Love fashion? Thought so. Want to work on Planet Fash? Of course you do. But, with so few opportunities around, how do you break into it – especially if you’re from a deprived area?
It’s not easy – which is why Grazia is entering into its second year of a unique mentoring scheme with Kids Company and Reiss, to help four amazing twenty-somethings get into work. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime – they’re on the FROW of the industry, being trained in everything from fashion design to PR to visual merchandising.
And they’re blogging on Grazia Daily and www.reissonline.com each week for the next four months to bring you all the goss from behind the scenes of their placements. Not bad, eh? Ben Moriah, 24, from South London is first up…
So, I’ve been at Reiss for a week. And let me tell you, so far: It. Is. Amazing.
I can’t tell you how jealous I was when my friend told me one of his t-shirt designs that could be sold in Reiss last year – he’d been involved with the Kids Company and Grazia scheme too – so obviously I applied straight away when I heard about it.
I’ve been involved with Kids Company for a year now I moved out of home at 19, thinking I was independent enough to handle it. Turns out, I wasn’t. I thought I knew much more than I did – but faced with rent, gas, electric bills and being completely on your own, it can get a bit daunting to say the least. In fact, I ended up living in a hostel for two years… Not so good.
But instead of admitting defeat, I took myself to college – and really pushed to get on the fashion course; it’s all I’ve ever really wanted to do. I had nothing – no experience or portfolio. Just a few crappy drawings, and a dream. They took me on the next week and that’s have it all started.
A few years, a Textiles degree from London College of Fashion later (I’m due to graduate this summer!) and help from Urban Academy later - and here I am.
Coming into the corporate world, I thought it would be really strict and stern. But actually, though it’s high pressured and focussed, people are really down to earth and relaxed. It’s a bit like being at university again, but with more prospects.
Ben Moriah with Reiss mentor Jennifer Allen
Already I feel like I’m part of the team. I was worried that I going to be too different to the Reiss brand – I thought I was too young or ‘out there’. But just last week we were looking at the new collection and I suggested introducing neon green. They liked it, and now it’s being developed. It’s an amazing feeling. And my mentor (who is fab, by the way) was an intern previously too, which puts the whole process into a different light.
Before this, I had a fear that I’d be a graduate interning for free for the next four years. But I know if I work really hard – and it is hard work – that there are definitely opportunities at the end of it.
Which is what it’s all about. I’m at the end of week one. But by the end of my four months at Reiss, I hope you’ll be reading that my designs are going in store – or, even better, that I’ve spotted someone wearing one (I actually think I would collapse. Not. Even. Joking.). Watch this space…