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James Williamson

Menswear designer, outerwear, River Island, aged 27

“No job in fashion is nine to five, and you genuinely do get out of your role what you put into it. I think it’s possibly the most rewarding industry you could work in as long as you put in the effort and have the determination to prove yourself.”

Wise words from James Williamson, who is already being talked of as a designer who will go far.

He joined River Island as men’s outerwear designer in summer 2011 from Republic, following stints with suppliers Visage in Manchester and Christy Group in Barnsley. He turned to fashion after initially starting a degree in art, design and photography, swapping to a BA(Hons) in fashion and clothing at Leeds College of Art and Design.

At Republic in Leeds, Williamson was a multi-product designer. “I was covering a whole brand. It was enjoyable and challenging, as I had to learn a lot of disciplines while also managing the different lead times in each product area. But working across a whole brand, developing a trend concept, designing and building a range right down to the branding touches, is an amazing job.”

Now at River Island, he says he is gaining more experience in a nurturing atmosphere. “The constant reward of seeing your product in store is a real motivation to better yourself each season. I love seeing my designs made into garments, and it’s even better when you see members of the public wearing them.”

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