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Anna Paola Papaconstantinou

Creative director, Paolita

CV

2010 Creative director, Paolita

2009 Womenswear design assistant, Hussein Chalayan

2008 Womenswear design assistant, McQ

2008 Fashion design degree, Istituto Marangoni, Milan and London

2004 Foundation degree in Fashion Design, London College of Fashion

2003 BSc Psychology, Anglia Ruskin University

 

What does your job involve?

Being quite a new brand, there are several jobs involved that I need to juggle. Apart from designing the ranges for swimwear and beachwear brand Paolita, I’m also in charge of the branding and imagery, and I organise production and attend sales meetings with buyers. We recently opened our first boutique in Marble Arch, London, which gives me a wonderful chance to interact with customers – which is one of my favourite things to do.

What skills do you need?

The more skills the better. One of the most important skills to have is the ability to be very organised and to work to a strict time schedule. I draw out all my designs by hand and then I use Photoshop and Illustrator for all the imagery I create. I spend hours on image research, and paying attention to people and my surroundings.

What do you like and dislike about your job?

I love the design process and I absolutely love it when I get the first samples in. Being able to see all the sketches come back as a real garment is an amazing feeling. Another one of my favourite things is selling directly to [shoppers]. I dislike it when things go wrong because I get extremely stressed out. When deadlines are not met it absolutely wrecks me.

How did you get to where you are today?

My first degree was in psychology. However, I found out quite soon that I wasn’t passionate about the subject. So I ended up doing another degree in fashion design, studying at Istituto Marangoni, spending two years in Milan and two in London. On graduating I worked for [Alexander McQueen sub-brand] McQ, which was one of the best learning experiences I’ve ever had. After that I had the incredible experience of working under designer Hussein Chalayan, creative director at Puma. A lot of passion, hard work and a dream is why I do what I do and why I am where I am.

What is your proudest career achievement to date?

Seeing my brand evolve from a simple pencil sketch to retailing around the world and opening my own boutique. However, what always makes me extremely proud is the emotional response I’ve had from a range of people, from buyers to press to clients. When I take the time to reflect on my career, seeing the way my company has developed over the past year makes me proud.

What is your ambition?

I want to grow Paolita into an international brand immediately associated with the sun, the beach, vacations and looking great. I want women who need to buy beach attire to think of Paolita first and aspire to buy it.

How do you intend to get there?

Through always having a close relationship with the end customer and catering directly for their needs and dreams. It’s about connecting on more than a commercial level – it’s about connecting on an emotional one.

What three words sum you up?

A dreamer, stubborn and passionate.

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

Trying is much better than not doing it at all. Everything is possible. 

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