Fashion in vogue for Irish journalism student

Sarah Waldron is on a journalism pathway with other fashion students

Sarah Waldron (26), from Tralee, Co Kerry, has just started an 18-month MA in fashion at London’s Central Saint Martin’s. She’s been working as a fashion blogger and freelance reporter since leaving college.

Sarah Waldron (26), from Tralee, Co Kerry, has just started an 18-month MA in fashion at London’s Central Saint Martin’s. She’s been working as a fashion blogger and freelance reporter since leaving college.

Sat, Nov 2, 2013, 01:00

Sarah Waldron (26), from Tralee, Co Kerry, has just started an 18-month MA in fashion at London’s Central Saint Martin’s. She’s been working as a fashion blogger and freelance reporter since leaving college.

“This MA is the only non-design course in the fashion college,” she explains by phone from London. She is one of only eight in her course, and the only Irish person.

“It’s a journalism pathway, but we’re in the same class as the fashion design students. They don’t do the writing assignments, and we don’t do the design assignments.”

There are 40-plus people in total in the combined class. The other seven students in Waldron’s specific strand of study are from China, Thailand, Korea, Greece, Australia, Dubai and England.

“We get to shadow the designers and observe them at work,” she says. “We will have a better understanding of how things are made. We will also be shadowing two designers intensively for a period of three months, as they do their final project. That is going to be very exciting, because you get to choose who you want to follow. You could be shadowing the next Alexander McQueen or Christopher Kane. ”

Waldron is careful to differentiate between “fashion” and “style”.

“My interest is not so much in fashion, but in people’s general style and how they express it. It’s a microcosm of the world.”


‘Different materials’
As a small child of four and five, her grandmother spent a lot of time looking after her.

“Both my nan and my mother were very into clothes and tailoring and different materials. When she was minding me, my nan would take me into shops and show me buttons and hems and seams. That was an interesting way to entertain a four year old!”

As for fashion itself, Waldron points out, “You don’t see people slavishly following trends in other ways, in the same way they follow trends in fashion. If you’re following things because others are, all you’re saying is that you’re a sheep.”

For her, teenagers are the most interesting people to watch. “I’m obsessed with teenagers, and their style,” she admits. “Young people are the ones who started fashion as self-expression. Teenagers are the genesis of most modern trends. People’s personal style is often dictated by subculture and not necessarily by designers. Subculture comes from teenagers, or at the very least, subcultures are popularised by teenagers because they’re brave, they’re open to experimentation and, most importantly, they really, really care. They care about everything.”

Waldron defines Irish style as “unpretentious, whereas so many people in London dress to be looked at. Irish women are never totally polished, they tend to look a bit wild, never totally done.”


‘Outlandish and provocative’
As for her own style, she says, “In my head, I’m outlandish and provocative, but then I look at all the black jumpers and grey T-shirts I own and sigh.

“My style is quite simple. I wear neutral colours most of the time; black and grey. I will forever maintain that leopard print is a neutral. I love mixing textures: sequins, leather, net, neoprene, lurex, and PVC. More than once I’ve had a necklace confiscated at the airport on the grounds that it could be used as a weapon.”

Does she consider that people who report on fashion, particularly high-street fashion, have an ethical obligation to be mindful of where cheap clothes come from and also report on that?

“The thing with fashion is that it’s disposable. A lot of problems that come with fashion, such as poor working conditions, are based on following trends. Unfortunately, fashion journalism focuses mostly on design and the end product – any journalist who mentions ethics is in danger of being shunted off to the green ghetto away from mainstream fashion journalism.

“Journalism that considers the ethics of fashion production will often be filed as ‘ethical’ journalism rather than ‘fashion’ journalism. This is a pity – while it’s brilliant to know how a designer works in the studio, it’s also essential to know how clothes are made. In a perfect world we’d be buying less, and buying better quality.”


Highly competitive
It costs £10,000 to do the course at St Martin’s and, despite the cost, it’s a highly competitive process to gain a place.

“They wanted everything bar a urine sample,” Waldron says laconically. For each person who gets offered a place, at least nine others are turned down.

To fund the course that she didn’t yet have a place on, 18 months ago Waldron moved from Cork, where she had been living, back home to Tralee to save money. As well as her fashion blog, thelicentiate.com, she did some reviewing and started an events company. She has now taken out a student loan.

And what does she hope is at the end of the course for her? She laughs. “In a perfect world, I’d have a staff job with a very nice biennial magazine.”

Sign In

Forgot Password?

Sign Up

The name that will appear beside your comments.

Have an account? Sign In

Forgot Password?

Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In or Sign Up

Thank you

You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.

Hello, .

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

Thank you for registering. Please check your email to verify your account.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.