27 April 2011

It’s two months in for Allie, Co’sar, 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 Grazia and Reiss has transported them onto the fashion front-line where, until September, they will 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 and follow their blogs charting their highs and lows. Here, Co’sar, 21, describes how after a tricky start finally she is starting to make some real progress…

So much has changed for me over the past few weeks and I feel very much that I’m in the process of finding out what I want to do with my life, and where in the fashion industry,  I feel most comfortable.  I started Grazia/Reiss mentoring scheme in Reiss’s Visual Merchandising (VM) department doing a very hands-on job, which involved a lot of practical tasks, not knowing which store I would be in from day to day.  While it was fun enjoying how ranges are put together on the shop floor, I was doing all of this running around while being my fathers main carer and looking after my two young siblings after a long day at work. If I’m honest, because the role and home life was so demanding, I started to feel a bit overwhelmed and exhausted by it all.

Talking to my mentors about this, we came up with a plan for me to try out more of an office based job which is also creative. I’m now trying out different departments at Head Office.  At the moment I’m in the Press office, partly responsible for doing research for the website and the Reiss blog, emailing clients and helping out with any other tasks that need doing.  After a few weeks of doing this I’ll be moving on to the Brand department, working on the new season look book.  I’ve been told I’ll get to be involved in the photo shoot and help the team put the mainline and the 1971 Reiss collection together for the shoot – which will be amazing.  It will also be my first chance to really use the Photoshop software – I got an introduction to it at Urban Academy, the Kids Company college and this will be a chance really get better at working it.

I feel much more settled now and love the fact I’m able to move around and explore different departments – I feel I now know most of the people in the company, which is great!  I’m still in contact with my original mentor Zoe as she often pops in for a one-to-one chat, so we can catch up on how I’m doing.  Finall feel I’m moving forward each step I’m taking and am really excited about the future.


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