We catch up with FAD volunteer and INTO Fashion member, Dapinder (Daps), to talk about how FAD has helped her to secure her dream job.
Daps has never been a quitter, but sometimes “you can never predict what life will throw at you.’ Due to personal events she wasn’t able to complete her degree in knitwear design and consequently found herself taking a very different path then the one she had envisaged.
“The best thing you can do in that sort of situation is pick yourself up. Due to financial circumstances I thought the only way to do this was to get some work and orient it around fashion.” So Daps decided to pursue a career in fashion but from a different angle. Like many young Londoners she worked in retail, starting on the shop floor before progressing into a senior sales and visual merchandising position at Banana Republic.
“I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been in a situation like this”. Like many young, creative people, Daps had the raw talent but lacked the financial support she needed to return to university so she had little choice but to find a paying job. An upbeat personality she decided to see her retail experience as a chance to be “paid to learn” but it was a difficult time for her all the same; “It’s easy to think you’re alone, and to compare yourself to your more successful friends.”
When Daps finally made the decision to come out of retail it took a lot for her to say “this isn’t what I want to do.” FAD’s INTO Fashion programme allowed her some breathing space to explore her options; to get advice from industry experts and professional help with her CV – “FAD gave me the foundation to build myself back up.”
At first Daps felt skeptical about her work experience, having not practiced on the creative side of things for a good few years. But after a CV session with FAD’s Creative Curriculum Director Joanne that soon changed. ‘Joanne pointed out that I had many transferable skills from my time in retail and needed to maximise my opportunities. The support from INTO fashion gave me the confidence to just go out and get what I wanted.’
Since mid 2015, Daps has been working in the Architecture, Design and Fashion department at the British Council. Even though it’s an internship, with FAD’s support Daps has secured herself the London Living Wage and is getting paid more now than she was working on the shop floor. But the most important thing for Daps is she is loves her job and feels like she is finally moving forward in her career. “The British Council is the biggest cultural organisation in the UK and our patron is the Queen! The brilliant thing about it is I’m learning on the ground and getting paid for it.”
FAD’s INTO Fashion programme targets graduates and college leavers aged 18-30 years old who have found themselves in low-paid, entry-level employment for at least 6 months, with limited prospects of career progression. This is made possible thanks to the support of the Trust for London.
To apply to the INTO Fashion programme please email firstname.lastname@example.org