London Fashion Week was highly impressive all round, reports Keeley Watson, fashion consultant at niche retail and FMCG recruiter, Quest Search & Selection. The biggest news of the week was undoubtedly Stella McCartney’s theatrical presentation and the first show of ‘McQ’, Alexander McQueen’s diffusion line. Further highlighting the strength and innovation of UK design, our traditional heritage brands such as Burberry, Aquascutum and Mulberry continue to be revered worldwide.
There was also the new addition of a day solely dedicated to Menswear, which is a much welcome change. Indeed, Menswear is becoming much more important, with new brands like the multiple award-winning Pretty Green, now into its tenth UK store after only three years, and Ben Sherman re-branding and focusing solely on Menswear, the sartorial future of the English Gentleman looks set to remain as strong as ever.
On the high street, fast fashion continues to perform well, with leaders Primark set to dominate even further with a newly appointed in-house Design team. ASOS is another success story of the British high street – without actually being on any high street – and led the online shopping boom we continue to see gaining momentum.
Despite the economic constraints facing us all, we are actually seeing a lot of movement across all roles – from Technicians across Clothing & Accessories, to Buyers, Merchandisers, Designers, Print Designers, Fabric Buyers… the list goes on. We are now seeing retailers looking to fill more niche roles in order to maximise sales and output and reduce returns – I predict we will see much more focus on roles such as Branch Merchandising and Garment/Accessory Tech roles to reflect this.
At Quest, we have a dedicated Fashion team with a wealth of industry experience behind us and our knowledge of all areas, from fast fashion to premium brands and luxury labels is comprehensive. We recruit across all roles related to fashion- from Sales Assistants up to Director level positions. We also recruit internationally; these roles usually require strong experience with prominent UK retailers and the ability to work in a multi-cultural environment.
To succeed in a role in fashion, you will need not just trend awareness, but also a commercial awareness. You must be aware of new and existing brands and how they are doing, as well as awareness of what’s happening on the catwalks and is likely to trickle down onto the high street. Knowledge of celebrity culture is also key, as they continue to influence mainstream style. A degree or equivalent is more often than not a requirement, which usually includes industrial placements (vital in giving a taste of what the industry is truly like). Anyone who thinks fashion will be an easy role need not apply- its fast-paced, highly competitive and requires a great deal of commitment and organisation.
If you are numerical, a career in Merchandising may be for you- the unsung heroes of fashion, the industry wouldn’t survive without them (much like advertisers in glossy magazines, these are the people who make things happen). As these roles are often undersubscribed, the progression is much quicker than it is in the traditional fashion roles of Design and Buying.
In order to make yourself really stand out and be successful within fashion, you should write a blog. This serves as an online portfolio in some instances, and in today’s technology-savvy market many of the large retailers, such as Topshop, have it as a requirement.
Whatever your area of expertise, at Quest we are experts in our field able to offer advice on how best to get what you want from this ever-evolving creative industry.
Connect with Keeley Watson on LinkedIn
Edited by Simon Lewis | Only Marketing Jobs