Behind the Seams with Courtney Smith: The Decision Makers

 

IMAGE.ie and Samsung are delighted to join Courtney Smith on her mini-series 'Behind the Seams', where she meets Ireland's brightest sparks in the world of fashion, to shine a light on the vast spectrum of opportunities in fashion and what it takes to truly make it.


On episode four of Behind the Seams, Courtney is focusing on the side of fashion that shapes our shopping experience. From buying, technology, producing and public relations, this episode deals with what Courtney likes to call the Decision Makers - the women who will decide what you'll be wearing next season, and what's hot and what's not.

Her first guest is Shelly Corkery, Irish luxury fashion behemoth Brown Thomas' fashion director. Shelly takes many roles in her position, but luxury fashion buyer is one of the most interesting. As she explains, working as a buyer is not just about buying clothes — it's a science that's all about adapting to change — change in consumer opinions, change in catwalk trends and change in how the customer thinks and deals with shopping. It sounds complicated, as she says, it's about bBeing intuitive and having a sense for what sells. Shelly's key advice is that you don't necessarily have to study the area to become a great buyer — if you really want to get into the industry, you'll learn everything you know from working on the shop floor.

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Courtney then chats to Aileen Carville, who is the CEO of Irish start-up SKMMP (pronounced 'skimp') — a new business that aids fashion brands to be more productive with their time and products on the wholesale side of the industry. According to her, fashion technology transforming everything — from how designers create their clothes, to advertising to how we, the customers, shop and style our outfits. Her best piece of advice to break into the fashion technology industry would be to own your space — become an expert in the area that you love and you'll find success.

While 'fashion production' might not be a very common title here on the Emerald Isle, the industry is thriving in London, and fashion production is one of the most exciting areas to become involved in. Megan McDermott, based in the UK, has produced shows for the likes of Acne and Stella McCartney, and explains to Courtney what goes on in the day-to-day of her job. From producing and organising runway shows in fashion season, to creatively directing editorial shoots in the off season, Megan's job is a dream for anyone obsessed with behind-the-scenes glamour.

And finally, we take a look at fashion PR. While the industry sounds glamorous, it can be notoriously difficult to break into. Denise Higgins is the PR director of Rainbowwave, a UK-based agency that deals with clients such as Perfect Moment and Needle & Thread. Her job is all about trying to get attention for the brand — gaining as much exposure as possible can be with journalists, influencers or something completely different.

Check out this week's episode of Behind the Seams above, powered by Samsung and in collaboration with IMAGE.ie.

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