As I am writing this post I am cradling a green tea absolutely exhausted. Today has been amazing, I might be feeling low now, but I was on an all mighty high at 11am this morning, running off weetabix until gone 5pm. Back in April when us lucky Northern bloggers attended FABB events, Sandra Tang came along to give us a talk about NFW (get with the programme guys, Newcastle Fashion Week) and to kick it off to keep things local we were each given a ticket for free for Saturday and Sunday. (Unfortunately I won’t be able to make tomorrow due to a little thang called university, bane of my life right now) But anyway, I woke up this morning full of excitement at the special guest panel lined up for us, and away I went with my notebook, pen and camera… the essentials! Before I kick off with all the juicy goss, here is what I wore…
I adore this pleated skirt and I think this is one of its first outings in Newcastle, this is probably due to the wind as the material is quite flimsy, I had one or two Marylin Monroe moments today but walked away with my head held high. As soon as I put this skirt on I am immediately transported back to my school girl days but this time I am allowed it a few inches above the knee…
I’m not the best at accessorising so today I really did try, I don’t know whether I epically failed or got it just right? You be the judge… As for the nails I know I got them right as Caryn Franklin had the exact same colour on ;)
I bought these boots back in December I think it was, maybe even earlier, and they have become my staple wardrobe item, so much so that I have had to get them reheeled!
Anyway enough about little old me, onto who was there and who said what!?
It all started with Caryn Franklin (co-founder of All Walks Beyond the Catwalk) which you can watch here
~link. I highly recommend watching it, it was pretty interesting and gave a really good insight to not only the models job but the jobs of people like Caryn.
Once she had finished her first talk she came down into the audience and really got to talk to ‘the people’. She came over to me and a group of other Northern bloggers, who I have gotten to know through blogging events courtesy of FABB and The Body Shop. She shared a seat with one of the girls and it really made us all feel at ease and that we could ask her anything. As everyone was chatting away I took some notes, which is easier for me if I put them in bullet point form…
Tips for the Industry/Magazines from Caryn Franklin.
*Start local and gain professional experiences.
*Sharpen up on your knowledge of journalists and stylists.
*USE social media, facebook, twitter, instagram.
*Offer opinions (don’t be afraid to have an opinion) be proactive, critique the industry ~ we all have different opinions.
*Our generation has a really strong opinion that can be easily used through the use of social media.
*Contribute to a brand with your own knowledge/opinion, ask if there any events you can help with, but do this in an organic/holistic way.
*Your ‘big break’ never really comes from just a phone call or just one email. Show you are keen but not stalkerish!
*Be flexible because then you are indispensable.
*When you get rejected or you don’t hear back from a company/person it is not personal rejection, always remember this.
*Don’t be afraid to move in a direction you didn’t expect you would. (Caryn did so herself)
*Ultimately if it is what you really want you WILL make it happen.
(Picture on the left taken from the Newcastle Fashion Week Facebook Page)
I quickly had the chance to ask Caryn on her outfit…
*White Shirt ~ Ralph Lauren (from an outlet store)
*Shoes ~ Georgina Goodman (vintage)
*Waistcoat ~ John Richmond (vintage) (she actually went to college with him!)
*Head Scarf ~ Oxfam
She also let me know that she was actually wearing thermal leggings, ‘because you know, well it is Newcastle’ :)
After her little talk with us bloggers, I shimmied over to the French Oven stall got myself a brownie and green tea and waited for the next series of talks. Which was a panel of very strong, empowering and inspirational women. Which included: Samantha Bennett who works with vintage clothing at ASOS Marketplace. Vita Taylor who is the Head Merchandiser for Motel Clothing. Louise Wedderburn aka The Human Mannequin, you will have probably seen her documentary on channel four but also famous for her cooking blog. Victoria White Editor of Company Magazine. and finally Caryn Franklin who was host.
Caryn asked the first few set of questions but then allowed questions from the audience, I was too busy writing away to ask/think of any questions, but I got some good stuff down for you guys! This really gave bloggers and people starting their own businesses to get a glimpse of the particular industry and how tough and un-glam it really can be.
1: What does Fashion mean to you?
Louise: It distracts people from whats underneath, I use it as an armour.
Samantha: One of those things people do care about, it also brings people together as they can relate to it, it is like an ice breaker.
Vita: You can build your personality around trends and fashion, express yourself through it.
Victoria: Building on what Samantha said, it is something you can choose to be a part of.
2: What was your way into Fashion?
Victoria: I started out as a soap opera writer, so I am actually really a writer. But it is important to be good at something and take it with you into the fashion industry. I studied American Studies at university, absolutely nothing to do with Fashion.
Vita: Well I am actually bad at maths although as a buyer I shouldn’t really say that. I am a really organised person and it was kind of a natural progression from that. I did a few buying modules at university.
Samantha: I knew I liked Fashion I started out working in a shop but it wasn’t really for me, so I went into temping and absolutely loved it. I actually started out temping at ASOS. Make sure you stand out and once you have your foot in the door stay and make yourself wanted.
3: What about the reputation the Fashion Industry has?
Samantha: Not as glam as people think, I very rarely get to wear heels, that would be impractical with all the running around I have to do, and it definitely isn’t like ‘The Devil Wears Prada’.
Victoria: You get to travel which is absolutely amazing, you meet celebrities it is fun, but also hard work. You need to be able to sit in an office and not think this is boring.
4: How does your industry work?
Vita: Our production is in Bali, we have a range of ideas and come together with a plan for the season, have a look at the latest trends, then the clothes go through sample 1, we get them back try and cut down costs with fabric for example it then comes back for sample 2. The timescale is fast with fast fashion (on trend) being 3 weeks and replenishment being 8 weeks, allowing us to change what is in our concessions stands in Topshop every week, which gives us a chance to see what is selling.
Victoria: The print edition of Company is 2 months ahead. (Victoria is shooting January’s cover next week!) The website is updated daily and the app weekly. We also have a bi-annual magazine which we work on all year around. My job now is completely different to what it was two years ago due to the rise in social media and blogging. We now have an instant response from people via twitter for example to see if you like something or not, rather than putting together a focus group which is so unnatural.
Samantha: Social networking allows us to talk to customers, it makes us not so out of reach.
5: How have blogs changed fashion and how do they continue to?
Louise: It allows the clothes to be put in an everyday situation rather than on a glossy magazine and models. The clothes become more accessible.
Vita: We now have bloggers on the front page of Motel rather than a model, again accessibility.
Victoria: Blogging is an inspiration at Company, clothes on real girls, and also the language is more causal.
Samantha: It has changed it incredibly allowing clothes to be more accessible and at the end of the day we wear things that we are comfortable with.
6: What degrees did you do?
Louise: I didn’t do any, education is not for me. I am more hands on.
Victoria: I did American Studies, I would never have not gone to university it really broadens the horizon.
Vita: I did Fashion Marketing it was helpful and provided me with hands on skills.
Samantha: I did graphic design and illustration, it was the wrong degree for me, not hugely beneficial to what I am doing now. But I would have been gutted if I had dropped out and not finished.
Samantha: Check who your university partners with is really important, as we work with four universities and pick from them. Other than that be direct when applying, tap into any contacts you have. Also try and get your personality across on paper, we read over 500 CVs sometimes standing out is key. Be specific in your cover letter.
Vita: It is important to know what you actually want to do, and really stand out at it.
Victoria: Be informed, the internet is a great resource you can find out so much information about the company you want to work for. I can’t make you brilliant and I can’t make you stand out, that is something you need to do and be. I don’t want to know about your Saturday jobs growing up I want to know why you want to work for me, be interesting.
Today has been a HUGE eye opener for me, it was amazing to hear about each of their jobs and lives. How hard the industry can be. But also all the useful tips I am sharing with you today. I really hope you have enjoyed reading this blog post, I have certainly enjoyed writing it and I hope you lovely bloggers find it beneficial I know I have.
Lots of Love Daisy xoxo