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A day in the life of Natasha Varma

Hanging out with A-list celebrities is all in a day’s work for Missguided’s design manager.

Natasha Varma

Natasha Varma

What does your typical week involve?
I love to keep on top of what the world is wearing, including how they are layering and styling their pieces together. So every week I look for design inspiration, researching on Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram. I’m really interested in street style bloggers; my favourites are South African blogger Nyané Lebajoa and London label Rat & Boa.

What task are you most looking forward to today?
Researching and planning the new directional concepts. I do this at the start of every season. We are a fast-fashion brand, so react to styles on a quick turnaround for short order, as well as staying ahead of the game by planning for forthcoming seasons. I also work on any side projects Missguided introduces, such as our autumn 14 collaboration with singer Nicole Scherzinger. As a brand we like to push our creative boundaries and, luckily, we have a lot of freedom to play with ideas.

How did you get to where you are today?
After finishing my BA in Fashion Design at De Montfort University in 2008, I was selected by Karen Millen to showcase my collection at Graduate Fashion Week in London. I created my own prints for the collection, which was very laid back and focused on masculine silhouettes. At the time everyone was advising me to get into high-end fashion and start an independent label. Instead I chose to ignore them and go with my gut, which was to start at the bottom and work my way up. In 2008 the De Montfort University fashion design course leader Della Swain put me forward for a job as a designer at womenswear supplier Moreglam in Leicester. From there I moved on to become a designer at Rock Island in Leicester in 2010, a supplier to the likes of Missguided and Boohoo.com. As I gained more responsibility I’d regularly visit Missguided in Manchester to show them my collections, which they would buy into. After two years I approached Missguided managing director Nitin Passi and asked if I could design for him. It seemed the right move as he was buying my designs anyway. I was the first designer to join Missguided in 2012 and now I manage a team of 12.

What has happened in the year since being named one of Drapers’ 30 Under 30?
The main highlight was managing our collaboration with Nicole Scherzinger for spring 14 and autumn 14. She’s great to get along with and really focused. Our team would present concepts and samples for her to tweak and to either add or eliminate pieces. Both collections (which featured 35 pieces) had a fresh, edgy yet sexy vibe. We made sure to include wardrobe staples like crop tops that you could layer up, along with sexy dresses and statement pieces like a neoprene biker jacket.

What has the past year meant for you, both personally and professionally?
Working on the collaboration with Nicole for the past year has taken my career to the next level. I’ve grown so much professionally as a team leader, while personally it has given me more confidence. The past 12 months have taught me a lot. I had very tight deadlines to meet and faced new challenges like travelling to Japan, China, Korea and the US to source fabrics, prints and trims.

Who is your mentor?
Nitin Passi.

What’s the best advice he’s given you?
He told me to concentrate on producing winning lines and pushing my team to consistently create sell-out styles. Every day is a new challenge but I’m enjoying the journey.

How do you see your career progressing?
Missguided is growing massively and I’m growing with it. As long as I keep doing that I have a lot of faith in progressing even further in the company. It’s not about reaching a certain job title; that’s meaningless. As long as I keep learning and managing new projects, that’s growth for me.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Be passionate, patient and stay focused.

  • Salaries for this position range from £45,000 to £55,000 (estimate by Success Appointments)

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