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How I got here - Jilly Richards

Superdry’s womenswear designer relishes the responsibility of creating the brand’s feminine side.

What does your diary look like today?

We’re designing for spring 14 at the moment and I’m bringing all of my design ideas and inspirations together into sketches for final reviews.

What task are you most looking forward to today?

It has to be the designing part; it’s so nice to see my range coming together. Choosing fabrics and colours for each style helps in visualising what you’re about to create, and makes me eager to see my prototypes when they come through in a couple of weeks.

What task do you wish you could postpone?

The task I would postpone is answering my emails - everything is pretty hectic at the moment and I seem to be getting something of a backlog.

How did you get to where you are today?

I always knew I wanted to be in fashion. My sister studied fashion and interned at several amazing places such as Philip Treacy, Lulu Guinness and Emma Cook. I thought it was such an amazing thing to be part of and loved the theatrical and creative idea of it all. So I focused my attention on fashion as much as I could at school, creating clothes in art classes instead of paintings.

I followed that through to sixth form college, studying A-level textiles. When looking at university courses, I was particularly excited when I found the Clothing Design and Technology course at Manchester Metropolitan University, which offered a wide range of teaching for fashion careers within one course. Towards the end of my final year I heard of the position at Superdry, and was overjoyed when I got the interview, and then even more thrilled to get the job.

What has been your career highlight?

For me the progress we’re making within the womenswear market is really exciting, as the brand is predominantly known for menswear. Having a large input in bringing out the femininity in an urban brand is rewarding and a fantastic responsibility.

Who is your mentor?

Definitely my mother - she has been such a strong influence throughout my life.

What’s the best piece of advice she’s given you?

The best piece of advice she ever gave me is that good things come to those who wait. She taught me that what you desire is achievable with hard work and patience.

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

Work hard, be passionate, and listen to the advice others can give you. It’s really easy to think you know best, but there are lots of people with excellent experience and the right people are there to help guide you if you seek them out.

If you could work in another area of fashion, which would it be?

I would probably be a stylist. When I was looking at degrees in fashion I did consider styling, as it’s something I love, but being a designer outweighed that route as I love to create something completely new from an initial idea, fabric and sketch. Seeing the end result when you’ve created something really fashion forward and successful is a great feeling.

  • Salaries for this position range from £30,000 to £35,000 (estimate provided by Fashion and Retail Personnel)


2010 Womenswear designer, Superdry
2009 Assistant designer, Superdry
2009 Graduated Clothing Design & Technology BA Hons, Manchester Metropolitan University
2008 Assistant designer, internship, Stylewise UK

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