This week I have been continuing with my research on work placements.
So far I've sent CV's off to...
-Vogue Magazine; Vogue House, Hanover Square, London, W1S 1JU
-The Gucci Group; Human Resources, 4Grafton Street, London, W1S 4EF
-Vivienne Westwood; Westwood Studios, 9-15 Elche Street, London, SW11 4AU
-Alexander McQueen; 10 Amwell Street, London, EC1R 1UQ
-Johnathon Saunders; firstname.lastname@example.org
But I'm interested in sending off more CV's to more companies as security. Getting a good placement is really important to me so I need to make sure I get some good contacts.
Today I've been researching a few more companies to send CV's to....
-French Connection; email@example.com
-Philip Treacy; Philip Treacy London, 1Havelock Terrace, London, SW8 4AS
firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com
-Zara; 48 Warwick Street, London, W1B 5NL, 020 7851 4300.
This week I have been calling up a few of the above companies to ask if they have received my CV and just general to pester them in as un-annoying a way as possible. However, whilst all companies were only too kind to inform me that they had received my CV, they all also said that it takes them 2 months to catch up going through them all and so I shouldn't expect to hear from them until at least after Christmas. Whilst this is mildly frustrating, I can see their problem, and it does give me the advantage of an extra month or two to get my portfolio together and up to scratch ready for (hopefully) and interview or two in January.
Over the last few weeks I've been trying to organise the placement, and although I've had almost no success with the large fashion companies, I have heard back from a Milliner who works in Harrogate and has her own company. She also went to the college, and my school, so she's been really keen to offer me a placement as she knows I'll be dedicated and motivated!
I'm going to go over to Harrogate to meet her, and take my portfolio to show her the kind of work I do. I hadn't really thought about doing Millinery, but I really enjoyed the elective, and I'm doing it again this year so its definitely become an option I'd consider.
I've been over to meet the Milliner and she was fantastic! I really enjoyed the experience, and it would great to see how she works, and the kind of products she makes. All her hats are really beautiful, and she told me that if I want to do a placement there, I would be her assistant and could be involved in all aspects of her company, which would be a really great experience and something I could really learn from. She told me to have a think about it, but unless I hear anything else, I'm really eager to accept her placement.
This week I have been luckily enough to receive a phone call from House of Fraser to whom I sent an email last week. The have offered me a placement in the Linea womenswear department of their London head office, which is a private label for the company. Although I do really like idea of completing a millinery placement, I just can't give up on this chance! I have rung Jennifer at Adorn and explained the situations and she says she totally understands and is prepared for me to do the placement later in the summer. I just need to find accommodation in London now!
Working in London; a taste of Industry
Day 1- Monday 27th April 2009 Today was my first day at H of F and it was exhausting! I arrived early at head office which is situated on Baker Street. I'm living near Brick lane, and it takes me about 45 mins to get to work which isn't too bad!
As I arrived I signed in with reception and Caroline, the assistant buyer of Linea came down to meet me and gave me a tour of the building. The office is enormous and open plan with a kitchen, toilets and a photocopying/printer area for each department.
After the tour, Caroline started me on some postal orders and photocopying. I know that they can only give me the simple jobs, as they can't give me the important jobs unless I make a mistake. Hopefully as I prove myself, the jobs will become more interesting.
In the afternoon I was invited to sit in on a fitting session where a buyer, designer and atelier from each department take the garments sent to them by the manufacturer and fit them on a perfect size 12 model. Alterations are made accordingly and sent back to the manufacturer for the changes to be made. All in all, four versions of each garment are sent before approval; first garment, blue seal, silver seal, gold seal, and finally approved garments are sent into store. During fitting sessions, garments from across the board, aka, gold seals, and blue seals are fitted in the same session. Although the Linea garments aren't really my style (they're aimed at women aged 40-55) I can now appreciate all the work that goes into to producing a garment for industry.
Day 2- Tuesday 28th April 2009 This morning I was sent to John Lewis to buy coloured embroidery threads. I then had to separate them into the specific colours for each seasonal colour boards, cut them up and staple a sample of the colours onto sheets. The idea is, a sheet such as this with the colours for the season on, are sent to the manufacturers who send back 'lab dips' which are pieces of fabric dyed to the specific shades. A manufacturer for a particular garment is chosen based on their ability to match the colours as well as their history- such as if they are better at producing tailored garments, but do not produce knitwear.
Although this task was arduous and did in fact take all day (I had to do 80 sheets with 10 colours on each!!), I did learn a great deal about the process of finding a manufacturer and I did the job well, hence am proving to Caroline and the rest of the department that I am capable.
Day 3-Wednesday 29th April 2009 This morning I have been working on some collection and mood boards for the Linea spring/summer 2010 collection. Caroline says that they don't usually let interns do jobs like this but that I am a neat worker and so they'll let me give it a try. I really enjoyed doing this, it filled a fair bit of time and I worked hard to make them super neat! Caroline loves them and says they're going to have to get me back just to make up boards for them!
In the afternoon, I went to Oxford Street with the buying assistant Louise to check out the competition. Linea consider their competitors to me Marks and Spencer's, Hobbs, LK Bennett and Banana Republic. Personally, I think they're being a bit unrealistic, and based on the garments I've seen and the prices, I would imagine that the Linea lady is also likely to shop in Marks and Spencer, Great Plains, Planet, Zara and perhaps even H & M!
Day 4- Thursday 30th April 2009 This morning I worked on mood boards again, and also sent some garments back to manufacturers.
In the afternoon Louise and I went to Westfield shopping centre in Shepherds bush where there is a House of Fraser that is suffering greatly in the recession. The Linea line in particular is struggling, and so we headed off to see if there was anything we could do to improve merchandising, add offers and check out the quantity of stock.
The Linea department looked good, but the staff informed us that the problem they're having is that they have far too much stock and that garments of the same line or collection are being sent so far apart that people can't buy a whole matching outfit, as they might otherwise do. With this thought in mind, Louise and I returned to head office to let the distribution team aware of the problem. Hopefully this will help!
Day 5- Friday 1st May 2009 This morning I was sent to organise some wooden hangers in the press office at the oxford street store. Anne in the press office is pregnant and can't lift the heavy boxes or bend a great deal so I went over the pick up 40 top hangers and 15 bottom hangers for a press event. Caroline told me to leave them there and a courier would pick them up but the head office is only 10 minutes walk down the road and I was heading back there anyway so I took them with me, which made me very popular in the Linea office!
This afternoon, I have been sitting in on an Untold fitting session. Untold are another H of F private label and their garments are very similar to those at Coast. I found it really interesting sitting in on a fitting with a different label as the quality, styles and approaches to fitting are very different!
Day 6- Monday 4th May 2009 Today was a bank holiday and Caroline told me to take the day off and so I enjoyed a trip to the V and A to check out the Stephen Jones millinery exhibition. I loved the collection, and thought it was so nice to be able to pop over to the museum with so little difficulty. Being in London definitely has its perks when it comes to doing things at the weekend that I would never normally be able to do.
Day 7- Tuesday 5th May 2009 This morning I had the exciting job of steaming several rails of clothes a presentation Linea had with their head of floor in the afternoon. I have to say, I do feel that this job was tedious, but I did it with a smile on my face to try and show Caroline that I was prepared to work hard and get involved in all areas of industry.
In the afternoon I have been putting together some more mood boards as a reward for steaming well! I also sat in on another fitting session for Linea.
Day 8- Wednesday 6th May 2009 Today I have had the opportunity to help Anne out in the press office in the Oxford St store. I have had such a great day!! Anne has been lovely and really needed me which was great. Together we organised stories (a magazine/tv programme sends us an email with a list of garments they want, for example, they may want strapless summer dresses, print only, in a size 10). Anne and I then go down to the shop floor and pick out a maximum of 8 items to send to the company. We try and pick out private H of F labels first as its important to promote these first. Afterwards, we take down the details of the garments, taking them off stock and adding them to a spreadsheet to show which magazine has what. We then pack up the items and and add a sheet of the garment details to the bag requesting that the magazine send us the items back within a week (although this rarely happens!) Finally, the bags get taken down to reception to be picked up either by PR in motion or a courier. Another important job is unpacking returned bags of items from press and putting them back on the stock sheets and back on the shop floor.
All in all, its a never ending job, and very admin based, but I did enjoy picking out garments and I had good fun with Anne!
Day 9-Thursday 7th May 2009 Today Louise and I organised the fitting rail, adding garments sent in my manufacturers ready to be fitted, we then sent off some post and got everything ready for a fittin in the afternoon.
In the afternoon, Louise and I went to the Oxford St store to check the Linea display and organise the new display for the new collection of Linea hats that have arrived from millinery Nigel Rayment.
Day 10- Friday 8th May 2009 Today, Anne asked if I would return to the press office and give her a hand again. It was another great day, hard work but good fun and Anne has asked me to return again on Monday as she says there is someone coming on that she thinks I would like to meet! I am very curious and more than happy to take her up on her offer if Louise agrees!
Day 11- Monday 11th May 2009 I've had a really exciting day today and had the chance to meet Gok Wan and Ben Shepherd who were filming Gok's Fashion Fix in the mensewear floor of the Oxford Street H of F. Both of them were very friendly and amusing and I was greatful to Anne to have to chance to meet a celeb! In the afternoon, Anne and I organised to office as it had gotten rather chaotic during Gok's visit. Hopefully I'll have to chance to help Anne again as she's been really kind and helpful.
Day 12- Tuesday 12th May 2009 Today I organised the spring/summer 2010 Linea Hats collection into 'trans' boxes and categories. I had to check the labels on each hat, mark them off on the stock sheets, take a photo and then add them to the appropriate box. Although it wasn't the most facinating job, I did enjoy doing it as I feel it was a constructive job and I could see the result at the end of the day!
Day 13- Wednesday 13th May 2009 Today, I was sent upstairs to the flat where the press items for the autumn/winter 2009/2010 press show is to take place next week. I spend most of the day hand sewing in Linea labels which was very boring! However, my hand sewing has improved greatly, and it was great to see the press show coming together and watching the displays take shape.
Day 14- Thursday 14th May 2009 This morning, the office was filled with panic as there had been a small flood in the night and the computer server had been damaged which meant that all the computers and phones were down! This caused a small amount of chaos as it is essential to keep in contact with suppliers and manufacturers. To fill some time, I went to Westfield again with the distribution team to check out competitors, special offers and stock.
In the afternoon, I was sent to get a dress altered for the press show which cost them £40! It amazes me that in an office full of people dedicating their life to fashion, not one of them can actually sew or use a sewing machine. They don't even have a machine on hand. If they hand, I could have easily made the alteration at no cost!
Day 15- Friday 15th May 2009 Today was my final day in the office, and although I'm exhausted and ready to go back to Leeds which seems calm in comparisson with London, I do feel sad that I'm having to leave as I do now have a taste for Industry and independance.
Today I typed up and added the swing tags to all the Linea and Linea Weekend garments for the press event. I also had the chance to sit in on my final fitting session which was great.
In the afternoon, Louise got an email from Anne asking if I would stay and take on the role of a press officer! I was very flatered, and also very tempted, but knew that in fact it would be a waste not to finish my degree after all my hard work. Hopefully, the job will still be on offer next year after I have graduated!
All in all, I've had a good experience here. The jobs havn't always been very exciting, but I expected that and I do feel that I have learn't a great deal about Industry and how it works. As to choosing a job, if anything, this placement has put me off wanting to be a buyer as it is all so admin based and I feel that I would feel very deprived of creative work! However, I am now interested in working in a press office, and I also like the idea of being a designer within a company such as H of F.