Case study

Designer — Robert Freeman

Robert believes that to become a fashion designer you need an understanding of the product you're designing as well as commercial awareness

How did you get your job?

I got my job at Farah after gaining a fashion with marketing degree at Northumbria University. The course involved a placement year, which I spent working with designer Nigel Cabourn - himself a Northumbria graduate with a passion for vintage-inspired clothing design.

Past job roles also gave me an insight into the fashion world that I found invaluable.

What skills do you need for the job?

You need a good understanding of the product that you're designing, but also good commercial awareness.

You also need an understanding of the industry you are designing for; what customers want, what competitor brands are offering, as well as a general insight into the wider environment of that industry.

What are your main work activities?

My days are really varied, from having meetings where we discuss our clothing collections to staying on top of fashion industry trends and the latest research.

There's aksi the more hands-on stuff like the actual colour selection process and developing the designs.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

The role has grown along with the Farah collection; there's always the need for new and interesting products. It's an ongoing process.

I want to continue to develop the range and to make it an even more successful, well-established brand.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Working with great people. Their talent ensures we create the best product possible - something that we can feel proud of.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

The job involves balancing all the different stages of development - the meetings, amends, making more changes, and so on. But it's all about positivity. Positivity is what motivates me at work. In fact, the most important lesson I've learned in my career is that being a positive person always speaks volumes about you. Oh, and that manners do help.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

I'd advise you to look into which particular part of the industry you would be best suited to, and get experience in a few of the different areas you like if possible.

If you like the idea of fabric development, for example, look at a role in product development.

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