Case study

Fashion designer — Emma Kenyon

Emma studied fashion design at Northumbria University and now works as a designer at fashion brand QUIZ. Find out more about her job

What qualifications do you have?

I did GCSEs and A-levels in textiles, and then moved on to an art and design course at college where I specialised in fashion. I then spent four years studying for a degree in fashion design.

Studying hard in all of your subjects opens up more opportunities in the future.

How long have you worked at QUIZ?

With a huge online presence in menswear and womenswear, several stores across the UK and entities in Spain and America, QUIZ is truly an international retailer. I've been working at the company for around five years.

How I got my job is pretty interesting. I've always respected QUIZ as a brand and how it influenced my fashion choices when I was younger, so I called the head office and told them that I would make a great addition to their team, even though there were no positions available. To secure my job I did two interviews and completed a huge presentation in front of the decision makers.

What's the first thing you do when you arrive at the office?

I check what has been selling during the week and which styles have taken off with our customers. This is really important from a design perspective, because once we know the type of items customers want; we can tailor future products to those specifications.

What do you spend most of your time doing?

My aim is to create something that people feel proud wearing, so I spend a lot of time researching new shapes and taking inspiration from luxury brands. It's important to strike a balance between affordability and the latest trends so that our customers can always have an up-to-date wardrobe at a low cost, while not compromising on the quality of our garments.

What is the best part of your job?

Every designer will say this, but the best part of the job is seeing something that you've worked on go from development to fruition in stores. I love scrolling on Instagram and seeing people wearing the dresses that I have designed on their nights out.

Where do you get your design inspiration from?

There's so much inspiration out there, but I mainly look towards trend forecasting agencies, international brands, catwalks and of course Instagram.

What makes a great fashion designer?

A key interest in the industry is essential. You'll need a lot of motivation, the ability to pick out commercial trends and knowledge of a brands customer base. Everything you design is for the customer, so you need to know them like the back of your hand.

What advice would you give to aspiring fashion designers?

Experience is vital. Reach out to companies and ask if they offer internships. Before QUIZ, I completed an internship at House of Holland in the lead up to London Fashion Week, where I learned about pattern cutting. I also worked in John Lewis’ head office as an intern, learning all about CAD design.

Take as many opportunities as you can - it will look great on your CV.

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