I was told to prepare a presentation to be delivered in my interview. This was the brief :

“Define a contemporary curriculum for fashion buying and merchandising”.

I had been teaching part-time at the Fashion Institute for a year, and had thoroughly enjoyed the experience – and learnt a great deal about fashion in the process. But I had no industrial experience to draw on. The natural solution to this shortcoming was also the obvious solution: preparation and research. Around this time, I had been receiving a steady trickle of job offers, but none that particularly attracted me. This job however, was a job that I really wanted!

I researched curriculum design, current issues in the fashion industry, and particular issues in buying and merchandising. I had read two or three books on buying and merchandising, but decided I needed to know more. To that end, I contacted every university in the UK offering similar or remotely related courses and obtained their details. After doing this, I was able to identify all the main topics, since those were the most conspicuously common, and build into my curriculum additional, more up-to-date, novel topics.

After drafting the presentation a couple of times, I realised it was possible to distill the essentials into a “core” and layer on my extras as the “contemporary”. This seemed to work fairly well, but I noticed that my role in what I was proposing should be taught had lost visibility. To remedy this, I highlighted in bold purple every area of text that described activities or knowledge that I could provide.

Not only did I go into the interview prepared with a presentation comprising nine PowerPoint slides, I took in a large, printed poster made out of the slides – in case the technology failed, but also to have something to place on the table to demonstrate my modest ability to create something visually interesting and physical, which describes two of fashion’s most representative qualities, wouldn’t you say?

I got the job!

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