Published on January 16, 2013 | by Elspeth Merry

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We all scream for I Scream

Alexandra Plesner is the creator of the multi-sensory experience [Pun Sarasas]

Alexandra Plesner has a prized CV under her belt, from working at Swarovski Austria, to freelancing as a Creative Projects Manager for online and print platforms— from publications such as Tank Form and Dazed Digital to Purple Magazine.

But it wasn’t until Plesner attended Central Saint Martins that her childhood dream was fulfilled, where she established I Scream Factory as a multi-sensory MA Project— created to explore the “perceptions of life through the medium of ice cream by delving into the metaphoric possibilities of the product.”

Whilst at Central Saint Martins

“I always dreamed of moving to London and studying at Saint Martins. My parents could not afford to send me there for my BA, but they invested all they could in order to let me study Fashion Design at the ESMOD in Munich. After graduating I spent several years working at Swarovski Austria for two incredible women, Carla Rumler (Cultural Director of Swarovski and then Creative Director) and Dr. Gabriela Depisch-Holicky (my supervisor) who taught me a great deal about the creative industry and life in general.

“However, I soon reached a point where I felt in order to pursue my dreams I needed a dramatic change sooner rather than later. So I made my application to study at the institution I had dreamed of attending almost a decade before. I didn’t really go to CSM to in order to prepare for the ‘real world,’ I went there to escape it. It worked. If I could, I would stay at Saint Martins until the day I die.”

“Personally find it terrible that a lot of people starting out are left with no option but to work for free.” Alexandra Plesner

“After leaving Saint Martins I quite quickly found a role as the Head of Branding and Marketing for the fashion start up Not Just A Label.

“Not so fortunately however, there just isn’t the money available to these companies that, for example, Swarovski Austria has at their disposal.

“Eventually I had to leave this position, but was able to look back on it as a great learning tool regarding the state and function of the industry in London. I personally find it terrible that a lot of people starting out are left with no option but to work for free or for as little as £500 a month for a full time job, and we can be talking about years not just months here.

“This makes it nearly impossible for graduates and young professionals without a wealthy, and generous, family to support them to gain ground in the industry. It seems that UK companies are not as rigorously scrutinised for their employment policies as they are in Austria. Of course, this helps less financially viable companies survive a recession, but it can be a vicious circle.

With all my previous experienced based in Austria and Germany, it is people like Melanie Crete (former digital manager of the Dazed Group), Kim Ing (former project leader at Tank Form), Paula Goldstein (Digital Director of Purple Magazine), Michelle Sadlier (now Social Media Manager at Net-A-Porter), Hywel Davies (Freelance fashion writer and journalist; Pathway Leader Fashion Promotion & Communication course Central Saint Martins), Fiona Mackay (Digital Director at Karla Otto) to name but a few, that have been so integral to my transition in one way or another.”

Guest lecturing at London College of Fashion

“Diana Donaldson, now Course Director Fashion Media Styling at LCF, was working as a tutor during my time at CSM. She was simply amazing during my time there and I was honoured when she thought of me and suggested the opportunity, and of course I jumped at the idea.

I Screamin’ [Sara Mautone]

Being able to share my experiences first hand and hopefully being able to inspire or assist the new breed is the most amazing feeling. Students tend to contact me after the lecture and ask for single advice sessions and I try to find time to do so. I love teaching and I hope I can do a lot more of that in the future, maybe that is my way back to CSM “… until the day I die.””

What’s next for the I Scream project

“Plans are beginning to formulate for another exhibition next year, when the weather becomes a little more ice cream friendly.

I also just began contributing to Post New Magazine’s blog ‘The Breaks,’ under the ‘Ice Cream Edits’ banner and am toying with the idea to develop the posts into a printed book with an image recognition app that will allow people to unleash additional rich content simply through hovering their device over the pages.”

Going on to say, “Eventually ice cream becomes a medium of visual communication in which to trigger innate physiological sensitivity to sensory stimulation. Fusing ice cream with the arts, and thusly the body with the intellect. Potentially, ice cream in its function as a product, but more interestingly as a metaphor and a medium, can momentarily suspend the subconscious flow of everyday consciousness, allowing the artistic process to impact within the individual.”

Job satisfaction

“Fulfilment in my job means working with interesting characters, connecting people, making things happens together, thinking outside the box, and pushing boundaries. Since living in London it is also about being able to pay the rent and going for a lovely dinner with my boyfriend and friends every now and then, being able to fly home to see my family and my friends who are scattered all over the planet.”

The future

“I changed my environment a lot over the last two years and would love to settle a bit more. I admire strong women who made their way to the top.  Without being too specific I would love the opportunity to work more on a daily basis with these strong characters. My plan is to leave Karla Otto by the start of December and then take a long Christmas break with my family in snowy Austria and finally put the finishing touches to a children’s book I started over a year ago.”

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