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How To Succeed In Fashion Today – Plymouth


Kick starting the three-hour seminar, Jenny Holloway welcomed attendees giving them an overview of Fashion Enter and FashionCapital as well as discussing the industrial garment life cycle.

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Deborah Shulton was welcomed to the stage by Jenny to share her wealth of fabric knowledge.  Having worked as a fabric technician at Marks & Spencer’s, Deborah had previously joined our team in Manchester and was keen to share her advice in Plymouth. Discussing factors to consider when choosing fabric including aesthetics, country of origin, wearability, aftercare and the feel, she explained the key factors that influence the quality of fabrics, how quality affects consumers and factors to consider when choosing fabric mills.  Ending her talk with her top 5 tips for choosing fabrics Deborah added: “ensure you know what you are getting, find out whether the fabric mill can produce what you want and when you want it, ensure the fabric is fit for purpose and ensure suitable aftercare.”

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Following on from Deborah, Gabrielle Shiner-Hilla highly skilled textile and fashion designer and product developer who has worked in the manufacturing industry for over fifteen years, offered insight into the design process and product development, highlighting key points including how to ensure that your production and sampling is right the first time and what designers need to do from an industry perspective to save money.   Gabby informed the attendees of why a tech pack is a crucial element with the design process and offered her top things to consider within pricing, “you must consider the price of fabrics, patterns and grading, samples, shipping, labels, trims and packaging before you actually get to the cost of the garment.  The way you aim to sell will also determine the overall budget you need in place and also the cost price of your garment.”

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Former brand director of Finery London Caren Downie was on hand to ensure the trunk show attendees knew exactly what buyers were looking for by sharing her top tips and experience.  Giving an overview of her career history so far, Caren informed the group that she had studied economics before becoming the buying director at Topshop “Topshop put much more effort into the product than anyone else…”.  A change in career saw her then become the fashion director at ASOS.com whilst the company was still small.  Some of her top tips included “Build up your own network, present your collection to press and get your brand in the media,” she shared before adding, “you must ensure that your message is consistent.  Make sure that your message gets drummed through and people understand it.”

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“Know who your customer is and where they shop,” were the wise words shared by Garment Technologist consultant and ex-Head of Garment Tech for Topshop, ASOS.com and Finery London, Sophie Glover.  Discussing what quality really means, Sophie shares what the industry really defines as quality within sample and garment production for brands.  “You have to make sure your fit is consistent across all products… make sure your fit is standardised… customers will keep coming back if it is.”  Focusing on sizing, Sophie advises, “if you are setting up online give your customer as much information as possible regarding sizing and fit.”

Former Group Marketing Director for Global Brand Monsoon & Accessorize Tracey Parks-Taylor followed Sophie’s advice by offering insight into her newly launched mentoring programme and masterclasses with Fashion Enter.  With the ability to share her 30-years of Fashion Marketing experience with designers and brands Tracey knows the industry in’s and out’s and is able to advise brands and designers on what they should be doing to maximise their own marketing.

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Bernadette Done from the leading national awarding organisation ABC awards, then took to the stage to discuss the importance of technical qualifications.

Finishing the successful three-hour seminar, Plymouth College of Art showcased their sampling unit.

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The team here at FashionCapital would like to say a huge thank you to our guest speakers, Plymouth College of Art, ABC Awards and Ocean Studios for their support throughout the organisation and delivery of the event.

Feedback included:

“Great advice!  Please continue to come to the South West!  I have learnt masses of information from inspirational speakers.” – Jess

“I have learnt so much really invaluable information for both myself and my students.  Really interesting and encouraging presentations.” – Esther

 ‘I just wanted to say a massive thank you for all you did to make the Trunk Show a reality yesterday. The event was a great success due to the relaxed, frank nature of the discussion and was invaluable to the attendees.’ Hannah Harris, Plymouth College of Art 

Watch this space for information on our third trunk show coming to a city near you!

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