Design assistant, River Island, aged 24
When an established designer like Ben de Lisi says he expects to hear more from you, you know you’re on the right track. He was commenting on Olivia Hewitt’s six-piece collection for her final year studying BA Fashion hons at Manchester Metropolitan University, which combined vibrant prints with hand embroidery. Debenhams teamed up with Manchester Metropolitan University to search for new talent. The collection was a hit with the department store, which displayed the range in its windows, and led to high street favourite River Island talent spotting her at Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) in 2011.
Miranda Kirwan, womenswear design controller at River Island, says: “We discovered Olivia at GFW and thought her final collection was a great fit for River Island. We had a chat and offered her a work placement for three months within the design team.” Impressing during her internship it quickly turned into a permanent job. “Olivia has been part of the team for just over a year and she is a valued member of the dresses department.”
Olivia wants to expand into other areas at River Island, such as leather and tailoring. She adds: “I love designing and my goal is to have my own label of luxurious womenswear.”