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A day in the life - Rob Beirne

A lack of routine keeps Duck and Cover’s multi-product menswear designer animated.

My alarm goes off at 6.30am, and I’m in the shower by 7am. I allow a bit of time to get my hair in shape, and then I grab some breakfast before the one-hour journey from my home in Canonbury to the office in North Acton in west London.

I usually take the Overground, but when the weather perks up in the summer, I like to cycle a couple of days a week.

I tend to wear a fair bit of [young fashion brand] Duck and Cover into the office, but I also like to shop in stores such as Opening Ceremony and Present. I’m not brand loyal, but I do invest more in quality and don’t shop particularly on the high street.

The Mac goes on as soon as I get into the office and I check my emails. I’ve cut back on caffeine so I only usually have one cup of tea a day and I like to wait a little bit to treat myself to that.

The majority of my day is spent in the office, unless we are doing seasonal shoots or travelling to trade events. As a multi-product designer, my design role is very varied. One day I might be doing shirts, the next day working on jerseys, and the next focusing on sweats. I design roughly 60 to 65 pieces a season and my tasks involve putting together mood boards, approving fit samples, sketching up styles and putting my designs into Photoshop or Illustrator for the factories.

Between 80% and 90% of our fabrics are unique to the brand, so I spend some time working with the suppliers on the exact colourways we want. It can be challenging to make sure you are keeping within the brand constraints on your designs, and I do have to regularly check that what I’m doing is not going off on a tangent.

My job often involves working alongside the PR guys in terms of organising samples for press contacts and also looking at opportunities to place the brand.

I help out with the website on the ‘Get the Look’ pages to make sure these are always updated, and contribute to the weekly newsletter by helping to brief the creative agency. I like being able to deal with the consumer side as well as designing, and when we travel to trade fairs such as Bread & Butter in Berlin, I spend a lot of my time on the stand, talking customers through the range.

No two days are ever the same in this job, and that lack of routine keeps me on my toes.

I get away from my desk any time between 5pm and 7pm depending on how busy things are. There is the occasional bit of evening work too. We showcased our spring 13 collection on a catwalk at Pacha nightclub in February and that was a fairly late working night.

I’m quite into sport during the evenings: I play six-a-side football on a Monday and go kickboxing twice a week too.

I also spend time in the local pub around my home and meet up with friends who live nearby. I’m pretty good on not too much sleep, so I don’t really need any early nights.

  • Salaries for this position range from £15,000 to £45,000 (estimate provided by Fashion and Retail Personnel)


2010 Multi-product menswear designer, Duck and Cover
2009 Freelance menswear designer
2006 Men’s shirt designer, River Island
2005 Men’s shirt/jersey designer, Brand Alliance
2003 Men’s shirt designer, David Howard
2003 BA (Hons) Fashion Design, Nottingham Trent University

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