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Next Generation proves there’s no lack of talent

Reasons I love the fashion business this week #1: the amazing people who work in it.

I was truly inspired this week by the talent this sector boasts when we brought together this year’s Drapers 30 Under 30 for the first time for an exclusive dinner. The 30 Under 30 list is something we’ve been running for the past four years as part of our Next Generation campaign in partnership with Success Appointments, and it is pulled together following nominations from senior contacts from across the industry.

This year’s crop is as outstanding as ever, ranging from 22 to 30 in age and working across the breadth
of the industry from design to etail to buying and merchandising, but having them all together in one room for an intimate dinner really drove home to me how important it is for us all to celebrate this level of talent.

To say this group was hungry to get ahead is a huge understatement. Chatting with some of them during dinner they were buzzing with questions and ideas. One told me she’d got her five-point career plan from HR when she first joined the high street retail team as a junior buyer, and had then worked evenings and weekends for four months to tick off every one of the requirements and move up to the next role - she couldn’t understand why everyone hadn’t done the same. Another from the group told me her ability to process information and react super-quickly meant she often had to give her team time to catch up.

I was left in no doubt that these are the future leaders of this industry; certainly many of them will be appearing in the pages of Drapers for years to come, and all of them were united in their passion for the business they work in.

My hope is that the companies they work for value the contribution they are already making and harness their talent fully. The senior management in most of today’s businesses will have grown up in a very different environment to today, both in terms of the economic climate and the way fashion business is done via digital, mobile and internationally. Everything has changed.

So spending a day with some of our 30 would be a really useful exercise in comparing outlooks with their talented rising stars, who are also consumers in their own right. In any business a virtuous circle of communication between the top and bottom of the business is vital to its success and these 30 would be a fantastic channel for this type of feedback.

For our next Next Generation event, we are inviting an even younger crowd of new starters to the industry to attend a one-day event on March 21 to hear from the likes of Primark chief executive Paul Marchant and Debenhams chief executive Michael Sharp about what has inspired and motivated them. To win a free place, tweet us at @Drapers using #DRNEXTGEN and tell us why you deserve to come along.

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