Here at Fashion North, all our content is produced by fashion journalism students at the University of Sunderland who dream of becoming editors of glossy magazines, fashion stylists or social media managers.
Our class of 2022 started their journey back in September 2019 as wide-eyed freshers. Along the way, they have made lookbooks and moodboards, created TikTok videos, recorded podcasts, and written thousands of words about fashion and beauty. There’s been endless conversations about celebrity collabs and the best eyebrow products.
It hasn’t been the easiest time for them with a global pandemic causing lockdown and postponed exams, a cyber attack on the university which wiped out their emails, and, most recently, Storm Arwen blowing the roof off the Media Centre building where they study.
However, as their final Fashion North newsday looms, they reflect on their three-year journey towards graduation next July by writing a letter to their fresher selves.
If you want to join them and the Fashion North team, here is where you can find out about the BA (Hons) fashion journalism course.
Our graduates work at You magazine, Mail on Sunday, Burberry, Gymshark, styling Nicole Scherzinger, Harrod’s and a whole host of other fashion destinations.
HOLLY ALLTON, FEATURES EDITOR
Dear fresher me,
You cried so much when people you went to school with graduated in 2016, and you
saw the photos of them in their cap and gowns all over Instagram. You thought it
would never be you. You thought you had missed your moment. Holly, you’re only
24, chill out. Your moment is going to happen soon!
You never thought you’d be smart enough to get into university and do well in it, but
don’t worry, you will. You’ll constantly be fretting if you’ll make it to third year,
especially since everyone says second year is the hardest, you can’t imagine how
you’ll get through it. But now, in your final year, you are getting closer and closer to
the graduation you always dreamed of.
You’re still living at home, and you are so worried about being 24 years old when
everyone else on your course is between the ages of 18-19. You’d be incredibly
surprised to find out you’ll make some amazing friends for life, despite the age gap.
In 2021, you’re living in a studio flat in the centre of Sunderland with your boyfriend.
You go out to the city for drinks and food with your friends all the time. You are so
You think that the personality you currently have is the one you are stuck with for life,
but you actually end up finding out who you really are within the next three years,
and you end up being very proud of who you have become. University has been the
best time of your life, even if you had to survive a global pandemic, cyber-attacks
and the roof of the media centre blowing off. It’s been a wild ride, but you’ll never
ever forget it.
Love from, third year you. x
ABIGAIL BLEWITT – WRITER
Dear Fresher me,
Don’t worry, I know you are stressed right now because you found out the course you were originally on wasn’t for you. And yes, it may seem as if you’re in a haze of self-doubt and confusion about what you want to do in University, if you even want to go anymore.
But don’t worry because you tapped into your love for writing and fashion, with a course that you are going to love. At first it might seem strange, going on a whim and listening to what you really want to do, but don’t worry because you’re going to love every minute of it.
With grades and a support net from academics and friends, you’re going to flourish and find a newfound confidence in writing, instead of doing it as a hobby. You’re going to make the best set of friends you would ever think of, that you get on so well with and have many laughs along the way.
The friends you have are for life, they help you overcome struggles both in uni and out and are there with you every step of the way.
It’s going to be tough, with some horrible obstacles along the way, but you’ll push past them and with each obstacle you’ll find strength and motivation to keep going and to not give up. There’ll be a global pandemic along the way that will stunt you and isolate you from your friends, but don’t worry because you’ll push past that obstacle of lockdown and come out the other side raring to sink your teeth back into uni on campus.
With these obstacles do come so fantastic opportunities that you would never have dreamed of, with masterclasses from those already in the industry to collaborating with the Bridges in Sunderland on numerous occasions styling their mannequins to be seen on display by hundreds of people.
You’ve come out of your shell since joining uni and I’m so proud of the things that you are yet to achieve.
Love Abigail x
LUCY BRITNELL, EDITOR
Dear fresher me,
bedsheet into dresses, to starting your ‘Fashion with Lucy’ blog in secondary school.
You have always known this is meant for you even if not everyone you met over the next
three years is on board with your goals. Don’t let those distractions affect what YOU want,
it will be hard cutting them out of your life but no dream is too hard to reach.
The next three years are going to be amazing. You’re going to grow so much both
academically and personally. You’ll go on to pass all your modules where you will
learn some amazing skills that will set you up to work as a journalist.
proud of how far you’ve come creatively and with your writing – stop being so hard
on yourself and be proud of all the work you produce.
I can’t lie and say it’s going to be a breeze, there’s going to be some low points and
a global pandemic that changes the typical university experience. But with every obstacle
outfit and pretend to be Elle Woods, you’ve got this! You will become even more
resilient: nothing is too difficult and unachievable.
The shopping addiction is only going to get worse but I think thankfully you’ve found
your style and confidence to wear what you want. From this you’ve found a passion
for styling through your modules, from doing your own at-home shoots making a bin
bag into a dress (I think that was the peak of lockdown) to organising, styling and
producing your own shoot for your third-year assignment.
University is going to open so many doors for you and you’re going to have some of
the most amazing experiences. You will become Editor of Fashion North – something
you have wanted and worked so hard for since your first weeks of university. You’ll
get some real-life styling experience as you work with The Bridges Sunderland
designing their style pods and you will participate on a shoot for a womenswear
brand Luxe Elle.
Your future self x
SORINA MIHAILA, BEAUTY EDITOR
Dear fresher me,
I know you are still thinking whether you made the right decision or not. It will take a while
until you settle down and feel that you have more stability in this new country, but you won’t
You will meet amazing people and rediscover your passion for writing, but you will also get
through an experience that will change the world and change your life completely. It’s going
to be tough, and you will have to get through everything on your own, but you will find the
light at the end of the tunnel. You will pass your exams and see your family, but more importantly, you will learn a lot from this. You will become more mature, you will prioritise the things that truly matter in your life and you will start loving yourself again. It will take a lot of resilience and perseverance, but you will enjoy your studies here,
I know you might be feeling nervous now, but you will become much more
confident, and you will learn all the skills that will make you a good journalist. Media Law
will remain your favourite module, but there are many others you will love.
You will be surprised to see that this place will slowly start to feel more like home and yes,
you will eventually be able to tell the difference between a Geordie and a Mackem.
I know you might find it strenuous sometimes, but always remember that you have to work
hard to get where you want. Go easy on yourself and trust the process. It’ll all be worth it.
MEGAN WEST, Fashion North agony aunt
Dear Fresher me,
It’s crazy to think that just three short years ago I was in your shoes, and that isn’t a compliment! Honestly, Meg, what were you thinking wearing heels to your first day of Uni? I mean I know what you were thinking, you wanted to look fashionable and prove you were worthy of being a fashion journalist one day.
But just so you know, and as your lecturer Carole likes to remind us, the minute you climb the stairs into the MediaHUB, you are a fashion journalist. You were then and you most definitely are now. Seriously, though, heels? You were warned there would be campus tours!
As scared and intimidated as you are now, you will soon find your tribe. Three years on and I couldn’t imagine life without them. They may still see you as the baby of the group, but we’ve come to embrace that.
You’re so young and keen but don’t forget to listen to those who are older and wiser around you. (Holly will love me for saying that). You may be the baby of the group but let me tell you, girl, you’ve got some guts! You’ve achieved things that you never thought possible. Phone interviews for one!
Don’t forget to take risks, step outside your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to get involved. I know you feel like an imposter right now, and to some extent that has never gone away, but you will soon find your groove. FYI if you haven’t figured it out yet, fashion is most definitely your groove. Get stuck in and learn as much as you can. Oh, and if you can start revising for your media law exam in second year like now that would really help us in the long run…
I hope you don’t mind me giving you some advice, but then again, I am older and wiser than you. Use every second of first year to your advantage. You’ve always been a little worker bee but trust me, take a step back and enjoy what you have now.
If you ever struggle or want to give up, I’d like to let you in on a little hack we’ve discovered over our three years. Just imagine yourself in your graduation gown surrounded by your soon-to-be best friends, waving at your parents. Trust me it works every time, It has got us through A LOT.
You are resilient, you are creative, you are so so naive (but don’t worry the workload will soon sort that out). Sadly, your tendency to stress and overthink has never gone away, but as Daniel and Tyler like to remind you, keep calm and carry on. You’ll get there and when you do you will be so proud of yourself. I’m proud of you now and you haven’t even done anything yet!
P.S. If you want to make the most of being able to stand less than two metres away from people, I wouldn’t be mad at you. Hell, even give them a hug from me. I can’t tell you why exactly, just trust me.