From memorizing the lines of the London Underground to learning never to say that “fashion is my passion” in an interview, my experience at Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design reshaped everything I thought I knew about fashion.

I impulsively enrolled in the Vogue Summer Intensive Program in attempt to find some personal guidance —I thought moving to London on my own for the summer would provide some insight into what I wanted to do with The Rest of My Life. My intention was not necessarily to jump-start a career in the fashion industry, but rather to gain a wider perspective on myself, my abilities, and my potential.

Hareer participated in the Vogue Summer Intensive Program. Source: Kiera Forse.

First, studying at the college definitely felt like a 9-5 job —in the best possible way. Typically, I woke up at 7:00 am, walked to Angel station to catch a train on the Piccadilly line —got lost on the Piccadilly line —before exiting at King’s Cross Station. Then, I’d meet a friend for breakfast at Prêt in Russell Square, walk through the British museum to Soho, and get a coffee at a French inspired café. I’d grab the latest issues of Vogue and GQ at the front reception of the college and start my day. My mornings were as busy as the city itself, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Each week of instruction was dedicated to a different field within the industry, allowing students to build a portfolio as a journalist, creative director, photographer, and illustrator. Every day was filled with organizing last minute photoshoots, improvising slide shows, building mood boards, and being star struck by each visitor who lectured in the college.

Located in central Soho, the interior of the college has a crisp, white decorative aesthetic, and includes the largest —and most mesmerizing —Vogue archive I’ve ever laid eyes on. The library stretched beyond Condé Nast publications, and was filled with fashion books on photographers, designers, and illustrators. It was hard to believe that a place so chic could also be so academically invigorating.

Learning to be a part of a billion-dollar industry is a challenge however, the college managed to explain everything in the span of a month. They covered a range of theoretical and practical topics, including Dior’s corset comeback in the 1950’s and the process of photo-shopping the Vogue logo onto the magazine’s cover. Every room was magnetized with potential, knowledge, and the desire to succeed in a cutthroat industry.

Moreover, being in London had it perks. From unintentionally photographing Sonny Hall for an assignment to meeting my favorite photographer in the bathroom at Michelin-starred restaurant sketch London, I was suddenly surrounded by creative geniuses. Everyone gleamed with talent. A casual dinner could have me seated in between the new creative director for Oscar de La Renta and the future Petra Collins.

Hareer in front of Vogue House. Source: Kiera Forse.

Finally, I graduated from the program. Before this experience, I was quite confused about the industry and my possible place within it. Now, whether I pursue a future in the industry or not, nothing seems too far off to achieve —it’s safe to say I learnt the value of harnessing my creativity.

The future is wide-open, and I know this vast, intimidating industry has a place for growing talent. Who knows where my career will take me? I might end up as a contributor for a Condé Nast publication, or simply go down in history as the legendary business intern that met Timothée Chalamet at a benefit.

Header Image Credit: Kiera Forse