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Designs on a bright future for fashion

At Smith & Pye we specialise in the recruitment of fashion designers, and we have been bracing ourselves for the economic downturn for a couple of months – but it hasn’t really arrived.

Things were quiet in May, when everyone was formulating a strategy to beat the credit crunch, but it looks like optimism has returned and suddenly the high street and international brands are recruiting designers with confidence.

It is clear that strong companies improve their offers in times of uncertainty and for this they need excellent designers, and as a result our business with the luxury market is steady.

I have always been impressed by the way that US retail giants make astute choices in their recruitment of designers. We see six or seven designers a day, and we know what constitutes good design – and those US firms pick the best.

These US retailers recognise that, even if your product amounts to variations on the T-shirt and sweatshirt, only a good designer can get the shape, style and fit right for that season.

The designers on our books are, without doubt, the best in the world. How are they reacting to the media cacophony of doom and gloom? The answer is that there has been no
significant change in their stance.

Designers are keen to hear about employment opportunities and remain open to moving jobs if it will enhance their career. One development which may be a result of the current economic climate is designers’ readiness to consider positions overseas. We have seen an increase in business in Australia and are surprised by the amount of designers keen to relocate. Sunshine and a booming economy – what’s not to like?

Alice Smith is co-founder of fashion recruitment consultancy Smith & Pye

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