Q: Jana, where are you from? Can you tell us a little more about your career path before you joined IFA Paris?
Jana: I’m from the Netherlands and graduated from high school at the age of 16. I came to France, to Versailles, to work as an au pair for 8 months and I studied French at the same time at La Défense. I was thinking of going back to Amsterdam to pursue my studies in fashion until I visited the IFA Paris campus.
Q: What were the reasons that made you choose IFA Paris to further your studies? You are in the 3rd and final year of the Bachelor in Fashion Design & Technology. When and why have you chosen to specifically enroll in this program?
Jana: During an Open Day, I became aware of the numerous possibilities, opportunities and multi-cultural aspects available on the IFA Paris campus in Paris. In 2016, my choice was more towards fashion marketing training because I lacked the self-confidence to hope to enter the fashion design sector. Today I thank the director and the teaching staff for believing in my creative qualities and encouraging me to make my dream come true: I really don't regret my decision.
Q: What was your biggest challenge when you moved to Paris? The greatest integration issues encountered, but perhaps also your most beautiful surprises?
Jana: Paris is a very special and magical city... but also very expensive, so the biggest challenge at first was financially. I had the chance to meet an exceptional family, and to be able to offer them my babysitting services in exchange for housing was great.
The most beautiful surprises? Even today I still marvel at my ability to design and wear my own clothes: it's an incredible feeling of pride!
Q: How did you manage to match the school's theoretical teaching with your various professional experiences?
Jana: Before joining IFA Paris, I knew how to sew but had never made a pattern before; for the first time this summer, I developed and marketed my own collection of clothes based on Upcycling (recycling clothes that are no longer needed to make new ones), while adapting the different designs and pieces in several sizes.
While studying, I worked for Victoria Beckham during Fashion Weeks. The school allows me to deepen my knowledge of design techniques, while my professional missions are more focused on sales promotion and customer relations: both are very complementary and very fulfilling.
Q: How important are internships to you? How do you choose them?
Jana: Internships are very important in the curriculum and I try to do as much as I can according to my academic and professional needs. I choose them according to the opportunities, the different experiences they can bring to me, but also make sure that they are in line with my own creative values.
For the past 2 years I have been working regularly for Victoria Beckham's showroom, and sometimes for Rick Owens. I have also carried out missions for Lola James Harper, Bensimon or Made in Paris.
Q: Among all the collaborations offered by the IFA Paris, which one was the most meaningful for you and why?
Jana: Without hesitation the first collaboration with Stackers (a Parisian store bringing together creative and original brands). It was an opportunity for me to establish new relations and meet influential people in the fashion industry.
Q: Has the IFA Paris course changed your global vision of fashion?
Jana: Yes, absolutely. Before I joined IFA Paris, I had a rather limited fashion vision. Today, thanks to the courses in fashion history, trend reports or the implementation of different projects, I am much more acquainted with the subject and with the approach of contemporary brands.
Q: What are your plans and objectives after graduation this year?
Jana: In a few years I have the ambition to create my own fashion studio in France or maybe in my home country. But in the meantime, I hope to be able to work for a fashion designer as soon as possible, where creativity and originality will be the brand's main driving forces.
Q: What advice could you give to a student who would like to join IFA Paris, but whose fear of emigration remains an obstacle to his decision?
Jana: To overcome his or her fears because Paris is the city of fashion and opportunities. To give yourself the means to follow your dreams to the end, even if it is not always easy, "hard work pays off ". This motto and the choice of this program at IFA Paris are the best decisions of my life so far!
To learn more on the program pursued by Jana: Bachelor in Fashion Design & Technology