It’s Week 3 for Allie, Cosar, Jo’el and Mary – four youngsters handpicked for the Grazia/Reiss mentor scheme. All of them had a difficult start in life and have been helped by the amazing Kids Company - the charity set up by Camilla Batmanghelidjh to help inner city kids written off by the system. Now they have been transported by Grazia onto the fashion front-line for the next six months to be trained in everything from fashion design to blogging. So, how has it been so far? Every week you can check in with them on Grazia Daily and Reiss.co.uk and follow their blogs charting their highs and lows. Here, Mary describes how life at the office isn’t exactly how she expected it to be…
My first memory of fashion is my older sister’s taking me to United Colours of Benetton to buy these fab brightly coloured Barbour style quilted coats, and in Summer, my favourite Illuminous yellow sling backs from Panache. I remember going on strike and refusing to wear any other shoes! These days I’m more of a killer wedges and Camden market girl, but I never really knew that fashion would play such a big role later in my life.
In my early school days I remember wanting to work with young babies due to liking children and never dreamt that I would be given an opportunity like this. When I was picked to do the scheme I thought it would be an amazing experience for me and because I had worked at Reiss over a year ago I was familiar with the brand which I thought would be helpful. Following conversations with my key worker at the Kids Company’s Urban academy about a journalism project of my own that I was embarking on, she decided to put my name forward to work in the Marketing and PR Department.
Although I was excited I did have some preconceptions. Like most people my age I have watched The Hills and thought I’d come into an office full of girls out to suck each others blood. I even practised my smiles beforehand to use doing the tea rounds! But it hasn’t been like that at all. Everyone has been amazing, helpful and really inspiring. And a laugh too! My mentor Jennifer is 29 and has worked for Reiss for 6 years. She got her position as Marketing Manager through working as a part-time girl in the Glasgow store and worked her way up through the company. My situation is a little different as I only thought about doing fashion as an actual job whilst at the Urban Academy and went to their fashion classes to learn about designing and making garments. Now at Reiss I am mostly responsible for doing research for the website and the blog, emailing clients and meeting with different PR agencies. For the past few weeks I have also been involved in various meetings about different changes that are taking place in the company- most of which I can’t divulge just yet!