Diversity, sneaker culture & zines: size? collaborates with Fashion Communication students
BA (Hons) Fashion Communication students at Plymouth College of Art have collaborated with street and footwear brand size? in a series of live briefs, as part of the experience of the course. Students from each year of the Fashion Communication degree were challenged to take real world brand elements into their studies, developing brand campaigns, blog posts, professional profiles and zine projects for the respected shoe and clothing retailer.
Plymouth College of Art and size? have been collaborative partners for several years, working together on course modules, live briefs and opportunities for students to showcase their work at prestigious events such as Graduate Fashion Week. In previous years, size? have worked with students across our fashion courses, including a collaborative project to experiment with the classic Converse sneaker, to giving students early access to an exclusive Reebok release which were worn by models on final year catwalk shows at Graduate Fashion Week 2019.
Working closely with size?’s Talent & Community Manager, Dan Langhorn, Senior Lecturer and Subject Leader of BA (Hons) Fashion Communication, Milly Brown developed the modules, incorporating size?’s styling guidelines and innovative marketing strategies, cultivating an environment for students to experience the reality of promotional pitches in industry. Students were also given the chance to win £100 gift cards for the established sneaker store.
Students studying their first year were asked to create a zine as part of their module, embracing the editorial aspect of fashion practice. Unable to pick just one winner, students Missy Radcliffe and Molly Robinson were both selected with their fashion zines. Molly focussed her attention on the fashion industry with her zine, ‘Send Nudes’, aiming at stripping back the fashion industry, exposing the unvoiced and hidden issues of the industry. Missy embraced sneaker culture with her zine, ‘Sneaker Season’, featuring top-rated sneakers, women in the sneaker scene and reviews of recent releases.
Missy explains the inspiration behind her project, “It was predominantly my own experiences in the sneaker industry that inspired me. It's increasingly noticeable that women aren’t as represented in the community and I wanted to create a platform for women to be able to have a voice.”
“It felt amazing to find out I’d won. I love size? so much, so I really wanted to stand out and get chosen. As soon as the gift card came, I picked up a pair of Nike Air Max 96 II OG Womens. I’m obsessed!”
Second year students were challenged to develop a promotional pitch for size?, complete with marketing strategies, proposals and mock-ups. Winner Elize Sayer took inspiration from size?’s own brand guidelines, showcasing the bright orange typography and black and white photography that has become synonymous with size?’s aesthetic.
Elize, who lives in Plymouth, said, “I researched the brand in-depth via their marketing platforms, social media and physical store spaces and design. I chose to gather inspiration from their brand aesthetic and communications, incorporating my love and passion for fashion photography. I have always enjoyed taking photographs, as well as fashion, and therefore decided to create my own photoshoot inspired by the brand, while also taking the role of a Creative Director at size?. I wanted to ensure that the brand vision and aesthetic were evident within the final images, which meant that I had to recreate their traditional style and feature the well-known brands that are sold by size?.”
“I was quite surprised when I heard that I’d won the competition as I found the module quite difficult initially. It was a challenge to produce work in a style that was so different from my own, however as I began the project, I started to really enjoy the creative side and working for a brand, creating content. With such a successful brand such as size?, I felt excited and proud knowing I’d won and it’s pushed me to keep up my drive and passion for photography. As for the prize money, I know that I would love another pair of Nike Air Force 1’s as they are my go to trainer, and mine are very old and battered!”
Students in their third year were asked to create a portfolio of promotional material alongside a journal of reflective material including research, visuals and personal branding. Emily Skinner, who graduated with the Class of 2021, conceptualized her winning idea with an extensive portfolio inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.
Emily said, “When the Black Lives Matter movement happened last year, I was made much more aware of my position as a white, female middle-class person trying to set up a social media related business. I have a responsibility to address diversity issues in my own business, so I wanted to make the work I produced diverse. With some brands being inclusive purely because of a response from the movement rather than addressing it within their business’ values, I wanted to take my work to a deeper level.”
“I was really happy when I found out I’d won. It’s a topic I knew I had to address carefully and with an understanding of my position, so I’m glad that it was carried out at a level that was considered good enough to win! I love a good pair of Converse so I might get a pair of high tops with my size? gift card.”
Subject Leader and senior lecturer for BA (Hons) Fashion Communication, Milly Brown said, “It is so important for students to work with brilliant industry project partners, such as size?, during their undergraduate education. Our students do this by working on live briefs such as these, but also by taking active roles in lectures with visiting professionals and during internships.”
“Through continuing to work with size? this year, students from all year groups have gained invaluable insights into customer behaviours, business practices, content creation and branding strategies. This enriches their learning and builds their confidence and, really importantly, their professional networks - as come graduation this will be a real advantage for our Fashion Communication students.”
“The roles and opportunities in our industry are always changing, and working with generous and supportive partners such as size?, allows our students to see what part of the industry will be the ‘best fit’ for them.”
Dan Langhorn, Talent & Community Manager at size? and Footpatrol (JD Sports Fashion PLC) said, “At size?, we set about linking up with the most creative universities in the UK and Plymouth College of Art appeared high on our list. Linking up with Plymouth College of Art for these curricular briefs is just the latest of many projects we’ve worked together on. These included giving students the opportunity to experiment with the classic Converse sneaker and giving early access to a Reebok release which were worn on final year catwalk shows at Graduate Fashion Week 2019. What we had submitted was exactly what we hoped to see and surpassed our expectations, showcasing not only the students’ talents but the results that can be gained with industry and education work together. Long may this connection with size? and Plymouth College of Art continue.”
BA (Hons) Fashion Communication at Plymouth College of Art has also collaborated with Vogue, ID Magazine, It’s Nice That, Dior, GQ, Urban Outfitters, Topshop and Finisterre. With industry links, guest speakers and internships on offer, this creative and hands-on degree is for students who aspire to work in fashion imaging, styling, social media, branding or publishing, producing graduates who are ready for a wide range of roles in the global fashion, lifestyle and beauty industries. If this sounds like the course for you, why not check out an Open Day or skip straight to the How to Apply page?