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Paul Drew, 30

Menswear branded buyer for denim, sport & street, Asos

Paul Drew has always worked in retail and the young fashion market is his area of expertise. He cut his teeth on the shopfloor of young fashion multiple River Island as a Saturday boy before moving to West-Sussex based independent Amici to work full time selling branded young fashion.

From the shop floor he quickly progressed into the buying office.

“Paul is on a steep trajectory to the top,” says Amici owner Kevin Smith. “When he worked for us, he was hardworking and dedicated and had lots of good ideas. He was popular with the staff and leant quickly.”

Although sport is his self confessed first love, Drew’s appreciation of the branded market and hunger to work for a larger business lead him to join department store Bentalls where under the guidance of head of menswear John Pattison he had his first taste of the fast-fashion mentality.

“I was indomitable in making my denim and young fashion department the best in store,” says Drew. “My mantra back then and today is never standing still where product is concerned.”

Drew stayed at Bentalls for sixteen months when a job at the then relatively unknown Asos came up three years ago. “I joined Asos at the time the business was forming its retail team, but was still very small with less than 100 employees,” says Drew. “I was responsible for the branded clothing offer which was really exciting - but also a huge challenge. I thought it would be easy to translate my skills from bricks and mortar to online but I had a rude awakening when I went to [streetwear trade show] Bread & Butter 10 days after joining Asos and the brands I had good relationships with previously wouldn’t let me on their stands due to a ‘no online’ policy.

“I was baffled and set about convincing them that the future was with online. Now I reflect on those early days with a smile as those brands that stone walled me are now preaching online being the way forward.”

Drew sees himself in the future as heading up a division at Asos and, ultimately, as the chief executive of jeans brand Nudie.

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