A four-day academic field trip to London to attend industry meetings and a trade show is definitely my kind of field trip. I arrived in London and took to Brick Lane, an area famous for shopping and splattered with more vintage shops than my wallet could handle. The weather was uncharacteristically gorgeous. Much to my relief, everyone was speaking English, which made me way too excited. The bustle of London, the language, the grim and dirt on the streets… I felt at home and I fell in love.
On Monday we had a visit to Burberry on Regents Street where we received a behind the scenes tour of the amazing store. The cavernous lobby of this flagship location pointed your eyes towards a massive screen showing the most recent catwalks and ads from the season. Following Burberry, we took a smaller, more personal tour of Antipodium, an English brand with a smaller budget that is in expansion mode. Former FIT in Florence grad, Daniel Mcilwraith is the Head of Design and he gave us the details about working at a more personal brand. We got to explore the East End of London after, taking inspiration from the many unique retail stores and the insane street art found on every road. For the afternoon, we traveled up to Camden for more exploring through the famous Camden Markets. Exhausting? Yes. Amazing? Even more so.
Bright and early on Tuesday we headed to Pure Trade Show and walked along the
hundreds of booths.. While there, we were lucky enough to watch a fashion show, breaking up our time exploring booths for inspiration. After Pure we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Though the tube system is pretty easy to master, I got caught up in conversation and had a movie moment as I eagerly looked towards the doors just as they closed. Fellow FIT students reached for me towards the glass as the train took off to the next stop with my friend and I still inside. Once we finally made it to the V and A Museum, we were privileged to see a beautiful wedding dress exhibit. We ended the day at Harrods, one of the most famous department stores in the world. If you’re exhausted reading this, I understand… just imagine living it. I’m still trying to recover.
On Wednesday, we began the day with our highly awaited WGSN appointment. Nothing makes you feel fancier or more motivated (in my humble opinion) than being at the offices of the top trend forecasters in the world. Following WGSN, we took a walking tour of the city from a lovely guide. She taught us about all the main sites and I finally made my way to see good ol’ Big Ben and the London Eye. Nothing like seeing the important touristy stuff last, right?
It was a fast-paced trip in a fast-paced city… It’s reassuring to see that after the relaxed Italian pace I’ll still be able to hold my own in New York next fall. Everything about London was bursting with creativity and inspiration. It has history in its buildings and streets, yet the fresh, modern feel of New York. Am I gushing too much about my newfound love? Above all the things that made the school trip a success, one is making it out without getting taken down by a car on the wrong side of the road! As the Brits say, Cheers!
PS: I also got to see Platform 9 and ¾ for any HP fans out there… did I mention I love London yet?