Delivery Day – Hayleigh Amos
From an early age, I have always had a passion for fashion and anything creative so it was no surprise to anyone when leaving school that I went straight to Art College. While studying at Camberwell College of Arts, I discovered talents for printed textiles so I went on to obtain a HND in Printed Textiles at the University of Wales.
At the end of our year I took part in the New Designers exhibition at the Business Design Centre where I was approached by a Design studio to become a freelance designer. The money was not regular so I decided to return to education and obtained a degree in Fashion/Textiles Degree at the University of the West of England.
Following my degree, maxed out overdraft and several student loans later, I moved back to London in the hope of securing some sort of design work, but as many so graduates discover the competition was fierce for so few jobs and freelancing had no appeal, so I decided to give retailing a shot. Though I loved interacting with the customers and really enjoyed merchandising, the financial rewards were limited.
It was through Fashion Works (BSO) that I gained my first role as a PA/Showroom Assistant in a small fashion company that designed and manufactured leather garments in the UK. Whilst there I worked closely with Alison Lewy and I met David Jones who was a Business Advisor to the company who encouraged me to attend a Fashion Management Course at the Portobello Centre. My experience there taught the fundamentals of running a small company and I developed a keen interest in the business side of fashion. As the company relocated a couple of years later, I was unable to stay.
After various temping roles and travels abroad, I was then fortunate to gain a position as a Secretariat at the London Fashion Forum (LFF). It was here that I found my feet and to be part of an organization that offered support to small fashion/design business through so many exciting projects and initiatives was truly rewarding.
In March 2006 the funding ceased and it was sad to say goodbye to company that we had all given more than 100%, so when Jenny Holloway, Project Manager of LFF announced that she wanted to continue our work independently; I leapt at the chance to become part of it.
From Secretariat to Boutique Manager at Enter Boutique in Croydon, I took to the role like a duck to water. The boutique opened it doors on 1st April 2006 and not only have I been able to continue working with the designers from the LFF, new designers have come on board plus, I have been able to put my creative talents to use through merchandising, window displays and promotional material for the company.
We are there not to just bring something new and exciting to todayâ€™s consumer, but to also help designers stay in business and to become recognized on the high street. I work closely with designers and advice what customers are looking for and how their collections can be more commercial.
From my experience, I able to advise the importance of building a collection, supplying a boutique and of course the legal requirements. It is very competitive industry and to succeed in this business creativity and talent alone may not enough, you need to develop a business sense and grow a very thick skin.
As well as working with existing designers and designers starting our in business, we also work with a range of schools, colleges and youth projects via workshops and competitions. The individuals that take part are able to experience first hand the whole design process from start to finish and the realities of working in the fashion industry, something they may not have been able to experience without this project. It has now given them something to strive for in life and the belief that they can succeed.
For me personally its working with the young I find most rewarding as teenagers in general are growing up in a very difficult era which makes it so much more rewarding to see their hard work and creativity materialize into such a successful outcome. And whose to say that may be we have discovered the next Alexander McQueen!