Women’s hosiery designer, Pantherella.
What does your job involve?
I’m the womenswear designer at hosiery brands Pantherella and [Pantherella-owned] Scott Nichol, as well as for our private-label business, with clients including Ted Baker, Acne and Margaret Howell. As a creative
team we plan and discuss trends, themes, colour palette and direction for the season. Essentially the start of each collection begins at textile show Pitti Filati in Florence, where we source new yarns and research trend predictions, which inspire designs for the new season. We then bring these designs to fruition with a commercial collection.
What skills do you need?
You need a lot of different skills, particularly strong creativity coupled with a solid business acumen and a good understanding of the market. An ability to balance the aesthetic with the commercial is key. This involves regular liaison with all departments - design, sales and production - so it’s important to be a good communicator. You also need to be good at getting your point of view across.
What do you like and dislike about your job?
I’m very passionate about the brand and the people I work with. Pantherella has such a great heritage. There is a lot of vital work that I find rewarding, from developing a collection with a new customer and seeing my designs in store, to researching new trends. Sometimes the analytical number crunching can be a bit of a challenge though.
How did you get to where you are today?
Through persistent hard work and the ability to learn new skills. I worked at Next and Marks & Spencer while I was studying my A-levels, which I completed in 2006. I worked at those retailers because they have a great reputation on the high street and I’ve always been passionate about fashion and working in the industry. I then did the BTEC Foundation National Diploma in Art and Design, where you look at different aspects of design, from fashion and textiles to fine art, ceramics and photography, to give you a knowledge of each area and help you choose what you want to specialise in. I chose not to go on to university and instead to gain immediate experience within the industry, and was very lucky to have landed the job at Pantherella.
What is your proudest career achievement to date?
Seeing my designs featured on the catwalk at womenswear trade show Pure London was a highlight, as is working with the design teams at well-known high-end labels, including Acne, Margaret Howell and Ted Baker.
What is your ambition?
To continue working with a high-end brand such as Pantherella and progress within my role.
How do you intend to get there?
Through a lot of hard work and commitment and the ability to listen and take on board other ideas.
What three words sum you up?
Creative, passionate and organised.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
The industry can be tough but don’t give up. Know your product, your customer and your end consumer. Listen and learn from peers and make the most of every opportunity.