Robbie Thorpe

Major: Apparel, Merchandising, and Design
Class: Junior
Timeframe: Spring 2023

Overall Experience

My overall experience was exceptional. I learned valuable information from professors who currently work in the industry while exploring a booming city. I traveled to four different countries while abroad and learned about different cultures. During my four months abroad, I grew as a person, becoming confident in my abilities and knowledge.

Learning experience

While abroad, I worked on a semester-long case study in my marketing class at the London College of Fashion. The class taught me the value of a marketing plan; without one, your company will fail. I also learned that no textbook or scholarly articles can teach you what hands-on learning can teach you. Getting out into the world is the best way to learn and gain experience.

Memorable experience

My most memorable and favorite experience abroad was the Moncler Genius event I attended with my flatmates during London Fashion Week. The event was for Moncler's collaborations with Adidas, Rick Owens, Pharell, and FRGMT. The event was completely free, and Alicia Keys performed. The event was held in an old train station with a different exhibition for each collaboration. The event was like nothing I had ever been to before.

What did you not expect?

What surprised me was how willing other creatives are to work with you. When I began to assemble the two photoshoots I worked on, I was terrified about finding a model, photographer, and hair and makeup artist. Not only did I not know anyone in London, but I also thought no one would want to work with us because we were just students with little to no prior experience. However, as we began assembling our team, I realized that was false. Everyone you know, even people you don't, is willing to help and work with you. Creatives are excited to help other creatives, and everyone needs portfolio work. You can find many resources you never knew you had by reaching out and asking.

What advice would you give?

My advice to other students considering a similar path is to do it. Nothing you experience at Iowa State University can begin to compare to what you will experience abroad once you abroad say yes to as many things as possible. Even if the event doesn't seem like something you would typically do, or the person doesn't seem like someone you would typically hang out with, say yes. You never know what will come of the adventure. Be spontaneous even if you don't think you are a last-minute person. Just go for it. The best memories will come from missing your flight and sleeping in the airport, booking tickets to Spain after talking about it for less than 30 minutes, or walking into a wine bar in Paris even though you are the only customers and barely speak French.

How has this experience impacted your life?

While abroad, I learned to work with people with different work ethics than me. I worked on becoming a more patient and considerate person. Both in my personal life and academically, I worked on admitting that I was wrong or did not know something instead of trying to skirt by. Academically I gained real-world experience through organizing photoshoots, attending London Fashion Week, and working on a semester-long marketing case study. My study abroad experience impacted my long-term goals, as I now desire to travel more. I would also love to find a job in England.

How did you learn about this experience?

I first learned about this international opportunity during my senior year of high school when I visited Iowa State University. Having the opportunity to study abroad was a very important aspect for me when choosing where I wanted to attend college. In my Junior year, an employee of London College of Fashion came to my AESHM 311 class and spoke about the program. From then on, I knew studying abroad in London was something I had to do.

International Connections