20 May 2011

In January, Grazia magazine introduced you four twenty-somethings – Allie, Cosar, Jo’el and Mary - who have been given a fashion opportunity of a life-time. All four 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, theyhave been handpicked to be part of a unique mentoring scheme launched by Grazia and Reiss and transported onto the fashion front-line 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 (right here!) and and follow their blogs charting their highs and lows over the next six months. Here, Jo’el, who is being mentored in menswear design, admits he’s had a tough few weeks…

Wow, it’s been a busy month! We’ve had so many different events and work tasks up to our eye-lids. This month is our Press Month, which is that point in time when everyone’s blood pressure and stress levels increase. Different members of the press come in to view our new Autumn/Winter collection. We’ve had specific direction from Mr David Reiss on how he wants the collection to be visually collected, so everyone needs to be very focused in what they are doing to contribute to the event. I helped with the preparation for an in-house photoshoot organised by Gail who works within the Brand department in Reiss, which was shot by the amazing English fashion photographer Andrew Woffinden.  Then a couple of days ago I went down to a studio in Shoreditch to help organise another shoot for the men’s and women’s new collection. We had roughly 80 looks each for both men and women to arrange!
On days that I’m away from Reiss I work part time in a dress boutique store and I am also very busy establishing a new media platform company of my own called Homegrown London.  I created Homegrown London because I am really passionate about music, art and fashion and I have a great belief that there are so many different talented individuals in London who want to get known in their chosen area of creativity but don’t know how to go about it.  I’ve met a lot of people who are up and coming talent in the worlds of music, directing, business ownership, writing, and athletics, I interview them for Homegrown London and hope that it will become a really good platform for them to share their success, and also for teaching people that sometimes reaching a certain destination is not always going to be easy. So I’d say my social life is non-exsistant at the moment! I know I will never go back to the days when I had loads of free time, but I don’t mind as this is the price we must pay to get to where we wish to be.
This week it is Reiss’s 40th Birthday and to celebrate everyone from management and head office attended a party. It was an amazing event to attend and I was happy to have been a part of it. During the evening David Reiss gave a speech, which was so heart warming.  He said that he had never looked back within his whole 40 years of running the company until, on a recent flight from Hong Kong, a flight attendant asked him if he worked for Reiss and only after a conversation with her did he then start to reflect on his whole journey to this point. I remember looking around at the room filled with so many different people, characters and faces and realised that Reiss really is David Reiss’s entire life. And without his dedication and hard work Reiss would not be what it is today. It really motivated me. Somehow I felt like I knew him just that bitmore after he gave such a touching speech. As I said goodbye to him and got on my train I remember thinking I want the same kind of success for myself. I know I never want anything in my life to stay the same again and that I have to work hard to achieve my dream.


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