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30 Under 30: Tom Saunders

Buyer, men’s formalwear, John Lewis.

Tom Saunders

Tom Saunders

“Go with your gut and take risks. You won’t always get it right, but taking risks is essential in delivering long-term success,” says Tom Saunders when asked what his biggest career lesson has been.

And he’s certainly put the mantra into practice. He studied for a BA Hons in Fashion Management at the London College of Fashion, before securing his first position as a buying assistant at John Lewis in 2005. He built his experience in various roles, including branded menswear and furniture, before being identified by then head of buying Adrian Edwards as a strong candidate for fashion.

He joined the team in men’s brands under the management development programme and moved to men’s formalwear as assistant buyer in 2010.
In 2013 Saunders was promoted to buyer for the department, aged just 26, and has spent the past two years spearheading strategy across private label and brands.

And just look at some of his achievements. As well as his department achieving double-digit growth on 2013, he introduced own label Kin tailoring, developing the collection every step of the way. In that time the department store’s premium John Lewis & Co tailoring launched for autumn 14, and partnerships have been formed with leading international brands Thomas Pink, Hackett London, Hugo Boss, Reiss and Richard James.

John Lewis head of buying for menswear Nick Keyte says: “Tom has had a fantastic year - he has played a crucial part in rewriting our men’s formalwear strategy and has led a reappraisal of the product and brand assortment that is already delivering results. He’s definitely one to watch.”

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