As I write this, the international fashion weeks are in full swing with London complete and Milan just kicking off. It's a great part of the seasonal calendar and I'm an avid spectator, eager to see what direction key designers are taking, what styling tricks are on the agenda and the colour palettes showing. And I know I'm not alone. The world goes crazy for this most fabulous of fashion circuses with the Press giving their view on what consumers can expect next season before most of them have even started splurging on the current one. It's this oddity - these seemingly out-of-sync fashion timelines - which got me thinking, because beneath all the gloss and glamour, there are real businesses working behind the cameras and mastering their own juggling acts. If you think two seasons are tricky, try doubling it! So, in my role as Creative Director this is an insight into a normal day.
Online, we launched the current SS14 season in the second week of February. This consists of four different collections which from now until the end of spring means four different 'unveilings' all supported by four full-production photo shoots. This activity works alongside new weekly content and a total of seven magazines created in house and sent direct to customers. So today my to-do list includes the finalising of details for the fourth and final shoot followed by a meeting with my editorial and creative teams to oversee the third and fourth magazines which go to press imminently.
While this is all ticking on, I'm also looking forward to AW14. The collection itself is already on the verge of completion and supporting campaign ideas are being debated. One of my main jobs is to ensure we remain true to the brand while continuing to evolve it. The choice of a model, location and styling are integral to the success of the season - in many ways, how we present the clothes to the customer is as important as the clothes themselves - but it can be tricky to 'think winter' when summer still hasn't taken place. Regular meetings with the production and design team keep things on track and today this involves a discussion around knitwear.
Next up is next spring because SS15 waits for no man! Working on the brief for the design team is hugely important. It includes my thoughts and inspiration for colour palettes, fabric groups and key shapes and once this is done, they can start their creative process in earnest. It's impossible to do this without visuals so I spend a lot of time collating images, browsing sites, magazines, books, everything really. Needless to say I'm obsessed with Pinterest and can 'lose' hours creating new mood boards. It's inevitable that a chunk of today (most days in fact) is spent doing this, though you'll hear no complaints from me. Addictive maybe, but I like to think of it as a healthy weakness.
So that's three seasons down and one to go. Once this spring, next spring and the sandwiched autumn season in the middle have been looked at, I'm just left with the retrospective of AW13. Selling through remaining stock from the previous season in our new Outlet department is a great way to ensure customers can find a bargain whenever they visit the site. In the office, this means a meeting with the merchandisers and marketing team.
So it's not two, but four seasons in one day. That's the fashion reality, the fashion roller coaster if you like, and it's a pretty amazing ride.