21 September 2011

Tales from Tesco

It hit me today, when updating my CV, how much I have actually learned by having the four week's work experience at Tesco F&F Head Offices.



It was amazing to have the opportunity to work alongside the Menswear ‘Outerwear and Shirts’ Buying and Merchandising department, and oversee typical tasks for an own-label merchandise buyer.

What I did, in brief:

• Was present in weekly trade, supplier, buyer, designer, critical path and fits meetings.
• Conducted a weekly comparative shop of competitors and consumer research.
• Undertook day-to-day office tasks such as filing, arranging the sample cupboard and pulling product.
• Developed my understanding of the buyer role and knowledge of product in the fashion industry.

I definitely developed as a person during my time at Tesco. I felt so grown up doing full-time work! And I felt important, like I was making a difference.

Me with my Tesco work experience swipe pass:



My highlight had to be when the Head Buyer, Ros - a lovely, inspirational working Mum - took all the buyers (and me) to a glamourous pub in Old Welwyn for a breakfast meeting. I had the most delicious scrambled egg and smoked salmon on a bagel - for free! Ha.

Being a student means that I appreciate freebies so much! I even got a few pieces of F&F clothing before they hit sample sales. Lucky me!
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20 September 2011

All Hail the Fashion Doughnut

...As Krispy Kremes are now being called, by publications such as Glamour.



Krispy Kreme, like Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts, is an American fast food chain. But like Tim Hortons in Canada... It's not very fast.

A Krispy Kreme store opened a few months ago, not too far away from me, in Birstall. I'd heard so much hype around it by people I knew on Facebook, naturally I had to go check it out.

So I queued for half an hour for some doughnuts, against my better judgement. It's safe to say... They were worth it!

At least I didn't have to queue in one like when the store first opened:



Madness!

I bet if I really tried I could go around the supermarkets - and other fast food chains - and find doughnuts that taste just as good as Krispy Kremes. I could find them for 50p each rather than over one quid... And in just as many varieties... But I won't.

Why?

Because I, like so many others, are willing to pay that little bit extra for the brand.

Stupid? Yes.

Clever branding by Krispy Kreme? Extremely... They're having consumers believe that they produce upmarket doughnuts, with an element of exclusivity.

But fair play to them, they do have the product to back it up.

As the Glamour article states, they have collaborated with Krispy Kreme to produce two limited editions in orange and pink - called the Glamour Glaze doughnuts:



I will definitely be sampling these the next chance I have to go down to Birstall. Keep up the good work, Krispy Kreme.
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Canada's Worst Kept Secret

It came to my attention during my visit to Calgary that there was one fast food chain that you just couldn't get away from. Like Starbucks in New York, there was one on every corner. It was always busy, whatever time of day you went at... Whether you queued in the Drive Thru or inside, or even in the airport, the queue was always long. Too long to bother with, in my opinion.

Two words: Tim Hortons.



Founded in 1967 and named after Tim Horton - a famous Canadian hockey player - it has slowly become Canada's most popular fast food chain with now over 3000 stores nationwide. Like American chains Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kreme, it is known for its coffee and doughnuts.

Unfortunately I never got to sample Tim Hortons while I was there so I can't comment on whether a Tim Hortons doughnut would be worth the half an hour to an hour wait.

However, I have been getting on the Krispy Kreme hype. More to follow...
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19 September 2011

Hollister/Abercrombie Power

I think its safe to say that the American casualwear brand Abercrombie & Fitch, and its sister brand Hollister, are starting to take the UK by storm.

The storm has already hit America, and wreaking havoc, with both brands now reaching a high level of awareness and recognition overseas. They're widely known for their innovative in-store environments, interesting VM techniques and model-like Sales Assistants... and recently Hollister has managed to push the boundaries of retail design even further.

The exterior and interior of your average Hollister store:



Earlier this year the new flagship Hollister store opened on 5th Avenue, which I was lucky enough to see whilst I was in New York in June.

The store has large LCD screens that cover the front of the building and show a live video feed of the California beach - it's so impressive, it kind of takes your breath away! During the day two models stand either side of the doorway dressed in swimwear, which really captures the essence of what Hollister is all about and communicates it to the consumer in such a way that is clear and powerful.



I mean, I must admit, seeing the outside of the store made me want to go in to see what the inside was like... Not because I necessarily wanted to buy anything! It's really clever, because then you go in and you see the product and you're like... Actually, I want a slice of what they're selling... I'll buy a shirt just so I can have a piece of this lifestyle.

Abercrombie & Fitch was just a few doors down from Hollister on 5th Ave. Their building is currently undergoing some sort of renovation - but they, too, had a way of enticing consumers into the store. A model was stood at the entrance, with a Sales Assistant who took polaroids of consumers with the model as they walked into the store. Then she printed them out and put them in a special Abercrombie & Fitch cardboard frame before handing them to the consumer.

It was like a freebie for each consumer, and the sense that they'd received a little piece of Abercrombie and had a good experience without actually even buying into the brand. And then they show their gratitude by going into the store, and purchasing something. It is very clever. It made me feel so special, I almost bought into it! Ha.

But being a skint student, I thought I'd settle for the polaroids.

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29 August 2011

Bread & Butter Menswear S/S 12 Trend Report

Well, I'm back from my work experience! One of the most exciting things that happened over the four weeks I was there was the fact that I got to sit in on the Bread & Butter trend briefing!

F&F's Menswear designers had visited Berlin where the famous Bread & Butter trade show is held annually, and got the low-down on what's going to be in fashion for men for S/S 12.

It's exciting!

The designers gave out a pack and categorised the trends that they came across, so please note that all the images and information contained in this post do not belong to me and are courtesy of Tesco F&F.

Trend One: Spirit of 1969


Product summary: vintage logo t-shirts, checked shirts and bootleg-cut jeans.

Trend Two: Drifter



Product summary: narrower cargos, army-style clothing, new camoflage and leafy prints.

Trend Three: Analogue

Definition: something that bears an analogy to something else.



Trend Four: Palm Springs


Product Summary: pastel checks/stripes, contrasting colours, washed-out colour chinos, coloured five-pocket/ecru-bleached denim.

Colour Trends:



Branding:


Some companies may choose to incorporate one, or all, of these trend categories into their high summer ranges for S/S 12. However, Tesco F&F have decided to just focus on Palm Springs... A wise choice! I can see their core customer taking a liking to this trend and the pastel checks and washed-out chinos transcending perfectly to their product.
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21 July 2011

Menswear Trends for A/W 11

Guess who's back! Just having to do a little bit of research before I head off to Hertfordshire for my Tesco Clothing placement.

A sneak preview of what’s going to be on trend for menswear for A/W 11:

1. Sharp tailoring and oversized coats a la Lanvin:



And YSL:



2. Colour popping (in particular yellow, red and orange hues) a la Raf Simons:



And Ann Demeulemeester:



3. Fur, from shearling to mink, a la Miharayasuhiro:



And Balmain:




I like all three of these! Keep a look out for more menswear A/W 11 posts in the future, as well as my holiday musings! :)
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26 June 2011

Coldplay's Postmodern Glasto Set

Last night I watched Coldplay headline Glastonbury for the third time. It's safe to say... They absolutely killed it!

They've got a new album in production and played a couple of songs from it during their set... It amazes me that they've been around for so long and yet they're still managing to churn out good music!

I couldn't help in noticing the theme of the production though... It was very fluorescent and psychedelic... And extremely on trend with the neon colour palette!






It made me think back to my study of the postmodern trends that are looking to influence fashion for my final 2nd year project at Uni. One of them revolved around neon colours, paint splatters, sharp lines, shapes and strobe lights - inspired by the past work of designers such as Alexander McQueen and Dolce and Gabbana, as well as films such as Bladerunner.

This trend can be seen especially through the performance of their final song (their new single 'Every Teardrop is a Waterfall') - check out the laser beam lighting, use of colour and pulsating pyramid, in particular!



(Note: please now watch the video here due to a broadcasting copyright issue.)

I want to know the names of the people who are marketing Coldplay at the moment - they are so on it!
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23 June 2011

Menswear Trends for S/S 11

My primary focus tends to be womenswear when I discuss fashion trends in my posts. But, seen as though I will be focusing on menswear during my Tesco placement, I thought it was about time I researched what was ‘in’ for the opposite sex this S/S 11 season!

The top ten trends appear to be:

1. Neon

Jil Sander, DSquared, Giorgio Armani





2. Alterna-Tux

Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Acne





3. Splatter

Dries Van Noten, Roberto Cavalli, Kenzo





4. White

Dolce & Gabbana, Hermes, Ann Demeulemeester





5. Print

Lanvin, Comme Des Garcons, Etro





6. Wide and Long

Paul Smith, Viktor & Rolf, Yves Saint Laurent





7. Military Shirt

Gucci, Burberry, Pringle of Scotland





8. Stripes

Balenciaga, Junya Watanabe, John Galliano





9. Cargo Pants

Alexander McQueen, Alexis Mabille, Missoni





10. The Jute Shoe

Prada, Gucci, Hermes





Interesting stuff!

(Note: I would like to credit Style.com for the information and images in this post.)
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