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How I got here - Lottie McLaughlin

The womenswear designer for three brands at USC first demonstrated her skills as an intern.

What does your diary look like today?

We’ve been working hard and collating ideas for next season, which is one of the best parts of the job. From 9am the team and I will be focused on preparing for our critical autumn 14 trend presentation at 11am. We will be presenting to the buying team and buying director all of our boards and how each of our brands will represent the key trends. In the afternoon the focus shifts to Rock & Rags by Firetrap, where we’ll be presenting the jersey range for spring 14’s first drop. If there is any time left I’ll work on autumn 14 Fullcircle outerwear and spring 14 soft separates.

What meeting are you most looking forward to?

Trend meetings are always inspiring.

It’s a great way for the buyers and designers to look forward and get excited by next season’s potential. So I am definitely looking forward to the autumn 14 presentation. I really hope I get time today to do some Fullcircle outerwear. This is a key area for the brand, so it’s important I have enough time for this category because a lot of time is put into the details of all the jackets.

How did you get to where you are today?

Internships were key for me after graduating from Arts University, Bournemouth, with a BA in Fashion. I interned for both high-end labels like Felder Felder and high street retailers like Topshop, which were both fantastic experiences. I then interned at USC and was really lucky to be offered an assistant designer job. I also put a lot of personal time into learning and developing my hand-drawn skills and Illustrator skills. My design aesthetic and Illustrator skills were crucial in getting offered the design assistant job at USC. From then on I’ve grown with the company to become womenswear designer for three brands.

What has been your career highlight?

Designing the womenswear range for the relaunch of Fullcircle at USC. It was a fantastic opportunity to contribute to the aesthetic of an exciting brand by creating a minimal and fashion-forward capsule collection. I always love seeing my designs in the press, or seeing someone on the street wearing something I’ve designed.

Who is your mentor?

Since joining USC I’ve been very fortunate to work closely with our brand director, Emma Alexander. She has always given me advice, allowed me creative freedom and supported my growth.

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

Simply to always be honest. Whether it’s about specific collection choices, designs or styling in a campaign shoot, it’s so important to be true to your own opinion while maintaining a level of commerciality. One other piece of advice that has been valuable is to never underestimate how important it is to include all the beautiful branded details in our product, so when the collection comes together the branding is consistent with a premium aesthetic.

How do you see your career progressing?

I hope to keep progressing as a womenswear designer and work with many more brands. Also to continue learning
and developing my management and leadership skills to build a career as a design manager or head of design.

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

Work hard with a positive mindset in every internship, freelance and full-time design job you take.

Make sure you absorb the advice, direction, knowledge and experience of everybody you meet in the industry and enjoy what you do.

  • Salaries for this position range from £28,000 to £33,000 (estimate provided by CVUK)


2013 Womenswear designer - Fullcircle, Rock & Rags by Firetrap and Uncut, USC
2011 Womenswear assistant designer, USC
2011 Design intern, USC
2011 Design intern, Topshop
2010 Assistant stylist, Matthew Josephs
2010 Freelance designer
2010 Fashion BA Hons, Arts University, Bournemouth

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