but no you won't get loads of contacts". If that's the case, then I wonder what sets it apart from other fashion education providers?"The Conde Nast name" I was told. That's true, it's a powerful pull. They added, "The courses will teach you what you need to know, unless you follow fashion religiously already".
It seems brilliant. If the Vogue Festival is anything to go, I'm imagining an editing master class with Alex Shulman one week, a mentoring workshop with Tom Ford the next... those sound like money-can't-buy-experiences. But Conde Nast IS offering them up for anyone willing to pay. Like A.C Grayling's New College of The Humanities, those with the funds can access the very best and most exciting people in the fields they're most interested in. Of course, A.C Grayling will give you an actual degree at the end of it whereas Conde Nast College relies on its name alone- there are no Undergraduate degrees or Masters being handed out here, just certificates and diplomas. What we want to know is would you pay?
|Will dreams come true courtesy of Conde Nast College?|
I asked my Twitter followers if they'd pay and there was a mixed response. I think the draw is huge. For those aspiring to careers within Conde Nast's magazine repertoire, it could seem like the perfect way in. If you've got the funds, why wouldn't you? Libby said "I'm sure the contacts you'd make would be incredible, but it's such a daunting amount of money for most". This makes me think back to the girl at the Vogue Festival. If Stella does honour her promise to give her work experience then arguably she has only had to pay the price of entry ticket (£75 at most, not £19,560) for a golden key to the career she wants.