Many people ask me how I got into fashion and it’s a rather “annoying” story of me being in “the right place at the right time”. I studied European Politics and Italian at university as I really didn’t know what I wanted to do career-wise and I thought it best to keep my options open. It was only during my 2nd year at uni that I decided I wanted to pursue a career in fashion and I didn’t know where to begin. My mother suggested that I should get some shop-floor experience and I assumed that I would be able to simply walk into a job… but this wasn’t so. I did fall on my feet eventually and worked during the summer in a fabulous designer store in Chester called Tessuti (www.tessuti.co.uk) but getting the job is actually a story in itself.
I remember the day clearly, it was a Thursday. I put on my favourite outfit and hit the streets of Chester in search of my dream job. Clutching a very short CV I went into Morgan (a trendy brand in 1998!), Kookai, Oasis and all the designer boutiques I could find. Being somewhat naïve I assumed it would be easier to get a job in a High Street shop than in a designer boutique, but it was actually only one of the latter that offered me a position in the end. After I’d had a very brief conversation with the manager of Tessuti, when I was told they did not have any positions available for summer work, something made me go back in and ask if I could possibly just have a weeks un-paid work experience. They agreed and by the time I got home, I’d had a phone call to say that my “week” would start the next day. I was so excited to have the opportunity to “get my foot in the door”!
It was my first Saturday on the shop-floor and within an hour I knew I’d found my “calling” and it was such a wonderful realisation. The school I attended was very academic and I had never really found my niche scholastically. I’d always had an interest in clothes but when I was at school, working in “fashion” meant simply working in a shop – I didn’t really know what avenues or career options there were. This was before the days of Gok and television’s love affair with fashion.
During my week, I actually managed to sell more clothes than anyone else on the floor and as a thank you I was told that I could pick out a couple of pieces from the store for myself – I spotted a D&G satin snake-skin handbag (which was a must-have!), a D&G lace knee length dress and some DKNY sunglasses. I was ecstatic. And of course one more thing… they offered me a job for the rest of the summer! At the time I had no idea that this holiday job would provide a stepping stone into a company that would influence my fashion career so much and give me invaluable experience that is still so relevant in my job as a stylist today.