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A day in the life of Stephanie Kitchen

Winning awards helped Berghaus’s everyday outdoors and trail clothing junior designer get a foot on the ladder.

What does your typical week involve?
As I’ve just started, I’m completing a lot of odd jobs. So this week I’ve been ‘retailing’ [comp shopping], where I go to a variety of shops and boutiques to look at products, gauge what’s already been done by other brands, look at the layout of stores and see how items have been merchandised. I’ve also been doing colour research for new garments and contacting suppliers. Lastly, I have been updating our tech packs - the documents we send to factories to allow them to produce each garment - as when designs are altered, the colour or trim can change.

What task have you most enjoyed today?
I’ve been retailing in Newcastle, where I’ve been to a variety of shops from designer to high street, looking at all their ranges. I’ve also enjoyed colour researching, which I do by looking at trend websites such as WGSN to see what colours have been forecasted as on trend. I do my own research by looking at various blogs and Tumblr to see what colours work well together.

What task do you wish you could postpone?
I had a health and safety induction today - that was very boring. I’m also not too keen on administration tasks, especially answering emails.

How did you get to where you are today?
I graduated from Bath Spa University last year with a BA (Hons) in Fashion Design. After graduating I showed my work at The Textiles Institute’s Design Means Business exhibition and competition, which I won. The prize was a two-month internship in the design team at Pentland, which was extended to 11 months. While there I had the opportunity to do a design project for Berghaus, which Pentland owns - that was great as I wanted to work for them. Their junior designer had just gone on maternity leave, so I applied for the role.

What has been your career highlight?
Winning the Design Means Business competition. It was held at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, which is an amazing location. I also won the Fashion Awareness Direct award in February 2013 - it’s a competition aimed at second- and third-year students. The catwalk showcase, consisting of myself and 14 other finalists, took place during London Fashion Week as part of the Vauxhall Fashion Scout showcase. My winning designs were included in Hilary Alexander’s LFW Somerset House catwalk event - she was one of the judges.

If you could change one thing about your career path, what would it be?
I would have applied for a lot more internships while a student. I’m lucky to be in the position I’m in, considering I didn’t do many. A lot of people do internships to gain experience, but I was more focused on my studies. I did a few during the summer, such as a week’s placement at LFW with a fashion scout.

Who is your mentor? What’s the best piece of advice they’ve given you?
My mentor is Louise Pickles, the Fashion Design course leader at Bath Spa. She’s a huge inspiration to me, as she has such a great work ethic and encourages you to constantly strive to improve your work. The best advice she gave me was to always question my designs to make them the best they can be.

How do you see your career progressing?
I’d like to gain a permanent position at Berghaus or possibly work for other companies so I can learn as much about the industry as possible. I eventually want to work abroad, to allow me to further my experiences.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Get as much experience as possible and love what you do. A lot of people are in a job they don’t enjoy. Work hard and always be yourself.

If you could work in another area of fashion, what would it be?
I’m really interested in marketing. I love thinking about advertising as it’s quite an exciting time in terms of social media; it’s interesting to see how brands engage with consumers now there’s such an increase in online shopping.

  • Salaries for this position range from £18,000 to £22,000 (estimate provided by Henry Fox)




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