Cara Armstrong

"My journey all started, as a girl with a dream in fashion. My parents weren't convinced as they thought the Fashion industry only happened for a few people. So I chose to go the safer route and study economics at Stellenbosch. However, just before I was meant to start a friend asked me for moral support & to come with her to write the LISOF entrance test. As soon as I was done, I knew this was what I wanted to do.

After 2 years at LISOF I was placed at the House of Busby for an internship. Without LISOF, this never would have happened. As I finished at LISOF, I was offered a job as an Allocator at The House of Busby for Aldo. After 2 years at Busby, I left as a junior planner and joined the Cotton On Family. Today I am the Group Planner for one of the largest luxury retailers, The Surtee Group. Working with brands such as, Versace, Michael Kors, Armani, Lacoste and a few more. I completely love what I do and I couldn't be happier. Without LISOF, I never would have found my happy medium between product and finance."

Stella Wall

"I have been in the fast paced, busy life of merchandising since the start of my career and have had the amazing opportunities to create product for both apparel & home-ware. The most rewarding part of my job for is seeing the product that I have worked on from start to finish in stores or seeing people wearing it.

The fundamentals of Merchandising is to develop good quality product that is commercial and affordable. Sourcing, trend forecasting, selling, travelling, negotiating, working daily with product & dealing with suppliers from around the globe is the essence of being a Merchandiser. You are constantly on the hunt looking for the next best thing to create!

I will hit the 5 year mark at the end of this year when I graduated from LISOF and I sure have grown into the career woman I have always wanted to be. LISOF was a fantastic foundation of exposing me to the industry and giving me the tools to thrive within the fashion World. I have the passion most importantly and will always have this drive no matter how challenging the current retail landscape is."

Yashika Makan

"Where do I start? Growing up I always pictured a creative element being a part of my life, and I grew up with a family in retail so this pulled me towards a career in fashion during matric. Lisof stood out for me because they offered a vast variety of subjects that broadened my knowledge and skill set creatively and logically and that ensured I thrived in the fashion industry. I had a pleasant experience with great exposure at Lisof! They really do want their students to put their best foot forward going into the retail industry.

The first permanent job I landed was at Edcon as an assistant buyer in the lingerie department where I currently am and loving it, despite its ups and downs. . In the interim I moved to the footwear and accessories department and that was an amazing experience for me as I got to buy product I grew up knowing, footwear. I then moved back into Intimatewear and I love what I do.

Retail is a very fast pace industry that is ever changing and to succeed one needs to keep up with the changes and by grasping this concept, it has made me stronger as an individual.

I am now striving towards bigger and better opportunities to building my career and I know my LISOFIAN status will help me through it."

Tiko

"I completed my Diploma at LISOF in 2013, have equipped myself with additional qualifications through UNISA, a certificate in retail buying and an advanced certificate in Sourcing and supply chain management. I have worked for numerous retialers in the capacity of a Footwear Buyer including Skye distribution and Edcon. I currently work for Puma SA as a key accounts junior manager."

Danielle Kushlick

"Danielle Kushlick, graduated in 2015 with BA in Fashion (majoring in pattern making, design and media studies). I further graduated with my honours in 2016 – specialising in fashion cultural studies. Through-out my college years I worked in retail, styling and as a freelance writer.

I also came back to LISOF and worked as a Sales Rep and Lecturer. Now I am based in Cape Town working as an assistant merchandiser at the clothing manufacturing company TCI."

Storm Stocker

"From a very young age I always knew beauty, Fashion and women’s well being would be the subject of my career.

Through the exploration of this notion I realized my natural inclination for design and fashion and thus my journey into fashion school began, LISOF. For the first time in my life I didn’t feel condemned to the norm, I didn’t feel I had to fit into a box I would have never fitted and I didn’t feel quite so airheaded as I was made out to be in high school I knew it was my calling and I had found my space of bliss. Getting a BA Degree at LISOF seemed to be child’s play due to my passion for the material, this passion always took away the pain of the realities of studying a material heavy and very time consuming degree.

Much like most things as passions grow so do career paths and the development of interests, in this space of thought and mindset is where my visions for TAKENBYSTORM developed, I knew that creating beauty is all I ever wanted to do but working for a brand wouldn’t give me what I needed in terms of creating a name for my self in this beauty and fashion industry, I had to be unique and bring something different to the table that would create an industry game changer.

Nothing can compare to the feeling you get inside of you when a women looks in the mirror once you are done to reveal the way she now sees herself, she is in ore, she has never felt this good and she cannot begin to imagine what she had been missing.

Ever heard the expression empower a women empower a nation, in this case empowering that women even just for one night could change her world, we all know the powers of positive self awareness and realization I don’t need to talk of the wonders in that, but the knowing that you created it makes you feel completely unstoppable and so incredibly powerful.

Being a professional Makeup Artist and Stylist like all things has it perks and it’s not so perky moments, there where a million opportunities available to me having come from a school like LISOF, however every choice and career decision I have made is based on these two philosophies and ways of thinking…

Always choose passion over pride for you will never work a day in your life and the second one is quite simple and it reads if what you doing doesn’t make someone feel better about themselves then are you even doing any thing at all.

They seem simple, uncomplicated and totally achievable, my belief is until you authentically doing what you love to do everyday whether you have no money or make no money you will always feel full and rich.

My advice for what its worth is take the plunge do the thing you love most and hey you never know you might build an empire while you at it. Don’t take my words for it just watch me build mine."

Wilmarie van der Merwe

"I completed a BA degree at Wits in 2010 majoring in English and International relations with the intention of completing my honours in investigative journalism. A week before writing my Honours entry exam for journalism I realized that I found greater joy in being able to recall the history of big fashion houses and name majority of the models in big campaigns and on the runways more than I could members or parliment both locally and globally - it wasn't ignorance, it was just a sudden realization that my love for fashion stemmed deeper than simply paging through magazines. It was then that I decided to attend the Lisof open day and on that day applied to write the entry exam.

In 2011 I started my journey at Lisof in the commercial side with the hopes of pursuing a career as a fashion journalist/critic.

In my final year (2013) I applied to complete my honours in fashion journalism while at the same time completing my undergraduate degree in fashion. While having fashion theory and trend forecasting as my favourite subjects I surprisingly fell in love with marketing; digital and social media marketing to be specific.

A requirement at LISOF is being placed in a workspace to gain work experience - I had written my name down for the big magazines (Elle and Marie Claire). I was placed in a smaller magazine at the time for my experiential work (Grazia) and although I requested to work in the editorial department I was placed in marketing. This was not the way I had imagined my career starting off. Little did I know that this was the greatest blessing from God in disguise.

Abulele Madasa

"Four years after graduating from LISOF. I reflect on my highest and lowest moments deciding (reassuring myself) that pursing my passion, as a viable career, was the right thing to do.

I’m sure the journey is similar for most: the option of a) studying a BCom in something-that-will-definitely-make-money, simply because it’s what ‘everyone says you should do’ versus b) choosing to study something-that-you-have-always-loved. For me, LISOF was an absolute no-brainer! In high school I had always wanted to become a Fashion Journalist. I found that LISOF gave me the chance to pick my subjects and craft my own degree, but it was still a well-recognized degree at the same time!

The only challenge, was pitching it to my parents.

They have always been supportive of my dreams, they simply wanted to know I valued my dreams - just as much as they supported them. The pitch was in the form of a spreadsheet, outlining all the institutions that offered a Fashion qualification: the fees, the structure, diploma or degree, the duration, everything - it was overwhelming! Just imagine, a budding matriculant, just 40 days before finally leaving high school - researching which fashion school to attend - I felt so grown up with such big life decisions to make! With all my facts presented in an Excel spreadsheet - LISOF won everyone over. I attended both Open Days in 2010 at Johannesburg and Pretoria and had an absolute blast! I met so many inspiring individuals that had dreams just as big as mine.

Fast-forward to first year, in Pretoria: I had a mini-meltdown when realising how many subjects I signed up for, and the fact that I had to excel at all of them. Thankfully, I steadily made it to the end of first and second year. With two beautiful years under my belt of studying, an internship and fun part-time job to add to my working experience, I felt I needed a change. I wanted to be more independent. After chatting with my parents, we agreed moving to Johannesburg would be the best thing to spread my wings, finish my degree and start my career in the City of Gold.

By now I had realised that Trend Forecasting was my favourite subject, as well as Fashion Theory which talked to the elements of the intricacies of the concept (and understanding) of fashion and of course Creative Design - where I could take the theories I learned to align with my own growing design aesthetic in an actual collection...

I was living on my own, without a single regret and surviving my first few months of independence, eating 2-minute noodles! How glamorous! I had new amazing friends, inspiration at all corners, the coolest campus (ever) and unforgettable adventures...

Third year demanded some next-level time management: from creating my own collection, to presenting a macro trend, and creating an actual buy plan. It made my head spin! With extra hours at campus, and sharing playlists and laughable moments with fellow students - we all made it through. I have graduated a young fashion graduate, in-bloom, on a path to disrupt the South African fashion industry as a working girl (cue the soundtrack). Most of us have landed different jobs in the industry, but all have LISOF as the beginning of our journeys.

I have worked with so many brands and met so many individuals that have helped shape a 360º view of the industry and working world. I worked as a: design assistant at Avant Apparel, an intern e-commerce at KISUA.com, to Ladies Footwear buyer at POLO. I’m currently the designer at Edgars for Teen Girls. It was been a whirlwind of a journey, one that I wouldn’t change for a second.

And it’s just the beginning..."

After the two weeks was up, I emailed the marketing manager at the time to ask if I could come in on my free days and do anything and everything that needed to be done (it was my last year of studying and I knew I needed a job the following year). I went in two days a week and for a couple of weeks on end I was doing databasing from 9am - 4pm; it was tedious but I was so grateful for the opportunity. This was on top of my daily undergraduate classes as well as my evening honours classes and the process and writing my dissertation.

After 6 months and at the end of 2013 I was offered a paid digital internship at Grazia - I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed because this was not where I saw myself being positioned but again, I was grateful for the opportunity when so many were struggling and knowing how hard it is to make it in the industry.

In a now unsurprising turn of events I fell in love with all things digital - I was able to write still for the Grazia website while being able to learn about all things social media at the time. After 5 months, I applied for the marketing assistant position but didn't want to let go of the digital element. Again, by the grace of God I was given the position of digital and marketing assistant at Grazia. I stayed (and loved!) in that position until June 2016 where I then left and moved to Hello Joburg magazine as the Digital Editor.

After a brief stint there I was granted the opportunity to fully deep dive into the world of digital and social media marketing as the Community Coordinator at Estée Lauder Companies working across a variety of brands within the company including: Smashbox, La Mer, Bobbi Brown, DKNY and Michael Kors.

I am still currently in this position and have never been happier. Thanks to Lisof, the friends I made and the lecturers who believed in me (as well as the mentors and colleagues I have worked with) I have found myself in a world I never imagined I could love this much. If it wasn't for that experiential working placement at Grazia I am not sure if I would be in the position I am today."

Sheena Bagshawe

"Sheena Bagshawe is a Fashion Stylist, Writer, Consultant and Blogger.

After completing a BA Fashion Design at LISOF in 2010, her aim was to find where she could best serve local fashion by working in as many parts of the industry as possible. To date, this includes assisting a brand consultant, working in retail, spending time at numerous multi-media titles such as ELLE, Marie Claire, Sunday Times Fashion Weekly and Wanted.

Sheena currently styles and consults for local brands, does wardrobe on stills and TV commercials and creates on online content. She is also passionate about mentoring others to help build the South African fashion industry."