FASHION UNCOVERED Uncovering the Careers of the Fashion Industry
Building a Jewellery Brand with Sinead Flood
Image courtesy of Sinead Flood
CONTENTS Get an inside look into the life and career of David Bennett, fashion
Learn about license design in fashion with Tanya Burrell: page 24
photographer: page 4
An insightful interview with ITV’s Coronation Street costume designer Carly Fenn: page 12
Is freelancing for you? page 10 How will Brexit affect the fashion industry? page 15 Top tips for a tip top personal brand: pages 16 Our favourite resources for education and
Sinead Flood and her business baby, July Child Jewellery: page 18
inspiration: page 23 Is there room for more bloggers? pages 26 Designing trend books with Hannah Faithfull and Jessie Morris: pages 28 Events and exhibitions for you to get involved in: pages 30
EDITOR’S LETTER Welcome to Fashion Uncovered, a magazine dedicated to uncovering the careers of the fashion industry. I’m the magazine’s editor, Laura Bustard, and I’d like to introduce you to our first issue. Here at Fashion Uncovered, we aim to be the top information destination for those aspiring to work in the fashion industry, to ensure you get an insight into the huge variety of jobs available and help you figure out what career suits you! There are endless opportunities in this industry and sometimes it can be hard to know what you might enjoy. We hope that our interviews and informative pieces that explore different roles and aspects of fashion may help to direct you into the industry. In this issue we interview fashion photographer David Bennett, discussing what led him down this career path, and what it takes to shoot for the likes of ELLE and W magazine. We also catch up with costume designer for Coronation Street, Carly Fenn, about what an average day looks like for her in this fast-paced job. Read about what it takes to be a freelancer in this industry, and how to consider whether it suits you. If you’re thinking of starting a business, you might be interested in hearing from Sinead Flood, who started her online jewellery store at age 24, and has since seen great success. If you have an interest in the fashion industry, there will be something for you! I hope you enjoy our first issue, thank you for reading!
Image of David Bennett courtesy of David Bennett
BREAKING INTO THE PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS
with Fashion Photographer David Bennett
avid Bennett has worked in many areas of the fashion industry, including window dressing, buying, and most notably, photography. David has photographed for both US and UK editions of ELLE magazine, as well as designers Raf Simons and Yoshikazu Yamagata. He also more recently founded photography, fashion and culture magazine PpR Journal, of which he is Creative Director and Editor-in-Chief. We talk about what led him down these various avenues throughout his career, his passion for photography and his experiences within the industry.
Fast forward to the age of 15, and David was spending all his spare time in Central London, specifically at the BBC Wogan Theatre on Shepherd’s Bush Green, where both famous and infamous people would arrive for live broadcastings: “I was fascinated by the access to such dignitaries at that time, that does not exist in today’s digital and web culture. These people were much more accessible at in the 1990’s, it was friendly and approachable, and it was here that a media photographer suggested I go to college and study photography.”
Even from a very young age, David has been interested in photography, and though just a hobby at the time, he was already starting to guide his life towards a career in this art, without even knowing it. At family gatherings and special occasions, he was the one always taking photographs: “My first camera was a green plastic Incredible Hulk film camera from Zodiac Toys, the local toy shop. I also had a small collection of 110, 126, and 35mm point-and-shoot cameras that were not good optical quality at all. I enjoyed making pictures, although at that time I didn’t know it was photography, just taking pictures and getting them processed in the local pharmacy at the end of the road.”
At this time, there were only a few places that offered such a course, but eventually David found a local college to study at. There, he gained contacts and eventually the confidence to photograph what he truly wanted: “At college I stayed away from photographing people as I was too shy, and instead photographed still life and architecture. In my final year it dawned on me that I needed to overcome this fear and that photographing people could be a useful photographic preoccupation if I wanted to work in the industry. I therefore contacted artists, musicians and writers asking if I could photograph them for my college project.” It was this work ethic that took him down a path of success. David learnt from this
experience that to succeed in photography having selfconfidence is just as important as having a technical and creative ability. The leap of faith then gave David the assurance to pitch his work to the National Portrait Gallery in London, who purchased twelve prints for the public collection in the museum.
“I enjoyed making pictures, although at that time I didn’t know it was photography, just taking pictures and getting them processed in the local pharmacy...” His college tutor encouraged him to further his studies in photography, which he believes was the best advice he could have received. He graduated from the three-year photography programme at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham (known at that time as West Surrey College of Art and Design), in 1997. Studying under the likes of director Peter Hall, writer on photography David Bate, and various photographers, allowed him to develop contacts and essential experience. “My first exposure to working in photography was during my 2nd or 3rd year at Farnham where we were given a professional practice module to do and I met up with the music photographer Jill Furmanovsky,” David describes, reminiscing on his early experiences in the industry, “Armed with my portfolio of black and white prints, she asked me if I printed them. I said yes and she asked me if I would like to come back and print hers as a trial. I was soon travelling from Farnham to Primrose Hill and back, printing images of Oasis, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Joan Armatrading, and getting a decent day rate for doing it.” Following his graduation from the college, he continued printing for Jill for another year until EPSON, providing the latest digital technology, made his hand printing skills ‘redundant’. However, this did effect him positively, as it helped David to feel he could further involve himself in projects, and to take a step deeper into the world of photography. Alongside his skills, he finally had contacts, another essential factor that David encourages the importance of for aspiring photographers: “My first magazine break came from Lucy Slade who was a student a year above me at Farnham, who went on to work on the picture desk at ELLE UK, and she commissioned me based on my work I exhibited at my degree show. I had another friend who commissioned me regularly to shoot for Art Review on a regular basis, and my most important breakthrough was being commissioned for the first issue of TANK magazine, where they broke conventions and took risks in publishing provoking and controversial work that I had made.” David also fell into a job working with late legendary bookseller Claire de Rouen at Zwemmer Books on the Arts, and later Claire de Rouen Books in London.
Image of David Bennett courtesy of Miho Miyachi
David explains how his passion for photography books eventually landed him a job there: “I was just a regular customer to this famous bookstore on Charing Cross Road. At the time all my money was spent on film and processing...and on magazines and books at Zwemmer. I used to like the girl working in the bookstore and she asked me if I could help out on a Sunday.” Working alongside Claire, they developed the largest stock of imported Japanese photography at the time. They also set up what would later be a destination fashion department. David believes this job he’d happened upon benefited him greatly: “It was in this bookshop that my knowledge of historical and contemporary photography and fashion was formed.” During this time, David’s career even moved towards other areas away from photography, and further into the world of fashion. He stepped into the role of window dressing at the book store, which allowed him to express his creative side in other ways: “The store had the best window on Charing Cross Road and I was quite radical at the time by inviting fashion designers including Raf Simons, Ann-Sofie Back, Issey Miyake, Eley Kishimoto, Yoshikazu Yamagata, TOPSHOP, as well as Steven Klein and Nan Goldin to collaborate with on windows for London Fashion Week, book launches and seasonal window displays.” Although this is not what he expected to be doing with his career,
Images from the series Raf Simons Boys, 2015 courtesy of David Bennett.
he enjoyed every moment, as it allowed him a creative freedom, as well as to collaborate with exciting people. Fashion students from the nearby Central St Martins would flock to admire the window displays, encouraging them to explore the shop. Designers such as Alexander McQueen, John Rocha and stylist Karl Templer were some of the names of many who visited. Photography books and magazines are David’s second passion, and he has been collecting them since around 1997. They play an important role of giving him inspiration for his photography. They represent a lot of what he has learnt over the years, which has guided him through his career. David argues that they hold a greater value than the endless and overwhelming information on the internet: “I have now amassed around 4,000 items which are housed in various places. It is quite a burden to contain such a large printed collection and at the same time I find it difficult to scale it down as it forms a tangible, important part of visual culture, as opposed to the infinite world online.” Thinking back, David remembers the magazines that meant the most to him in those early years of collecting: “My favourite magazines back then were Purple, Index, Self Service, Made in USA, and Hanatsubaki as they shared a sensibility that I could both understand and participate in as a reader. They presented interesting photography, fashion and interviews that were intelligent and a pleasure to read.” It was his realisation that he could combine his love for both photography and print, that led him to the
path of developing his own photography magazine, PpR (People Pages Research) Journal. He wanted to share his knowledge and love of photography with as wide an audience as possible: “I wanted to create a format where I could share my research interests to an audience that wasn’t purely an academic, nor a fashion audience, but instead could reach a wider cultural platform. The printed magazine format seemed to me the best framework to achieve this.” David is Creative Director as well as Editor-in Chief of the magazine, which has been running since 2015. He finds that both of these are essential parts of ensuring that every finished issue of PpR Journal is what he envisions: “As a Creative Director I have control over the overall aesthetic choices, and as Editor-in-Chief I can decide on its content and collaborate with very interesting photographers, stylists, designers, and other creative individuals.” Alongside running the photography department at Barking & Dagenham College where he teaches, most of David’s time these days is spent on producing PpR Journal, which involves a lot of collaborative work: “Making a magazine can be time consuming and is a big commitment,” he says. However, with a framework he has devised, and planning and working with his team, it is manageable. While the processes of developing each issue can be long and stressful, the feeling when it is eventually released is worth it. He emphasises that making PpR Journal and seeing it in stores across the globe is one of the highlights of his career, as well as launching it in
some of the best art-book stores in major capitals of the world, including London, Paris and Berlin. It was also one of the few things that was a clear decision to pursue in his career: “Very little that I have done over the years was actually planned, from my darkroom printing work for Jill Furmanovsky, assisting work, magazine commissions, even teaching to an extent. The one thing that was considered and planned was my magazine - although I never started out with a business plan of any sort - which was done on instinct, the want to do it, and the love of magazines.” David has an important ethos when making photography, as well as when developing the magazine, which goes hand in hand with his passion to reach as many people as possible with his work: “I do not believe in target audiences as all this does is set limits and excludes. I do not wish to cater for anyone in particular, nor exclude anyone to be introduced to PpR.” For the magazine, David gets to work with many people that he admires and it is this, in part, that means he prefers being a magazine Director and Editor to his work as a photographer: “Making PpR Journal enables me to create content that I find interesting and exciting to share with others. I prefer the making of printed matter over exhibiting as it reaches a wider and more diverse audience and has longevity over an exhibition. Although photography is collaborative at different stages of the process, it is still rather lonesome. I enjoy working like this, in a quiet and considered way, and the magazine allows me to collaborate with people internationally.”
“I do not believe in target audiences as all this does is set limits and excludes.” The process of working with a variety of people to develop unique work, without restrictions and seeing what they may come out with is part of the excitement of the magazine. David enjoys working with anyone whose work he admires, even those who are not photographers. He describes his first experience of this out-of-the-box style of collaboration: “For the first issue I commissioned Joakim Bouaziz, a very respected musician, DJ, and producer, to make “fashion” pictures instead of using a fashion photographer, as I really like Joakim’s work and thought it would be fun and very interesting to ask him. It also keeps things very fresh for me.” David enjoys giving those he commissions free reign and feels that this gives his magazine an edge over others: “I like the idea of not knowing. As the commission is based on trust, I enjoy giving others creative freedom to make work without the need for me to art-direct the process, and as a result I see the results for the first time when they send them through.
Images from the series Raf Simons Boys, 2015 courtesy of David Bennett.
This can be considered a risk, but I enjoy these risks.” He goes on to explain that the risks are what makes the work exciting, it keeps him interested in what he is doing and the direction that the magazine is being taken in. When asked if he thinks it is important to go to university to achieve a job in photography, he answers definitively: “Absolutely not.” However, he believes that there are lots of benefits to attending university such as being able to freely make risks and mistakes, engage in discussion, collaboration and creativity, as well as gaining contacts and experience. He feels that those that do have a qualification in a creative course, will therefore be better prepared against the competition. David feels that to be a successful photographer you need to be confident, creative and content. He emphasises the importance of having an awareness of what is happening both creatively and culturally. He also thinks that trying not to satisfy anyone else other than yourself is a good trait to have. To pursue a career in photography, he emphasises that experience is the key. David’s success came from not only his strong creative ability, but his ethos of taking part in anything that he had access to. Therefore, if you want a career either in or out of photography, look for any arising opportunities, and get involved. Sometimes this means going outside of your comfort zone. But it is pushing yourself, your own boundaries and getting stuck in that will help to take you far.
IS FREELANCING FOR YOU? There are many benefits to working freelance and it’s quite common in creative industries such as fashion, but how do you know if it’s for you?
reelancing is becoming an increasingly popular career choice and is easier and more accessible to pursue than ever before. Many people are deciding to follow this route full-time as it can provide a sense of independence and freedom. However, it may not be for everyone. Editor Laura Bustard discusses the factors that you may want to consider if you’re thinking of going freelance, and talks to fashion freelancer Faye Chessire of Fashion Creative about her experience.
Freelancing is a viable job option in fashion from specialists in design, styling or styling assistants to photography, graphic design and journalism. Finding jobs in these areas and pitching yourself to companies might seem like an overwhelming thought initially, but there are now many helpful websites including Upwork, E-lance and Peopleperhour. These websites are dedicated to make freelancing more manageable for the individual, as well as for the company, by allowing you to advertise yourself and your work to organisations, who are looking for freelancers to work on their projects. Faye Chessire has been working in the fashion industry for 19 years, and has worked in both design and buying roles, being able to travel all over the world. Trips from New York and LA to all over Europe enabled her to carry out shop researching, as well as visits to Asia to the factories in order to directly get products into work. However, design was always her passion. So when faced with an ultimatum, she decided to take the dive into being self-employed: “Since being made redundant nearly 8 years ago, I decided to work as a freelance designer,” Faye explains, “I love it, and really cannot imagine doing anything else.” Faye has gained a variety of experience over the years, and this, as well as many self-taught skills has enabled her to be able to provide many different services. This means a wider scope of clients can come to her for the job they need to get done. “[The job] is extremely varied as I work for various suppliers and direct for retailers,” she explains. Faye can fulfil a variety of requirements including predicting trends and colours, breaking down and analysing catwalks for a
“How to create a home office where you’d want to work” by H is for Home is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
variety of areas including silhouettes, print, trim and colours. “I also do product development, sketching ideas and researching, creating ranges of styles, giving briefs to graphic designers, producing technical packs to send to the factories, and checking samples before giving to the buyer.” Her tasks don’t stop there, she also works with small start-up labels, so often does fabric sourcing and pattern cutting too. “It’s a big role, as all my clients have different needs!” she says, proving that being multi-skilled is a very useful tool when going selfemployed.
“I love it, and really cannot imagine doing anything else.” There is a lot to gain from working freelance, but these need to be considered alongside the challenges too. You often have the option to work at home, so commuting is not a restriction for a job opportunity. However, you do need to be willing to go to locations if the client requires it. Most of the time, Faye’s work is able to be done home-based: “I mainly work from my studio at home, working on research, sketching garments, creating mood boards, colour palettes or creating technical packs and pattern cutting.” Although, sometimes she does have to go and meet with people, she continues: “I have to work with clients in their head offices on a regular weekly basis, either
with account managers or buyers to go through briefs of work, and work within the teams to create ranges. I sometimes also go to factories within the UK to work directly with them on new products.” More benefits of being freelance are that you can choose when you have breaks and holidays and you’ll be constantly learning new skills, which then give you the experience to work for big and exciting companies. Many freelancers appreciate the lifestyle as it comes with a variety of jobs, making every day different. “This is a tough one, as I honestly do not have an average day!” Faye jokes when asked what her job is like day-to-day. Due to her huge range of clients and services, each project is unique and so the job doesn’t get repetitive. A lot of her time is spent on research, which is essential for trend, colour, fabric and silhouettes. Projects of this kind cannot be compiled accurately without the research to back up any conclusions made: “I spend hours analysing catwalks, social media, blogs, magazines, and shopping through from designer to high street stores. As a commercial designer, you have to always know what the high street has got in store.”
her experience of this: “As a freelance designer you have not got a regular income, so some months you are working not just a normal week but weekends and evenings, but then some months clients haven’t got any work for you, or they haven’t got enough budget to hire you, so you have to be organised with your finances.” It is also a well-known problem in freelancing that clients sometimes take some time to pay you for a job, so you need to ensure you are ready for this possibility, and able to stand up for yourself if this starts becoming a problem. Pressure is another trial those who freelance face. Both from yourself, as it is your work and what you produce that pays for your living, as well as from your clients, who expect work to be up to scratch and on time. “The constant requirement to develop new yet commercial products, as if your designs do not sell, you don’t get the work,” she says, on what it takes to work freelance, “Self-motivation and self-discipline are [also] key, as I work very remotely so you have to manage your time well.”
Faye’s ability to be continually creative, remain Faye enjoys her freelance job and can’t imagine having organised, work under time-pressures and focus on it any other way. However, she admits that in a freelance being trend-led allows her to be a successful freelancer. career, there are many challenges to be faced. You need She has therefore been able to make a career out of her to consider if you are personable, adaptable and good passion for ladies and young girls’ fashion design. enough at networking, As hiring freelancers which is essential in order becomes a more common “You must be a quick worker as to build contacts to gain decision for corporations everything is always urgent!” you access to more work to take advantage of, due opportunities. Can you be to accessibility, affordability flexible and work under pressure to complete work and expertise, it is an increasingly plausible job option within tight deadlines? Perhaps sacrificing going out in for the individual. However, an ever-growing base of the evening with your friends to get a project done in freelance-working people means more competition. If time? If you have a passion for the work you are doing, you think you have what it takes to stand out in the the inspiration and drive of your work will prevent this growing crowd and can manage all the ups and downs being an issue and help you enjoy every moment. If this of the lifestyle, give it a go! You might make a career is the case for you, then going self-employed might be decision that is perfect for you, just as Faye did. ideal! But some people may work better with a boss to ensure they are meeting targets and completing work by a deadline, as Faye agrees: “You must be a quick worker as everything is always urgent!” The lifestyle also appeals to many for its flexibility and more spontaneous way of working, but people are equally put off by the amount of organisation, adaptability and discipline it requires. With the many different types of people and companies you have to interact with and work for, you need to be able to be personable with all those that approach you for work, which Faye can confirm: “Each client has different ways of working, so you have to be super organised and adaptable to different environments.” You may have to start out working for very little money, just to gain experience, and you have to be constantly on top of payments and deadlines, as well as able to budget between work, as a new project might not always immediately come up following the last. Being good with money is an essential. Faye describes Image of Faye’s studio, courtesy of Faye Chessire
CORRIE’S CREATIVE COSTUME DESIGNER
n Manchester, 35-year-old Carly Fenn has been working in the TV industry for 13 years, working in the Costume Department for Hollyoaks, Emmerdale and now Coronation Street. We talk about what got her interested in this career, how she got to where she is now and what kind of person it takes to do the job.
Costume design plays an important role in film, TV and theatre. It helps to not only portray the character, but the overarching story, and involves research and consideration. Costume design is a great outlet for a creative mind and is a fantastic way of combining fashion and media. Carly works on ITV’s Coronation Street, the UK’s longest-running soap opera. The production is made up of 30 minute-long episodes three times per week, each averaging seven million views. There is a lot of planning within time constraints that goes into contributing to such a consistently released show, making it a varied and high-pressure job. Carly explains the process: “There are usually 4 scripts per block, and that equates to two to three story days on screen. On a block I will have one week of preparation and three weeks of filming.” The prep week involves reading the scripts, and deciding on what each character will wear depending on what they do throughout the day: “If they are working they will need their uniforms on, or if they have any
costume changes - for example if they go for a shower and then get ready for bed, or if they exit a scene will they need to take a coat or bag and so on.” As Costume Supervisor, she next has a meeting with the Costume Designer, to see if they have any requests before having another meeting with the director of the block about specifics, as well as letting background artists, or ‘extras’ know what they need to be wearing, to ensure they arrive dressed appropriately. Carly has always been creative, and this is the aspect she says she enjoys most, and what ultimately led her to pursue this job as a career: “One of my favourite parts of the job is pulling out the costumes for each character from their rails and doing fittings. You have to be aware of the colours you are putting them into and if they will work against the background of the set. If I have a stunt block, then I would need to sort out getting repeat costumes - depending what the stunt is. One episode I did was where the roof of the factory collapsed on the workers. We had to dirty and break down lots of costumes for different stages of filming.” Following all the prep, they begin to film the episodes, and Carly has to manage a team of dressers: “You have two principle dressers and extra help on busier days. I will oversee that all of the artists are in the right costumes and that the continuity of their costumes stays the same on set. I also need to liaise with the makeup department and design department, making sure we are all on the same page.” Being able to work in a big team is important for working on sets of any production, but for a production of this scale, it’s essential. Carly explains what it takes to carry out the role: “You need to be a team player and know how to deal with delicate situations as you are working very closely with actors and need to make sure that they feel comfortable and happy in their clothes.” Organisational skills are another key element, she states, and being adaptable and flexible to work at different hours, and in different working conditions. “I would say you need to be passionate about working in the film and TV industry with an eye for detail and a love for fashion,” Carly adds. There are also specific ‘hard skills’ required, such as basic sewing skills and industry knowledge. But Carly believes this doesn’t mean you have to go to university: “I don’t think it is necessary to go to university for this role, although it was good for me as it gave me an insight into the industry. But you would need to gain experience in other ways if not, so university does give you a head start as you can meet lots of contacts. A lot of the
Image courtesy of Carly Fenn
Image courtesy of Carly Fenn
Costume Assistant. From here I trained on Hollyoaks, Grange Hill and Coronation Street and I also did a beginner’s sewing course. When the placement ended, I went on to do my first freelance job as a Costume Assistant on a BBC3 comedy called Trexx and Flipside, While Carly always knew she wanted to work in the which lead onto many years of working on Hollyoaks, TV industry, it took some time to work out the specifics. Emmerdale and Coronation Street.” Following three years at the Manchester Metropolitan Being able to express her creativity through exploring University studying Contemporary Film & Video, she various outfits and styles was a big enticement to the eventually learned she job for Carly: “Hollyoaks was “at university we collaborated great for me to work on as could combine her love for fashion with her with the drama students...where I it is so fashion lead and its passion for TV: “The first audience is of a younger naturally took the role of doing the target generation, so I could really summer of university, I costumes.” have fun with some of the had a work experience placement at the BBC in Manchester on the Radio. characters and outfits, and this job made me realise This was a great opportunity for me to meet people that costume was what I wanted to do.” in the industry and get contacts. It also gave me more With the increasing amounts of film and TV coming direction as I realised that radio wasn’t creative enough for me. Throughout my three years at university we from the industry, there are more opportunities than collaborated with the drama students and made many ever for work in this area. Carly speaks passionately to short films where I naturally took the role of doing those who think a job in costume design might be for the costumes. I have always had a love and passion them: “I have loved working in the industry and would for fashion, so this helped.” Following her graduation, highly recommend it to anyone considering it. Get as Carly searched for jobs, placements and trainee much work experience as you can to build up your CV schemes in TV, and found herself gravitating to those - this can include short films, and photo shoots. There in Costume, as she found them the most interesting. are so many productions being made now, and it is an “Eventually I was lucky enough to get taken on to do exciting time to be part of the industry, so put yourself a year’s placement with Lime Pictures and ITV as a out there and get stuck in, you won’t regret it.” trainees we have now may not have done TV studies at university, but they will have come from a fashion background of some sort, which helps us to decide who is right for the position.”
HOW WILL ‘BREXIT’ AFFECT FASHION?
t is no secret that the majority of the fashion industry is opposed to what has become widely known as ‘Brexit’, Britain’s Exit from the European Union. A huge 90 percent of UK designers voted Remain in the 2016 referendum, according to research done by the British Fashion Council. Following three and a half years uncertainty, on the 31st of January at 11pm, ‘Brexit Day’ officially came upon us. But will it truly make as much of a negative impact to the fashion industry as we think it will?
Until the 31st of December 2020, Britain will be experiencing a ‘transitional period’, during which trading deals and other negotiations will be made with the European Union. While the rules of the aforementioned for the UK and the EU will remain the same during this 11-month period, businesses need to prepare as much as they can for all possible outcomes. The gov.uk website has provided a function wherein you can subscribe to email updates for all changes that might affect you and your business.
Many fashion designers in Britain employ talent from the EU, or have ateliers based in the EU where they employ locally. However, this is at risk as the cost to employ such workers will increase following the transition period, therefore impacting the designers’ profits, and further increasing prices for customers. However, a Settlement Scheme is in place for those who are in the UK before the transition period ends, allowing them to receive ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status. Following this, all EU workers that arrive in the UK to work will probably require visas and work permits, as those from outside the EU currently do, but this is yet to be determined.
However, it is not all negative. The reduced number of fashion workers from the EU means increased employment opportunities for home-grown talent. Furthermore, the EU itself will look to hire from schools within the EU, allowing a larger UK national workforce available to British businesses. In the best-case scenario, The uncertainty of Brexit’s UK manufacturing will receive result is mostly going to affect small no import and export taxes. or new businesses and designers, as On top of this, increased they may not have the spare finances sustainability is a benefit that will to cover possible extra costs. come with more brands opening The UKFT (UK Fashion and Textile their own factories. Kate Hills, Association) says that the worstfounder of the Make It British Trade case scenario, a no trade deal, is Show spoke to Drapers, explaining unlikely, but should still be prepared that smaller brands are doing so for. This would involve switching to because making locally and being World Trade Organisation (WTO) in control of your own production is regulations, meaning that trading the quickest way to manufacture and with the EU will be done in the same has the added benefit of reduced way as it is done with other countries, T-Shirt designed by and courtesy of Katherine Hamnett carbon footprint. Using UK-based such as the US, and all shipments to the manufacturers is one of the factors that the growing EU will be subject to tariffs. This change, sustainable-shopping consumer base is looking for, as according to the BFC, would cost the fashion being greener becomes more essential. industry around £850 million (based on 2018’s export figures). Furthermore, a list of textiles While we can make wild guesses of what will and and fashion products, which has recently been won’t happen to the fashion industry following the increased from 97 items to 140, will receive an UK’s leaving of the European Union, the truth is no one import duty, most of which are at 12%. This, in-turn, knows until deals are finally made. We can only hope for may make fashion more expensive in the UK, as much a good trade deal to keep prices down and guarantee of fashion’s UK supply chain is European. However, the small businesses still have a chance to shine. Whatever government has stated that import duties for yarns and happens, the fashion industry will adapt, and there will fabrics will be free for a year. always be silver linings to appreciate.
TOP TIPS FOR A TIP TOP PERSONAL BRAND Whether youâ€™re self-employed or applying for jobs, it is important to create a personal brand for yourself, particularly in this digital era. We all leave a trail online, so it is essential to take control of this and display what you and your personal brand are about on your own terms.
WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO ACHIEVE? Before you are able to do anything to start creating a personal brand, you first need to consider what it is you are trying to achieve. If youâ€™re looking for a job, what role are you after? Are you going freelance and wish to provide multiple services, or do you want to focus heavily on just one? Whatever it may be, you need clear direction in what you are out to achieve, and what it is that you and your brand are providing. There also needs to be value behind what you are doing. Consider what motivates you and what you are going to produce that will be of importance to the industry, organisation, or individual that hires you. Knowing your audience is also essential. Your personal brand needs to be suitable for those that you are aiming to impress, so doing as much research as possible into potentional employers can help you know how to appropriately cater to them.
WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT? Next, you need to consider your key skills, values, and passions to be able to portray who you are, the person behind brand. What makes you stand out? Why should someone hire you, or use your service over someone else? You need to know yourself, in order to show the real you. Make sure you are not just creating a totally new persona that is not truly you, but to convey who you are in an authentic way. It also needs to be done consistently, everything you post online should be done considering if it fits with the values and skills you are trying to convey. Anything you put on social media that is public should only be done if it is going to contribute to your brand.
WHAT IS YOUR STYLE? What is your brand personality? It might be that your brand has a sleek, and professional look, or it might be a little more colourful and quirky. The style you decide on must coincide with your own personality, and reflect your values and skills. Furthermore, it should fit with the style of your work. If your work is clean and modern, but your website or social media comes across as young and fun, there will be a disconnect that will confuse those looking to hire you. It needs to be clear what it is that potential clients are buying into, and know what style of work to expect. A logo is a great way to show what you and your brand is about, in the simplest way possible. It can immediately convey your brand’s style and purpose, if done correctly. Investing in a logo is a great way to progess your brand.
SHOW YOUR EXPERIENCE Showcase your previous work and the experience you have in your field. A strong portfolio will help to present the expertise you have and encourage people to have trust in your ability to develop quality work. People will not want to invest in your work without encouragement that the job will be achieved to the standard they expect. If you’ve worked for strong companies, brag about it! It will give you validation and encourage other companies to connect with you too. Asking for client testimonials to feature online after you complete a project for a company or individual will also show evidence of a job well done. The more positive feedback you can provide, the more likely you are to gain more work, as people will feel they are guaranteed a quality outcome.
CONSIDER DEVELOPING A WEBSITE While Instagram and LinkedIn can be a good way to approach self-brand development, a website will go above and beyond. The adaptabilty of websites really allows you to convey your personality and style in a way that social media simply cannot. Doing so has never been easier, with website builders including Squarespace, Wix and Wordpress. Have a memorable domain name so that it’s easy for people to type in and find, and show your previous projects, skills and experience. Making a website that the audience feels compelled to explore is important, interactivity and simplicty is key. Consider all the previous points when developing a website to make sure it is suitable for your brand, your skills and who you’re catering for.
A FLOOD OF JEWELS
inead Flood started her business at the age of 24 and almost three years later, her jewellery store, July Child, is the go-to online shop for quirky, unique jewellery in the UK. Curating cult pieces from designers across the globe, she has channelled her passion for all things weird, wonderful and sparkly to make a career for herself that she truly enjoys. Sinead discusses what it takes to start a business, and the story behind July Child.
Manchester-based Sinead is kind, approachable and effortlessly cool. With such a likeable personality, it is no wonder that she has managed to build the successful, and ever-growing blogger-favourite Jewellery platform, July Child. The online retailer provides jewellery fanatics in the country with previously out-of-reach designs including beaded necklaces, trendy hair accessories, bright fruit earrings and beautiful chunky rings. She is passionate about the idea of individual style and using accessories to update your average day outfit, as well as to express yourself. She feels it’s her responsibility to provide the unique pieces to make this possible for people in the UK. She is a strong believer that jewellery preference is very personal, and no two people’s jewellery collections should be the same. Though on holiday when we reached out to her, she still takes the time to chat with us and describe her experience of building a brand.
Image courtesy of Sinead Flood
“I sort of hit a mid-twenties meltdown and wanted to change everything and hit the refresh button.” Sinead describes herself as ‘a hippie at heart’ and loves to travel. It was down to this that eventually led her to start her business. Throughout her early twenties she spent as much time as she possibly could visiting various towns and cities in the world. Most of her time was spent in New York, where she found unique jewellery that simply wasn’t available in Britain. It was this discovery that first encouraged the idea of July Child: “Jewellery is something I have always loved, alongside finding off the radar brands and designers along my travels. July Child is an assortment of the international brands you wouldn’t typically find in the UK. Nobody had built a platform like the idea I had,” Sinead explains. At a time in her life when she wasn’t feeling excited or passionate by her day to day job, the idea came and sparked a fire just when she needed it. But it was a big decision to make, and one that needed some consideration first: “I thought long and hard about it over the course of about a year whilst working another job in account management in London. I sort of hit a mid-twenties meltdown and wanted to change everything and hit the refresh button.” She found that shopping for jewellery in the UK was uninspiring, with only access to minimal, simple pieces that were all
Images courtesy of Sinead Flood
quite similar, everywhere you looked. All the hidden gems were abroad, unavailable for passionate jewellery hunters here, and she wanted to change this. Spotting this niche in the market, after lots of time to think and make sure she was certain of her plan, Sinead knuckled down and started her own business: “An opportunity arose with a New York based jewellery brand so I went and shadowed them for a couple of weeks and decided I could, and would, launch my own brand. I saw a gap in the market for a store that hosts international cult jewellery brands so I thought ‘I can do this’. Two and a half years later and here we are!” Taking such a big leap of faith in your early twenties is no easy feat, and Sinead admits she felt very vulnerable when she was first starting up. But she had a passion and a belief in her brand that helped her along the way: “I was very very nervous it would completely flop. I had the confidence to know I was doing something unique and different to anything I’d seen before but starting a business is like giving away a little piece of you. It is so personal so it can be daunting.” Reaching out to some of her favourite jewellery brands, Sinead pitched her idea. Thankfully they had faith in her and her business, and decided to sell wholesale stock to her, to help get her started. Initially selling just five brands from New York, San Francisco and Australia, she has now built relationships with over 20 global brands and has plans to continue growing in the same way. Sinead named the brand after her birth month and describes July Child as “an extension of herself”. This means that everything she stocks is jewellery she would wear herself. However, ecological and social issues are a big part of what draws her to certain designers. It is also
Image courtesy of Sinead Flood
important to her to work with brands that passionately and carefully hand craft their jewellery, or the moulds used to make them. Some use recycled materials, such as Canadian designer, Wolf Circus, and some are even working hard to help people in need. Wald Berlin is a German brand that July Child began stocking in her second year of business. The highly sought-after brand teaches struggling women, who would otherwise be unemployed, the skills and craft to create the pieces that make up their collection.
creating and carving a business and life for myself that I have always wanted. I have nobody to report to and having that freedom is something I value and the challenges that come with it help me thrive!”
Sinead agrees that while she loves being selfemployed and running a business, it can make it hard to take time for herself. She can find it difficult to reach a balance between working and taking breaks, because running a business doesn’t ever really stop: “It might not be the typical holiday as I work every day, but I have Sinead enjoys the more creative side of the business, flexibility. It’s not to say sometimes I don’t wish I could including creating look books which involves styling, totally switch off and forget about all the things that photo shoots and need keeping on putting together top of. But it’s a mood boards. “I saw a gap in the market for a store that hosts good position She even puts international cult jewellery brands so I thought to be in at this together behind age when you ‘I can do this’.” the scenes videos, have bundles which she publishes on her business Instagram page, of energy.” However, she knows that hard work does ‘@JulyChildJewellery’. She uses a second account as a indeed reap rewards, and she is willing to do so in the platform to share imagery that inspires her from various present in order to have an even stronger business in sources including fashion, interiors and of course, years to come: “Every day is a working day in some images of accessories she has come across. She also ways, but I am putting in the foundations for my future posts photographs of her styling the jewellery she has and for the business’ future. I have a good fulfilling life collected over the years, and even includes chronicles in many ways, and I am truly grateful for that.” of her hunting for jewellery to stock along her travels, on ‘@JulyChildFinds’. A natural content creator, she The jewellery community is one that is caring and often provides fans with fun Q&A’s and blog posts with thoughtful, always working together in a positive way, jewellery fanatics, bloggers and founders of some of Sinead explains. She is adoring of the industry and the brands she stocks, which can be seen on the store’s believes that anyone who is thinking of being a part of website. it should do it. Furthermore, she enjoys being in charge of herself She further encourages anyone who is thinking of and where the brand goes, finding self-employed life starting a business, particularly women, to find their well suited to her: “I love it every day because I am niche, something that they are truly passionate about,
and go for it. The process is incredibly rewarding, she says, and when it is your own personal brand, it involves a great deal of love and care, which is what makes it so exciting. She advises that there are some tasks that even she struggled with at first. But in order to succeed, you must strive to develop the areas in which you may find difficult initially. When asked what her biggest challenge is, she instantly replies: “Numbers!” Sinead goes on to explain that this is a paramount part of running a business, and so a very necessary skill to have. It is something that she has had to learn to improve upon since starting the business: “Know your numbers because at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters and will determine whether you sink or swim.” It also takes a person that is resilient, confident and an innovative thinker to do what she does, and she recommends that having some knowledge of running a business will help you to thrive: “You have to know what you’re doing to an extent. A lot is trial and error but don’t expect to be making a hefty income from day one, so prepare yourself for the unexpected.” Nevertheless, she reassures her followers never to doubt themselves or their abilities. She describes the process as a learning curve, and says that a lot of the time, you do adapt to situations and evolve. Alongside the brand, Sinead has built a tight-knit community on social media, and has made close friends with people that she has met through the process of growing the business. Her customers are people who
want to connect with her and have a relationship with the brand. She encourages her customers to share their stories and tell her why the pieces they choose to invest in mean so much to them. Others even send her accessories they have found, that they think she will like or wish to stock on July Child’s website. She believes that the jewellery a person chooses to wear can tell you a lot about their personality. She goes on to say that the pieces we own represents many things, such as our individual passions and beliefs as well as telling stories of our travels, our families and adventures. Sinead’s own favourite product that is stocked on July Child is the ‘Heart of Glass’ ring. This is due to her obsession with the Sacred Heart symbol, which represents a ‘burning passion’, something that she feels she can resonate with through her work. It is because of what the pieces represent that she finds curating and selling jewellery a very intimate process, and one she will continue doing. She has recently revealed that she is currently working on her own jewellery collection for the brand, which is soon due for release. Sinead is excited for the future and what it holds for her business, and plans to keep growing July Child, but to always remain true to herself and the origins of the brand. You can follow July Child on Instagram: @JulyChildJewellery, as well as Sinead’s more personal account @JulyChildFinds or shop jewellery at: www.JulyChild.co.uk
Images courtesy of Sinead Flood
NEED INSPIRATION? here are some of our top resources (apart from us!) Season two, episode three of the Netflix series Abstract: The Art of Design follows Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter, the first African American to win the costume design Oscar for her work on Marvel’s Black Panther. She discusses a variety of topics including what inspires her creativity, and the importance of costumes in film. The show also speaks to those she has worked with over the years, from Samuel L. Jackson to director Spike Lee.
Window displays are a unique way to find creative inspiration, our favourites are Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge, Harrods and Hermès on Sloane Street.
Image courtesy of Netflix
Image courtesy of Netflix
The new Netflix series Next in Fashion, presented by Queer Eye’s Tan France and model Alexa Chung, is a fashion design competition. Contestants create garments for different themes each episode to win $25,000. Diana Vreeland: The Eye has to Travel is a film of interviews with the legendary editor, as well as those that knew her, exploring her groundbreaking work during her years at Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. Image courtesy of Amazon Prime
Image courtesy of The Business of Fashion
The Business of Fashion Podcast is an interesting and insightful audio series covering various topics within the fashion industry. Our favourite episode is one titled Inside Gucci’s Explosive Growth Strategy where Marco Bizzarri speaks about his career before becoming the Chief Executive of GUCCI, and how he reignited the luxury brand’s success. With a long back catalogue of episodes you won’t be short on thought-provoking podcasts. Bill Cunningham was known for riding his bike taking candid street-style photographs. On the Street is filled with his most iconic work for The New York Times between 1978 until his death in 2016. Guaranteed to inspire any fashion or photography fan. Image courtesy of Penguin Random House
PREDICTION ATREND DIFFERENT SIDE OF DESIGN
anya Burrell is a designer at Poetic Brands, a license design company at Poeticgem, and she wants people to know more about this exciting area of fashion design. While not many people studying fashion design courses get to design for their own brand as they might dream to, there are many exciting avenues within fashion design that shouldn’t be underestimated. Tanya sheds some light on what is involved in providing affordable branded clothing from the high street.
Following three years of fashion design at Nottingham Trent University and various experience in design, Tanya fell into a job she loves at Poetic Brands as a license designer. But what exactly does this job involve? Tanya explains: “Our department designs licensed products for most of the high street and supermarkets using some of the most recognisable and international brands out there - Disney, Star Wars, Pepsi, Music, NFL - just to name a few.” The process Image courtesy of Tanya Burrell of designing these products is fast paced and exciting, but there is a lot more to it than just the designing of trend forecasting companies, primary research is just the clothes: “I head up ladieswear and ladies nightwear as important to understand what will be successful, in my department. [We work] with a few different and there is an abundance of ways to do so. At Poetic accounts, the main ones being Primark, Tesco, George Brands, they look at what high-end brands are doing: and Sainsbury’s. Depending what buyers have briefed “Whatever they’re doing you know the likes of Primark us, we’ll be working on specific projects for them, and ASOS want to be following.” They also keep a whether it is looking at a specific license or working close eye on what is happening on Instagram, such as with an event. We will what influencers and celebrities be chasing approvals on “I always knew I wanted to be are posting. Tanya explains that designs as everything there are events that specialise has to get the thumbs up in design, however, I certainly in her area of design which are by the licensors before didn’t think I would be in license useful too: “In licensing we we get samples. Then have BLE - Branding Licensing design.” once approved we will Europe, a trade show where be getting artworks ready to send to the factory to all the brands, current and upcoming, exhibit. So, we sample up garments for buyers’ meetings.” go every year to see what is going to be the next big thing.” There is a lot of research that goes into creating Looking at what is happening in pop-culture is ideas before developing designs. Working from nine helpful too, as this can have huge effects on what months to a year in advance, there is trend research to licenses they will want to focus on. For this they have be done, to ensure the clothes will be suitable for the an events calendar to keep an eye on what’s upcoming: time they are due to hit the shelves. This starts with “For example with the Olympics this year, you know trend forecasting services, of which Tanya and her team that more Japanese style graphics will be present. [It’s] use WGSN: “One of the really interesting bits of WGSN the same with when we know when movie releases will is their reports on what people are wearing at festivals be, we’ll know to push that particular license more. For - we get some great trend inspiration from here.” They example, Minions 2 is out in July, so expect to see more also use it to look at colours, fabrics, and garment Minions on clothing!” shapes. It is important when designing to not just rely on Thinking globally and looking more generally in
Image courtesy of Nasty Gal, designed by Tanya Burrell at Poetic Brands
Image courtesy of ASOS, designed by Tanya Burrell at Poetic Brands
culture across the globe is also essential, which is where travel comes in. Tanya is lucky that her work involves visiting major cities for research. She goes into what they do on these trips: “We do our shopping trips to Europe and London - Barcelona for ladieswear and nightwear and the likes of Berlin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm for menswear.” Exhibitions and galleries are also a great way of researching cultural trends, which can impact what becomes popular, or help get to know certain trends. Tanya gives an example: “There’s been a lot of animé on clothing recently, so we went to a fab exhibition at the British Museum.”
occasion of this happening, to get Korean brand, Line Friends: “We had a lot of competition from some of our competitors who also wanted the license. But with our hard work, designing ranges and getting samples ready for our meeting, we completely won them over and they gave the license to us.” In this line of work, it is of course important to be creative, but also original. You need to be able to generate new ideas quickly in an already saturated market. “It’s coming up with a new way to do a Mickey T-shirt when there are already hundreds of them on the market,” Tanya explains. She goes on to say that there are some essential skills for anyone looking to go into license design, such as being driven, confident in your work and able to talk to buyers and your account managers in a clear and professional way. You also need to be proficient at using design software: “Certainly knowing your way around Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop is a must! We do everything on these programmes.” She later goes on to describe her encounter with this: “I started out over 11 years ago after graduating and we were hardly taught anything during my whole 3 years at uni. I went into my first job thinking... ‘oh yeah, I know how to use these programmes,’ I didn’t know a thing, so I had to learn on the job.” She goes on to say that with the Creative Cloud programmes, you never stop learning, and are always picking up new tricks from other people, and by getting stuck in: “It isn’t until you get into a job and start using it every day that you really begin to learn.”
Tanya always dreamed of being a designer, as she loved that side of fashion, but she didn’t predict ending up in the area of design she’s in now: “I’ve always been arty, even at a young age. I loved to sew and make things and I just loved fashion. I always knew I wanted to be in design, however, I certainly didn’t think I would be in license design.” In the end it all worked out well for Tanya. When asked if she enjoys her job she says: “By February I would have been at Poetic Brands for 6 years! Which kind of tells you something!” There are many sides to her job that she enjoys, including the creativity and working with big brands. But there is one aspect that Tanya is especially grateful for: “In the licensing industry we do get a LOT of perks,” she says. From film premieres to opening night parties, she’s been lucky enough to gain some incredible experiences through her job. But with the glamour comes hard work. With a lot of competition in the licensing industry, each project involves designing ranges and pitching them to try to win a license from a brand over other companies. This can be high pressure and stressful, however incredibly rewarding at the end of it: ”Some of the big projects recently have been when we’ve had to put in a big pitch to get a new licensor.” Tanya describes a recent
While Tanya attended university, she doesn’t believe it is the most important thing to get a job like hers: “We wouldn’t not hire someone purely because they haven’t been to university. It’s more about seeing their creativity and how they produce designs.” With good experience in the industry and a strong creative flair, you can still break into a job in design that you love.
IS THERE ROOM FOR MORE BLOGGERS?
ccording to Tech Jury, in March 2019, 4.4 million blog posts were posted every day. With an increasing number of people trying to make a living through this medium and a growing number of young people aspiring to this career, it begs the question: is there room for more bloggers, particularly in fashion, to succeed online?
The fashion blogging sphere is a more saturated area of the internet than ever before, and with every blog that succeeds, there are many that fail. It is not as simple to achieve as it was ten years ago, when blogging was a relatively new concept. Many content creators that are successful today started during this era, such as Zoe Sugg, who started with a blog and now has nearly ten million followers on Instagram. While there are no ‘rules’ in blogging, how it works, people’s expectations, and what it takes to succeed has drastically changed since then. However, internet users are always looking for information, and inspiration, so if you have a unique style or an opinion to share, then you will receive readers. According to WordPress, 20 billion pages are viewed by 409 million people every month. So, while there are millions of blogs out there to go up
against, it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more. So if you have plans to join the competitive industry, there are many things you need to do to ensure as high a chance of success as possible.
“The average time a person will spend on a web page is 37 seconds...” Quality content is a must-have for a blog to be successful. There needs to be an element of newness. With almost every topic having already been covered, a post must stand out to get noticed. It’s important to have something new and of value to say, and the content needs to be engaging. The average time a person will spend on a web page is 37 seconds (via: Newscred), so it is essential that the written element can grip the reader, and is alongside eye-catching photography. With the short attention span of the modern internet user, drawing them in and encouraging them to read on, and to keep them engaged is more important than ever. The other option is to enable the ability for the
audience to ‘skim read’ the post. If the point is still reached through this method - a now common method of internet interaction - you should still achieve the ‘shares’ that will help the blog to grow.
“Honesty helps readers feel that they can relate to you, your opinions and stories...” As with many jobs of a creative variety, originality is key. People love to find something new and refreshing with exciting content. Being the same as, or too similar to the more successful fashion bloggers that already exist will make your blog get buried among them. Originality goes hand in hand with being authentic. People can be judgemental, and a natural human reaction is to be turned off by a blog or an individual that comes across as ‘fake’. Engagement comes from being real with your audience. Honesty helps readers feel that they can relate to you, your opinions and stories, and that is what will make people keep coming back and help your blog gain popularity. For example, Chloe Plumstead of ‘The Little Plum’ discusses a variety of ‘Think Pieces’ that others may view as taboo. She covers topics including life in your twenties, sex, and her fear of death, among fashion related posts. Users are attracted to the unique topics that people don’t usually discuss and stay for the styling tips. Similarly, ‘body positivity’ bloggers have risen in popularity, due to people wanting to see realistic body standards. The struggle for self-acceptance is something most people can relate to, particularly in the fashion industry, and in a time where social media is at the forefront of internet usage, comparison is a bigger issue than ever before. This is, again, a relatable topic and one that people are looking to conquer. Blogger and influencer Megan Crabbe or ‘Bodyposipanda’ has a huge following of 1.3 million due to her ability to be candid and honest with her audience, and has built a positive community that people want to be involved in. What we can take from these examples is that being genuine and unique is essential for your blog to triumph.
just writing for enjoyment or taking photographs as a creative outlet, however this won’t work if you are genuinely pursuing this as an employment opportunity. Keeping to a plan can help to clarify when to write and when your post deadlines are nearing. Writing frequently means being able to generate enough ideas for regular posts, so being a creative mind is helpful. Organisation is key to keep on top of taking photos, which need to be taken in interesting and unique locations. On top of this, you need to manage your time for writing and editing, and it is a good idea to schedule building a community on social media too. Do not underestimate the hard work it takes to post consistently. However remember that eventually, it will be worthwhile. Everyone has something that makes them different, and everyone has something to say. If you can write, take pictures and be a friend to confide in to strangers on the internet, you can grow a community. Find what it is that makes you stand out and you can use it to make a successful blog. Anyone has the ability to succeed if they put their mind to it, so have confidence in yourself and don’t let the fear of what’s already out there or other people’s success hold you back. There is endless room on the internet, and with it comes people who are looking for content that inspires them. Blogging can be a powerful tool to build an audience and there is no better time to start than today. So choose a platform, and get writing! There is space for everybody.
Another thing to consider is whether you have the time to put into pursuing a successful blog. Commitment is key for a blog to be fruitful. Consistent posts will encourage traffic into the direction of the site, as this is what Google’s algorithm, as well as people following your blog, prefer. It is generally recommended to initially blog 3-4 times a week, however it can take around 18 months to see enough progress that you can start to reevaluate your blogging schedule. Therefore, it is very obvious that it takes patience and determination to get to a point where a blog is going to make a profit. Research shows that a quality blog post takes around three and a half hours to complete (via: Orbit Media), therefore having the time to dedicate to your platform is important. Treating it like a hobby is good if you are Blogger Sophie Henderson kindly models for Fashion Uncovered
annah Faithfull and Jessie Morris both work at Web 4 Design, creating graphic trend books for a company called Styleright. The books provide designers with patterns and design inspiration to help them build on-trend collections. Jessie has been working for this company for just a short time, having come from a background in Lingerie Design, while Hannah has been working in this area for a longer period. Read on to find out about what they do, and their different paths that led them to this position... e courtesy of Jessie Morris Imag
Jessi e Morris e Imag
H an 28
courtesy of Hannah Faithf ull
Separate trend books are created for the different sectors within fashion such as menswear, womenswear, childrenswear, sports, kids and babywear. These are purchased by a variety of customers including designers, suppliers, retailers and brands to refer to for inspiration in colours, styles and patterns for their upcoming collections. Jessie explains why these are necessary for designers: “In the design process when starting a new season, [designers] look to trend books, catwalks and trend direction to decide colours, the general theme and garment inspiration. Our trend books help with this.” Hannah describes what their trend books are made up of in more detail which are all things that herself and Jessie help to develop: “Each book holds a collection of eight graphic themed stories, comprising of a mood board to set the tone or feel of the story, a Pantone colour palette, explanation of the theme and then a range of placement prints, badges, AOPs - all over repeat prints - and garments. At the end of each story is a range plan with all of the garments coloured up using the graphics to give the end user a suggestion of usage.”
“[Fashion] can be the best place to work and the most rewarding.” These graphic-based vectors are developed in Adobe’s Illustrator programme, and the books in InDesign. The vector graphics can be pulled apart, recoloured, customised and applied to the buyer’s own range. In order to ensure a successful collection can be achieved with the help of the trend books, research needs to be done. “We research by doing store visits to see what retailers and brands are doing,” Hannah explains, “we also look at competitor trend books, online trend prediction services - Fashion Snoops is what we have here - and general sites like Pinterest and designer’s blogs.” Jessie adds that they also look at catwalks, and exhibitions, and pull together themes from their research. “We then cherry pick which ones look strongest and how they would translate into graphic and print inspiration,” she says. Hannah explains that while the job day-to-day varies, it depends on where they are in the process of the trend as the development is split into different parts: “The
books are basically produced in a six-week time period, experience getting to where she is now, Hannah gives which means that producing them is very prescriptive. her advice for those looking to work in the fashion By that I mean that the breakdown of work-load is very industry: “In this industry you have to be versatile and scheduled.” She goes into more detail about how each flexible. It’s a very volatile business and it helps to be stage is separated, the first of which is the research able to turn your hand to many things.” and initial development stage: “ The first two weeks Jessie agrees on this note, adding that the industry is are taken up by research into trends and prospective indeed a tough one to work in, but once you succeed story themes and then it is certainly worth the building the themes into “It’s a very volatile business and it challenges: “Don’t be under mood boards, along with helps to be able to turn your hand any illusion that its super choosing story colour glamorous and easy - it’s to many things.” palettes.” Briefing with hard work and sometimes freelancers then takes place, to ensure they accurately can be stressful, especially within the current climate follow each project’s theme. The next stage is the we are in. It’s fast paced and a bit cut-throat. But at the creative process, using Photoshop and Illustrator to do same time, can be the best place to work and the most graphic design work and garment sketches. The last rewarding.” stage is bringing together the trend book ready to be Going into more challenges of the job, Hannah sold: “The final two weeks are building the hard copy explains that the tough parts can involve keeping print book in InDesign and collating all the freelances things fresh and continually having creative new ideas work, editing it, proofreading it and doing final checks.” for story themes and trends. Jessie says that this means you need to be able to think outside of the box and Jessie explains what led her down this avenue after do so quickly in order to meet deadlines. She explains studying Contour Fashion (another term for Lingerie some of the more difficult factors of the job, and the Design) at university, a career that she pursued for type of person you need to be to manage them: “You almost ten years: “I was commuting down to London have to be resilient and hard working. Always be every day and I got to the point where I didn’t want to able to adapt to people, people’s opinions and time be sat on the train so much and started looking into constraints. Organisation is key as you’re expected to new opportunities. I have known Web 4 Design for work alone most of the time and get your work done years and decided to pluck up the courage to see if in short time frames.” She also believes that being they may be interested. Luckily they were and I started yourself, talkative and bubbly is important alongside as a Graphic Designer.” Although she has only been these skills, and showing enthusiasm and being a hard with the business for a few months and is still learning worker will take you far in this industry. the ropes, she says that every day is fun. Meanwhile, Hannah fell into this job, saying it was a matter of “who you know and what you know”. She has a degree in Fashion with Knitwear Textiles, which she studied at Central Saint Martins. She started working in ladies knitwear, and eventually moved to menswear product design and development: “The last time I was made redundant I contacted the industry people I knew to see if I could generate any opportunities and because I knew the guys at W4D, I popped in for a chat and never left. The rest is history as they say!” Hannah had an ability to take her skills from her previous jobs and adapt them to apply to graphic design. It was due to this that she was able to fulfil this role developing trend books, a job completely unique to any she had done before: “My graphic design ability is good, and I am also able to design garments from the research stage, fabric selection and design, range building and sampling.” She also has experience in chasing up factories, involving off-shore communication, in order to deliver collections on time and in full. Though it wasn’t planned, Hannah is glad she landed in this career, as she enjoys the creative side and working in a small team: “Compared to previous jobs, where I was a small cog in a larger machine, where lots of people give their input into the final product - which can then make you feel far removed from the design.” Thinking back on what she has learnt from her Graphic Design work by Hannah Faithfull
EVENTS To get experience and inspiration for your career in the industry, whether it’s anything from trend forecasting or styling, we recommend visiting art galleries and exhibitions. It can also help in upcoming interviews as it shows you are widening your knowledge in your own time. There are always great events on across the country, so it’s worth researching whenever you have the time. Here are just a few of our top upcoming experiences you simply can’t miss.
Tim Walker: Wonderful Things - at the Victoria & Albert Museum until 8th March 2020 Experience the unique imagination of Tim Walker in this fantastical celebration of the 25-year-long career of the iconic British fashion photographer. The exhibition gives an insight into the whimsical worlds he invents, exploring a variety of work he’s created for the likes of Vogue, W and LOVE magazines. This collection of installations includes film and photography that he’s created over the years, as well as a brand new series inspired by the V&A’s collections.
Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery
Andy Warhol - opens at the Tate Modern 12th March until 6th September 2020 Perhaps one of the most iconic American pop artists, his unique use of consumerism and celebrity counterculture helped shape modern art. Some of his most famed pieces will adorn the gallery walls, such as the brightly-coloured imagery featuring Marilyn Monroe, Campbell’s Soup Cans and Coca Cola.
TUTANKHAMUN: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh - at the Saatchi Gallery until 3rd May 2020 Celebrating 100 years since Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, this exhibition is the last chance to see over 150 rare artefacts that instigated the 1920s Art Deco Movement, before they are taken back to Egypt forever. London is the third city to host the exhibition following record-breaking success in Los Angeles and Paris.
Image courtesy of Tate Modern
Bags: Inside Out - opens at the Victoria & Albert Museum 25th April 2020 Looking at all things bags, from function to design, this upcoming exhibition will explore the various types of bags from rucksacks to handbags, as well as some of the most classic styles, including the Hermès Birkin bag, and Louis Vuitton luggage. It will feature over 300 items and explore the unique ‘private and public’ cultural space they hold.
Image courtesy of the V&A Museum
“Jane Birkin. By © Tony Frank/Sygma/Corbis.” by sarasmile is licensed under CC BY 2.0 “Custom Hermes Birkin” by Travis W. Simon is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0
Alexander McQueen: Roses - at 27 Old Bond Street, Mayfair until May 2020 One of the most ground-breaking British Fashion designers of all time, Alexander McQueen has made reference to many things in their designs over the years. ‘Roses’ focuses on those inspired by flowers, and leads you through a variety of complex pieces on the top floor of the London flagship store. Creative Director Sarah Burton wanted to inspire the next generation of designers, and so entry is free. Images courtesy of Alexander McQueen’s Instagram page
Image courtesy of The Fashion and Textile Museum
Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk - at the Victoria and Albert Museum until 21st June 2020 Originating in Japan, the kimono is a seemingly traditional garment. However, this exhibition will explore the constant evolution of the garment, displaying pieces as far back as the 1660s to modern day. Featuring over 315 pieces, there is plenty to see from a variety of sources including film, print and paintings, displaying how designers in Western society have been inspired over the years by this garment.
Image courtesy of The Design Museum.
Beautiful People: The Boutique in 1960s Counterculture - at The Fashion and Textile Museum 3 July until 4th October 2020 In the mid 1960s, hippie counterculture fashion took over. Chelsea boutiques began to sell the rebellious clothes, including long flowy dresses, ethnic patterns and androgynous styles. The exhibition features pieces from Biba, Ossie Clark and Thea Porter, who all celebrated the revolutionary youth culture styles. The installation also features iconic outfits worn by the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones during the ‘Flower Power’ movement.
Image courtesy of the V&A Museum
Prada. Front and Back - at the Design Museum, tickets on sale Spring, opens September 2020 In September, the Design Museum will hold the first major exhibition of Prada, one of the world’s most influential fashion houses. From catwalk collections, to handbags and shoes, the display will include some of the most iconic pieces by the designer brand. It will look at the history of the Italian label including the unique story of current Creative Director Muiccia Prada. The ‘front and back’ title relates to what is seen on the surface of fashion, and the creative and industrial infrastructure behind it.
A magazine uncovering the careers of the fashion industry.