Back in February 2003, Drapers profiled 30 of fashion’s rising stars who at the time were aged 30 or under. Seven years on, we catch up with those talents to discover how their careers have panned out.
Kim Jones, creative director, Dunhill
Seven years since Kim Jones was hotly tipped by Drapers to become a key force in the menswear sector, the Dunhill creative director scooped the menswear designer of the year accolade at the British Fashion Awards last December.
And he certainly deserves it, having worked on more than 40 collections, from his own – which has shown on the runways in London, Paris and New York – to various collaborations, over these years. He has worked with premium brands such as Hugo Boss through to luxury labels Mulberry and Louis Vuitton, as well as high street players Topman and Uniqlo.
But he insists that he never had a plan. “I never have a plan and prefer to go with the flow,” he says. “A lot of the people I admire work this way. I have no idea [where I see myself in another seven years time] – I don’t make plans.”
Despite all his highs – “getting this job at Dunhill, the success of my sister Nadia (Jones, design director at Oasis) and my own accolades, including two British Fashion Awards” – Jones is less upbeat about the place of menswear in the fashion industry. “The lows [over the last seven years] would be menswear not being noticed in the UK or credited for being such a massive part of the UK industry,” he says.
His advice for those wishing to follow in his footsteps? “Have your own style and don’t follow other people. Also, don’t just use the internet for research, go out and look at real life.”
2009 Menswear designer of the year, British Fashion Awards
2008 Becomes creative director of Dunhill London
2007 Presents his last catwalk collection in New York
2004 Umbro by Kim Jones launches
2003 Presents first catwalk collection during London Fashion Week
2002 First contributes to Umbro range
2001 Graduates from Central Saint Martins College in London
Andrew Ibi, owner, The Convenience Store
Andrew Ibi has moved from design to retail over the last seven years – a “hurricane of invention and re-invention”, as he puts it. “I’ve worked on my own label XXX, closed that down and at the same time worked on various design projects and taught at various fashion institutions. I recently took a senior lecturing post at Kingston University.”
But his full time role now is as owner of The Convenience Store, a fashion shop-cum-art space, which opened in 2008 in west London to much appraise. Labels include Rick Owens, Ann-Sofie Back, Gustavo Lins and Boudicca, alongside rising stars such as Clare Tough, Hannah Marshall and Sophie Hulme.
Ibi says that closing down his labels and negotiating with the banks hasn’t been easy, but he remains focused on his “creative path” and nurturing a concept which he believes is unique in independent retailing. “My work is based on a creative and flexible approach. Creating a store/space was a logical step to me and The Convenience Store has created a new creative forum to London and is the most exciting project I’ve worked on. It is the voice of the independent and will provide a platform for me to re-design. I will return to designing when I find it culturally interesting again.”
Ibi offers sensible advice to those wishing to follow in his footsteps – be open, flexible, creative, instinctive, decisive – but he also suggests being a bit “reckless”.
2008 Owner, The Convenience Store, London.
2006 Head of menswear, Burlington
2005 Launches own label Whitelines
2000 Launches own label HandPaintibi
1999 Men’s designer, Club Monaco, Toronto and New York
1997 Assistant designer, Joe Casely-Hayford
1996 Graduate of the Year award, Middlesex University
Damaris Evans, founder, Damaris and Mimi Holliday
Of all Drapers’ rising stars of the last seven years, lingerie designer Damaris Evans has arguably kept her eye on the same ball more than most, never straying from the path she carved herself in 2002.
Over the last two years, the business – which includes high-end label Damaris and the more affordable Mimi Holliday – has been growing by 89% season-on-season, an impressive feat, particularly in a recession. For spring 09, Damaris collaborated with designer Roksanda Illincic on a limited edition collection in just seven stores, including indie Apartment C in London. Evans is also in talks to collaborate with illustrator Daisy de Villeneuve and has plans to open a flagship store in London that would carry both brands as well as the new Mimi Holliday swimwear range, which launched for spring 10. She also plans to open a store in the US over the next few years.
“I think the most important lesson I have learnt is letting the brand grow naturally,” says Evans. “If the country hits a recession again, I would suggest employing more staff. I did so and sales have almost doubled through the recession. Most importantly, I’d make sure there is no room for mistakes – when in a tricky and unstable market any excuse to cancel orders begins.”
Evans adds: “I love all the new labels coming into the market – it keeps me on my toes design-wise – but having our design rights constantly infringed has been one of the low points.”
2010 Launches Mimi Holliday swimwear
2009 Collaborates with designer Roksanda Illincic
Launches Mimi Holliday
2002 Launches Damaris
Fashion Print Design, Central St Martins, London
Neil Corrie, co-founder, 2Squared, shareholder, Elusive Distribution, consultant, Asos
Neil Corrie has left no stone unturned and is one of the most ambitious and diverse entrepreneurs of his generation. Since becoming sportswear buyer for JD Sports’ footwear fascia Size? seven years ago, Corrie was promoted to buying and retail director for JD’s fashion division, before buying into independent footwear retailer Ran, building it to a three-store business. He then co-founded footwear sales agency 2Squared with Martyn Harrison – brands include Cruyff, Fly London, Redwing and Havaianas – co-founded agency Elusive Distribution and embarked on a consultancy buying role for Asos’s online trainer store Crooked Tongues.
“A definite high for me was being recognised and promoted at JD to the newly appointed position of buying director for fashion, having spent years there and loving the job and company, but a low for me was then becoming disillusioned at corporate life and buying.But being back at the forefront of fashion retailing again with Asos has given me a real buzz,” says Corrie, who advises those looking to follow in his footsteps to “aim high, set yourself goals and don’t let people stop you from achieving them.”
Corrie is a firm believer in keeping his options open and warns against “crossing” people. “The reality is that our trade is actually quite small.”
Corrie had always dreamed of being his won boss – and he is across many of his ventures – and sees himself living abroad over the next seven years. “I want to maintain my business interests here in the UK, [but I also] want my kids to experience an overseas lifestyle.”
2009 Consultant, Asos/Crooked Tongues
2008 Co-founds 2Squared and Elusive Distribution
2004 Joins Ran
2003 Promoted to buying director
1995 Joins JD Sports
James Thomas, creative VM consultant
James Thomas first caught Drapers’ attention when he was poached from Selfridges by Topman as creative visual merchandising manager seven years ago, and where he stayed for five and a half years. “The great thing about that time was that it was a blank canvas. Within six months I had moved into head office at Topman and the product developed so much within this time - in support of this I worked closely with the different teams to create a great visual experience,” says Thomas. “It was a very creative and experimental time for Topman’s visual statement and I’m proud to have been a key player in the delivery of this.”
He has since carved a neat VM career for himself, with roles at Oasis, before going down the consultancy route.”I wanted to see what it was like working with different brands, suppliers and design consultancies and broaden my experience. Selling and negotiating yourself as a ‘commodity’ is a different experience and to understand and know what you’re good at and not so good at is so important,” he adds. “I have been able to work with very different brands from Gap to Aubin and Wills.”
But Thomas says the recession has hit his sector hard. “Marketers in this climate find themselves with smaller budgets, smaller teams and less opportunities. In tough times when you want your store to look the best, with the best windows and a clear commercial shopping path, this is the time to refocus your visuals and not deplete them,” he explains. “I’m always learning how to adapt the art of VM for different brands and in differing retail environments. Listen, learn, be adaptable, creative and sometimes go with your gut instincts.”
The culmination to date of so much commercial success finds Thomas with a new role at Urban Outfitters as XXX.
“I am really looking forward to starting my new career at Urban Outfitters, looking at the brands’ store experience. I am at my best when visualizing and creating retail spaces and hope that I shall develop and continue to learn in this field,” says Thomas.
2010 Urban Outfitters
2008 Creative VM consultant
2007 VM creative manager, Oasis
2002 Senior creative visual manager, Topman
1999 Marketing co-ordinator, Selfridges
1998 Retail supervisor, Paul Smith
1994 BA Hons, Graphic Design, Nottingham Trent University
Olivia Morris, designer
The queen of collaborations, footwear designer Olivia Morris has been busy since graduating in 2006 from London’s Cordwainers College, and can boast an impressive list of tie-ups from the likes of Matthew Williamson, Erdem and Temperly London to high street retailers Topshop and Faith.
For autumn 09 Morris collaborated with English master brogue-makers Grenson on a brogue collection that has been re-worked for women by using heart-shaped cut outs. It is available exclusively at London indie Dover Street Market. She also collaborated with Temperly London for the same season.
2009 Collaborates with Temperley London and Grenson
2005 Collaborates with Matthew Williamson
2001 Collaborates with Preen
2000 Launches Olivia Morris label
1996 Graduates from Cordwainers College, London
Back in 2003 when Drapers picked out Stuart Vevers as a one to watch, the boy wonder had already launched his own line and consulted for Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Bottega Veneta and Luella.
Since then, he has joined the big fashion houses on a permanent basis – and with aplomb. He turned Mulberry handbags into an accessory must-have for celebrities and fashionistas alike, and developed Mulberry’s clothing line to turn it into a lifestyle brand.
His success did not go unnoticed, prompting Spanish luxury goods brand Loewe to persuade Vevers to move to Spain as its creative director. Lisa Montague, former chief operating office of Mulberry, who hired Vevers in 2005, left her post to join her protégé as chief executive of Loewe in 2009.
2008 Creative director, Loewe
2006 Wins BFC’s Accessory Designer of the Year
2005 Design director, Mulberry
1996 Graduates from University of Westminster