Fashion Futures 2017 Award Winners Vicky, Keir, Sezuthi and Tyana won the unique experience of a work shadowing day with the team at ASOS. Tyana and Sezuthi report on what they got up to – with photos by Vicky and Sezuthi.
Tyana: Today was an amazing opportunity and I enjoyed experiencing what goes on behind the scenes at ASOS. Meeting the employees of the different departments was great because I got to see the entire process before a product goes online.
Sezuthi: I met many people who worked in different departments: Christi and Ester from the printmaking team, Jasper from the embellishment department, Amanda from the pattern cutting department and then Jamie and Katy from the menswear department.
Tyana: First we went into the womenswear department and learned about how they travel to lots of countries from Paris to Tokyo and even New York where samples of clothing are bought. We got to take a look at some samples that were bought from Premiere Vision in Paris this year. We then went into the archive which was packed with clothes from all around the world which are kept for referencing certain trends or techniques.
Sezuthi: The archive consists of vintage clothing samples, some are actual garments whereas others are pieces of a garment which can be an embroidery design or a piece of embellishment. Then they also showed us how they come up with their trend mood boards.
Next, The embellishment team then showed us how they make hand made samples and how they don’t only base it on one specific trend mood board but multiple ones so other departments can use their samples.
Tyana: One of the embellishment team told us that he started off at ASOS in the footwear department until about a year later where he got the chance to work in embellishment having no experience working with fabrics, but after discovering that he was really good at it he stayed. I like that you have a chance to work with people who may not be in your department and the communication between the different departments is amazing.
Sezuthi: The printmaking team showed how they make their own designs by hand with paintings and drawings, and then use photoshop to retouch the patterns, layer them or change colour combinations; like the embellishment team, they make samples and patterns that all departments can use. I enjoyed the printmaking team the most as it was something that really interested me because it involved practical art, for example painting designs by hand. But I also learned that it involved digital art such as photoshop where they would retouch vintage patterns, repeat patterns digitally, scan sections of a pattern and rearrange it or change the colour combinations and then photoshopping it onto garments to see how the patterns flow.
Sezuthi: In the pattern cutting department, they showed us how now almost every pattern is made digitally, as it’s much easier and faster, however some more complex garments such as dresses are draped on a stand and the patterns are cut from there by hand.
Tyana: We got to see the Gerber system in use, making a pair of trousers. Speaking to the pattern cutting department was very enjoyable because they had a lot of advice for us and we got to see the recent gender neutral sportswear line that was released recently. I admire how inclusive and thoughtful ASOS is and how they think of all the different types of customer they have.
We also went to the menswear section which was noticeably tidier than womenswear! We saw the archive which had a variety of beautiful jackets and shirts that I may or may not have wanted to take home… We sat down with some of the menswear department and looked at a presentation on different trends and how they apply them to garments.
Sezuthi: Finally we got a tour of the rest of the departments such as the buying and merchandising departments and the ASOS studios where the photoshoots happen and the photographs are checked and retouched for quality control ensuring that the garment or product looks as real as possible in the photo, for example the colour matches the real life product’s colour or the pattern is clear and visible.
Tyana: They have 22 models in everyday and at least 1,000 products go live everyday which is an amount I would never have thought of. Seeing their work ethic and all of the different personalities and experiencing how well everybody gets on with each other has definitely made me want to work for ASOS in the future.
Sezuthi: This experience has definitely helped understand the fashion industry better as now I have more knowledge on the different jobs available in this industry and its variety.
Huge thanks to Mark Fisher and everyone at ASOS who worked so hard to make this day such a valuable learning experience.