Last week I was lucky enough to score a ticket to the annual Drapers Record Next Generation Academy Event. Now in its third year, the idea behind Next Generation is to host a day of networking for young professionals working in the fashion industry in either their first, second or third job. The day was also structured with inspirational talks and peppered with Q&A sessions with some of the industry’s heavy weights, from the CEO of ASOS, to the managing director of Topman, via Harold Tillman, chairman of the British Fashion Council all being grilled as to how they got where they are today.
Whilst being highly inspirational and informative, I have to say, the whole day also opened up my eyes to how other sectors of the fashion industry works. I mean, coming from a design background I have never truly understood the extent of the role that, lets say, the head buyer for Oasis has to fulfill. Or even how you would go about getting there. Overall, however, I found the interview with Nick Robertson, founder of ASOS, the more interesting part of the day. Being a fan of ASOS from the beginning, it was intriguing to here Nick speak about how the company went from being a site built on reproducing ‘celebrity style’ (As Seen On Screen, get it?) to becoming one of the most ground breaking and profitable companies in the UK, and to hear about ASOS’s future plans at global domination (oh yeah, ASOS Australia is now a reality!). As well as this, David Shepherd, managing director at Topman, gave the event’s key note speech, and I was shocked to hear that only 10 years ago or so, Topman was in the throes of shutting up. Who would have thought that now? And that at present, Topshop cannot open a store in Norway as someone else holds the rights to the name? The main underlying theme of the day, however, and which resonated from everyone involved, was that without hard graft and determination, it is impossible to get to the top of the pile. And who is to argue with Harold Tillman and co?! I will most definitely be vying for a ticket again next year!