The life of a fashion designer...

The life of a fashion designer is often surreal. Mainly because of the calendars we have to follow. Most of the industry is constantly working 12-18 months ahead. Try imagining and attempting to predict what the rest of the world will want to wear in summer the following year wrapped in layers of Alpaca sipping a hot chocolate. It can be challenging even for the most imaginative who are at least immersed in only one collection at a time.

For those of us who design, produce, sell, market and try to build a brand, we must feel comfortable flitting between at least 3 seasons minute to minute day to day. The season we are selling and wearing now, the season that is going live imminently and the following that needs to be created including committing to the raw materials many months in advance (which of course involves looking back at many previous seasons to remind us of those all important patterns of activity).
If someone were to ask me which part of my education helps me the most in this creative life that I have found for myself, I would have to say it is my maths degree! If I wasn't comfortable with numbers and tables I don't know how I would do half of my job, which involves constant analysis. Tables of sales that confirm my own feel for what appealed to customers most the season before. Tables of yarn stock leftover showing which colours need to be topped up, added to the range or dropped.
Tables of stock here and now across the pond to see on which continent we have sold out of our signature pieces that we carry year to year….
Larger companies have software to work all this out, but when you have a company like mine, even if we could afford to have specialised software designed to work our unique way of analysing our figures, it is only our human thought processes that truly incorporate the mood of our followers and their own unique trends and needs.

People think my days consist of glorious, endlessly creative tasks, finding inspiration and creating visions of our next pieces but these past few weeks have been filled with excel tables and mental arithmetic that continue into my dreams. Thankfully I do get pleasure from working with numbers, finding the patterns and seeing the order tables come together and start to make sense, I get pleasure from many parts of this business. All I need now is a spare brain to slot in when mine gets too full (I hope scientists are working on that one!). I must admit though that there is a particular satisfaction from the completed table and finally creating some headspace for the next task at hand. This week that means flying to Lima and finally doing some of those dreamy creative tasks of making those visions of new pieces come to life....

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