When it came to finding a fashion expert, while I like to think I know my designers, for me, one man came to mind. Jack Reid, a friend and fashion confidante, he is the first to know which trends to avoid and which to delve into your overdraft for. For years he has been an advocate of less is more, understated not over the top and quality not quantity when it comes to the high street. Online Fashion Assistant for Harrods, he is someone who, though only at the start of his career, has already been there, done that and worn the Prada T-shirt. These days, the fashion industry is notoriously hard to break into, so finding an expert with current experience was a must. As I caught up with Jack between shoots he was more than happy to reflect on his first steps and share advice with those on the initial rungs of the fashion ladder.
Can you tell me a bit about your background and how you came to work at Harrods?
I studied Art and Design at A Level and then went on to study Creative Direction for Fashion at University of the Arts London. Throughout my time studying I interned with freelance specialists and larger fashion organisations to try and get an understanding on what area I wanted to build a career in. I came to work for Harrods originally on a freelance basis as a mutual friend of mine and the Online Fashion Editor put me forward for the role. The workload increased over time and this led to my role as Online Fashion Assistant turning into a permanent position.
The fashion industry is notoriously hard to get into, what are your top tips for getting your foot in the door?
Work hard, be dedicated and don’t moan. Working for free is almost inevitable when trying to start off in this industry. It’s extremely hard work and testing at times but you learn a great deal without even realising it. It is really important to utilise every opportunity you get working as an intern as you are given first-hand experience to better yourself professionally. I would definitely say talking to people, putting yourself out there, keeping your eyes open and taking everything in is my best advice.
When did you first discover you were interested in fashion?
I think to some extent I have always been interested. I have always been more creative than academic so I kind of just fell into it. My sister has always been massively into fashion so I think the interest probably stemmed from there.
Which designers/brands would you say are ones to watch in the next year?
Tough question, I think Jil Sander is definitely one to keep an eye out for – especially after Rodolfo Paglialunga’s first season (SS15) as Creative Director, it will be interesting to see what he does to progress the brand especially after his work with Prada and Vionnet. Personally I always keep check on The Row, Prada & Celine, but that’s just my individual taste.
What’s your top styling tip?
Personally, if am dressing myself I would say keep it simple and choose what suits you. If it is for a shoot I would almost say the opposite, experiment with texture and fit and optimise the powers of layering.
What, in your opinion, has been the worst trend of the last decade?
The worst trend of the decade has to be the wedged trainer. If it’s a wedge you want, wear a wedge. Or if it’s a trainer you want wear a trainer, there is no need to combine the two.
Do you get a lot of perks doing your job? What do you enjoy the most?
I haven’t been in the position very long and there have been a couple of overseas trips which of course is amazing - being able to travel with your job is great. It’s also great to see the difference that a location can make on a shoot and I would say it is definitely worth travelling to get the shots you want. I think I enjoy the people I work with the most, having fun makes your job so much easier and can also enable you to be more creative, which of course is handy in a position like this.
What is the hardest part?
I love my job so nothing seems particularly difficult as I enjoy all aspects, but keeping extremely organised can be the most challenging element.
What advice do you have for people who want to pursue a career in fashion?
Apply for internships and work experience, no matter how big the brand or how long you will do it for, getting out there and meeting people will be the most beneficial thing for your future. Work hard and enjoy yourself and people will acknowledge you.
I know you’re just starting out, but where do you see your career going?
If you had asked me this question two years ago I would have never have guessed I would be doing what I am now, so I think that question is a difficult one. I’m going to keep working hard and making the most of every opportunity so who knows, ask me again in five years and I will keep you updated.
I certainly will!
If you dream in designers, choose shoes over holidays and know your postman personally from the amount of online shopping parcels he brings, why not take a fashion course and learn the tricks of the trade? Who knows, one day you could be watching your own designs strut down the catwalk.