Timberland’s menswear designer says planning is vital when working across various product categories.
My body clock is pretty good so I normally wake up at 5am, and if that doesn’t work then my alarm rings at 5.30am. I tend to get ready at work because I cycle to our offices in Farringdon every morning from my home near Portobello Road, which takes about 45 minutes. I take the quiet routes because the roads in London can be crazy.
When I get into the offices I take a shower, get ready and grab some breakfast, and then start my day at around 8am by checking my emails, and my to-do list, which I always make the night before. There isn’t a set dress code here at Timberland but I tend to wear pieces from the brand and try to ‘dandify’ them and smarten them up.
There are about nine of us in the design team and I am a multi-product designer, working across our entry-level collection, from outerwear, to knits and sweats.
I always keep an eye on the mainline to see what can be adapted into the entry-price range.
As well as designing I spend a lot of time liaising with our product development team, ensuring we are chasing the correct fabric, with the right organic content and at the right price. I also amend designs based on the information fed back to me from the product development team and this is in turn passed on to our merchandising team, so that they know what’s going on. Colour is really important to us and we have lots of meetings to discuss colours, before presenting them to the creative director.
When we’re busy I normally work and eat at the same time, but if not then I like to pop out to the local cafes to grab some food.
Being able to plan effectively is important when you work across so many different product categories like I do, because you can be juggling many of those at the same time. Design ability and having an aesthetic eye is also essential.
I didn’t take the traditional route [into fashion] and didn’t do any A-levels. Instead I did a BTEC diploma foundation in art and design where I got to test many different disciplines, from fine art to ceramics. I then went to the London College of Fashion to study womenswear, but began to feel that it wasn’t for me. My tutor suggested I try menswear, so I started from scratch by studying fashion design and technology in menswear instead, and loved it.
I learnt everything from pattern cutting, to design and tailoring. It was a really well-rounded course.
I’m proud I didn’t give up at that point, and I love working at Timberland because here I have the opportunity to take the brand and make it even better and more contemporary. You could say I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been thrown a lemon, and I’ve made lemonade out of it [so to speak].
I normally finish work at 7.30pm. In the evenings I love to make ties, which is a real hobby of mine, or go out to see friends. I don’t normally go to bed until midnight because five hours sleep is enough for me, unless it’s a weekend, then I just crash out.
- Salaries for this position range from £45,000 to £60,000 (estimate provided by Smith & Pye)
2012 Menswear designer, Timberland
2011 Menswear designer, Henri Lloyd
2008 Men’s shirt designer, Brand Alliance
2006 Outerwear assistant designer, AD Hope