A new research study finds that many executives in fashion and luxury, like their peers in other industries, are very concerned about securing talented professionals.
The closest subject I learnt to fashion design was needlework and art in secondary school. I was more creative but had to study subjects that I had no interest in because the school curriculum was not thought out properly, it had too many creative subjects in one column. My careers adviser had no idea what a fashion designer was or did (can you believe that) she kept saying aah! So you want to go to college to learn how to sew clothes, I gave up on her there and then.
One day my art teacher caught me drawing clothes in my textbooks, both my art and needlework teachers steered me in the right direction, gave me extra homework and was thrilled when I gained a place at London College of Fashion, this was my one and only interview for a college placement. In my needlework lessons, we worked by hand and machine to create small creative projects, we didn’t sew clothes but none the same I loved the subject and the lesson, maybe because I was already sewing and making clothes on an industrial machine at home with my mum who was a seamstress. I looked forward to my art and needlework lessons every week. Over the years needlework drifted and was no longer on the school curriculum, art was drawing still life (fruits and furniture mainly), shading and angles.
Recruiting challenges exist across the spectrum of roles in fashion and luxury. The joint study confirms that most luxury and fashion companies surveyed are struggling to find great talent and that the most difficult jobs to fill are in design and product areas, followed closely by digital and technology roles.
Recruiting challenges exist across the spectrum of roles in fashion and luxury. The joint study confirms that most luxury and fashion companies surveyed are struggling to find great talent and that the most difficult jobs to fill are in design and product areas, followed closely by digital and technology roles. More than half of luxury and fashion firms have difficulty in attracting brand directors and 35 percent struggle to find accessories designers. Technical design is another area found wanting: 42 percent of those surveyed say pattern makers are in very short supply.
KEY RECOMMENDATIONS: What needs to be done differently?
1. Invest in an employer brand
2. Consider strategic workforce planning
3. Reinforce the use of digital and social media to source the best candidates
4. Get to know the schools (personally)
5. Focus on identifying and building tomorrow’s leaders
via The Business of Fashion
The problem starts with the industry and the educational institutions are they both need to collaborate and discuss what young learners need to be learning in order to take their next step into further, higher education and the fashion industry. I’m collaborating with schools and teaching young learners what’s required in art colleges, universities and the fashion industry. Student graduation collection (left)
I’ve been collaborating with fashion designers to create catwalk collections for fashion weeks for many seasons now. We often have interns join us for 3 – 8 months helping and assisting around the design studio and in particularly the build-up to fashion weeks. Usually, one or two interns are assigned to work with a pattern cutter to assist and learn the skills of the trade. Most fashion students want to be the next Alexander McQueen or Stella McCartney, pattern cutting as a career is not emphasised enough especially in schools. So many students graduate each year and can’t find a designing job because they are fewer than positions for pattern makers.
The internet has made the fashion industry more transparent, thirty years ago the public was unaware of what designer collections looked like, not unless it was seen in the newspapers. Now with designers creating six or more collections a year, they need a team of strong creative pattern makers who are multi-skilled.