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Peter Ruis

Buying director for fashion, John Lewis

Peter Ruis, John Lewis’s buying director for fashion, has been credited with the somewhat tricky achievement of making department store John Lewis trendy.

“He has made John Lewis’s clothing more hip so that it appeals to a broader market without losing the core values of the brand. The way he deals with people is great and he has a reputation for being inspiring. He really has got an eye for product and has a very commercial outlook,” according to one recruitment professional

If fashion chief executives of the future are grown through broad experience then Ruis seems to have put himself through his own personal training programme. After securing a degree in history, Ruis became a Marks & Spencer graduate trainee in 1989. As the company was making much of its clothing in the UK at that time, he was able to work closely with many different types of suppliers. Ruis says: “There really was a benefit technically in being able to visit all those manufacturers which is hard to get these days. “ After several years at M&S, Ruis went on to the then relatively new and entrepreneurial brand, Ted Baker, where he helped launch formalwear with a very small team. The next jump was to Levi’s where he gained international brand experience before joining John Lewis in 2005.  Ruis began with responsibility for men’s fashion and sports at the department store before moving up to his current role. He says: “I have the advantage of having experience of both branded and own-brand clothing and that means that there is not much that I see that in some way I haven’t encountered before.” 

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