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Meet the rising stars of fashion retailing

When we launched our annual search for the fashion retail industry’s 30 most promising talents aged 30 or under, we couldn’t have foreseen the volume of responses or the enthusiasm that followed.

30 under 30, 2015

30 under 30, 2015

This is testament to one of the UK fashion sector’s great merits: recognising, celebrating and nurturing talent.

So it is with pleasure that we bring you our annual Next Generation supplement, in association with Matalan. With the initiative now in its sixth year, we aim to help first-, second- and third-jobbers to make their way within the industry and build their careers.

The centrepiece to this supplement is our aforementioned 30 Under 30 feature. Here we tell you who made the final cut and, because there were so many great applications, also give honourable mentions to those who fell just outside the top 30 - these are also ones to watch for next year and beyond.

Getting your foot in the door of any business is always the first hurdle, but once you’re in, how long should you stay? It’s all too tempting to chase the money and job title by going to a competitor, but does that strategy pay off in the long term? Or will it damage your career opportunities to be seen as an individual that quickly jumps ship? These are the questions we ask, and try to answer here.

If you’re reading this because you are about to apply - or are thinking of applying - for a new job, make sure you read our ‘Ticking every box’ feature here, where we tell you how to polish your CV and LinkedIn and other social media profiles as well as perfect your interview technique.

The White Company clothing director Barbara Horspool has certainly managed to climb the career ladder with great success, and here she tells us how she did it.

Horspool might have made her way through the design route at Marks & Spencer, New Look and Jigsaw, but buying and merchandising remain two of the most popular routes into fashion retail. We speak to five professionals who have taken this career path.

With the ecommerce sector booming and new technical roles cropping up, we explain how retailers are struggling to fill jobs in this area, resulting in these candidates seeing their stock rise.

Finally, we bring you the findings from our recruitment roundtable, attended by Matalan, and Reiss among others.

This supplement will be followed by our Next Generation event on April 16, in which key industry voices talk about their careers and offer advice to the audience. Want to attend? If you’re in your first, second or third job, tell us in no more than 150 words why you should win a place by emailing


Readers' comments (4)

  • Having been active in the clothing industry for over 30 years, with the privilege of working for major retailers and suppliers, I am appalled over the lack of representation for people of 'black' origin.
    It is unacceptable that in 2015, Drapers are indicating that the next generation of rising stars will be 99.9% 'White'.
    In my 30+ years experience, this does not reflect the industry as a whole, as I have worked with promising young people of black 'origin' aged 30 years and under, that are prominent within many key positions.
    While, I did not think that Drapers was discriminating, this report (as well as previous reports) strongly suggests that people of 'black 'origin play no part in the future of the industry's 'rising stars'.

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  • Not taking anything away from the nominees, well done. But does the title Assistant or Junior denote success by 30? Where are the business leaders, the self starters, the people that make a difference? From my initial read through of the list, i only see one entrepreneur, (Grabble) and even he was born into a garment family! I am sure that Philip Greene would have seriously reviewed his career path had he been someones assistant at 30. I do however notice that there are 2 Matalan employees, who happen to sponsor the next generation thingy! The whole thing is a mockery of a sham of a mockery. shame on you Drapers!

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  • Hello both,

    Thank you for your feedback.

    In answer to the first query, we don't ask applicants to submit photographs ahead of selection. So race doesn't come into it, as we have no idea of their ethnicity. We chose the best applicants only.

    In answer to the second posting, we had over 250 viable nominations this year. The nature of our list reflects the type of entries we receive, and will be different each year as a result. We ask for self nominations and nominations from fashion brands and retailers, and once an initial selection is made we validate these by speaking to their line managers and other industry sources. Each of our 30 fully deserves their spot on this list. If you take a look at their careers, they have progressed quickly with proven results.

    Very best,

    James Knowles
    Features and Special Reports Editor

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  • Gracious Store

    "Getting your foot in the door of any business is always the first hurdle, but once you’re in, how long should you stay?" You are absolutely correct to say that the first hurdle for every job seeker is to get his/her into the door. Besides individually wanting to pursue money and prestige by joining competitors, Very often employers determines some of the decision the employees make either to remain with the company or to join competitors.

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