Currently working as a design assistant at online womenswear brand Finery London, Chloe Barton secured her job whilst being a part of the FAD INTOFashion programme.
Day-to-day, she can be found doing anything from designing to administrative work. ‘Normally there are a lot of changes with the collection so we’ll alter specs, change designs and do a lot of research into our trends,’ Chloe explains. ‘We’ll go to meetings to make sure everything is going well and we liaise with a lot of different teams to make sure everyone’s up to date with what’s needed.’
As part of INTOFashion, Chloe was paired with mentor Ruth Taylor, who heads a team at Dird Group, a global conglomerate of garment and textile brands, and attended a masterclass focused on portfolios and how to prepare and present yourself at interviews. ‘Ruth is an amazing mentor. She’s been very helpful,’ she says. ‘I think that just having a mentor and having someone in the industry to let you know that you’re not doing something quite right, or to look at it from an angle you wouldn’t, is an amazing opportunity.’
Alongside that, Chloe came up with a plan with her mentor to curate her portfolio so it was the best it could possibly be and, through a connection at FAD, secured her job after two interviews. ‘If I didn’t have Ruth to help guide me through portfolios and tell me what businesses expect from you at interviews, I would never have got the job. My portfolio was just not what people were looking for. I had the skills, but I wasn’t presenting myself in the right way.’
While Chloe is feeling settled and secure in her job at Finery, that’s not to say the road to the position has been without its bumps. ‘I got a job straight out of university with Mothercare but because they were going through financial problems I was told they couldn’t keep me on after six months,’ she says. ‘After that I felt fed up with fashion. I hadn’t had a break after university, had applied to lots of places and wasn’t hearing back. It was really demoralising and demotivating. I knew I was good enough to get a job but I couldn’t even get to see these people and, because I wasn’t getting feedback, I didn’t know what I was doing wrong or what I should change.’
Having gone through that process she has, however, acquired some valuable experience which she’s keen to pass on to other upcoming designers. ‘Don’t give up and even if you don’t want to, do another internship. It’s always worth it,’ she says. ‘It’s more experience and you don’t know who you’ll meet.’
When it comes to the interview process too, she urges people to ‘do research on the company and do a project that relates to that company. I did that with advice from my mentor and they absolutely loved it. It shows you care, you’re interested and that you know the business.’