CAD Operator, Burberry
What route did you take in to the job you are in now?
My route was traditional, I studied A-Levels and progressed on to my Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. During that time I experimented a lot with textiles and working 3 dimensionally, which I never had the opportunity to do previously. I ended up applying for fashion courses as I felt it would be a good way to combine my creative experimentation and interest in aesthetics and channel them into a craft. My portfolio was made up of 3D sculptures that I would tie or tape to models, as well as prints and performance art work, which was not typically ‘fashion’. I attended UCA Epsom and studied on the Fashion design course. I specialised in menswear in the third year and graduated in 2014 with a 2:1.
Post-graduating I went to work for Ted Baker working on footwear. My role was both administrative and creative, supporting design, product development and sampling. Later moving to Swarovski working on collection development across costume jewellery, fine jewellery and accessories. Leading me to my current position at Burberry, in CAD specialising in childrenswear creating 2D and 3D renderings.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I spend around 70% of my day drawing in either 2D or creating 3D renderings. The rest of my time is taken up by administrative tasks or researching into new methods of working in order to improve my own creative process. I try to ensure I take time for my own personal development, whether that’s related to directly to my job role or indirectly.
First job: expectation Vs Reality:
Prior to graduating I hoped my first job to be with a company that fitted to my aesthetic and design background. I expected the business to be lead more by creativity and for design to have full freedom. My reality has been completely different to my expectations. I never expected to be working on hard accessories as my first job. Nor did I expect so much of my time would be taken up with administrative tasks and how much work I would be using non-creative programmes such as excel. I also did not expect the industry to be so vast, there are many functions and areas of work (not just design and buying). There is a position for every skill set and interest, you just have to navigate your way to finding them.
Something you wish you knew when you graduated:
It really is a hustle. You have to be open to new opportunities. You may have never worked or even thought of working on particular product categories or functions, try it. Your degree specialism does not limit you to what jobs you can do. Do not allow yourself to miss out on opportunities by categorizing yourself too much.
What advice would you give to graduates to break in to the industry?
Resilience. Prior to receiving my first graduate job offer, I felt I had been rejected from every fashion company in the world. You will apply for countless positions and you might not hear back from most. You may receive feedback along the lines of “we are looking for someone with more experience”. Do not let this deter you or slow you down in your ambitions. There were times when I as well as others I know felt defeated by the rejection. The best way to move forward from this point is to continue applying, requesting any feedback you can get and never stop trying.
Life is not a race. It may take you 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months or 3 years to get your first graduate position. Everyone’s career journeys are unique, don’t measure your own career successes to others.
Self-promotion. Social media has completely changed the game. There are far more opportunities for self-marketing than there was five years ago. Every new designer I find is from Instagram. So many designers use Instagram for inspiration. You have a lot more opportunity for self-promotion and to communicate not only your creative vision but what you can offer potential employers. The best part of this, it’s free.
Any time I can provide support or bring fellow creatives together in the wider industry.