Poppy Dover, 23, is a womenswear designer with Max & Co, a division of Max Mara. She graduated with a degree in fashion design from Kingston University in 2008
Monday 16 February 2009
Why I chose my job
I’ve always been interested in clothes. At the age of seven I was reading Vogue and ripping out images that I liked. For me, clothes are a highly visual form of expression that everyone engages in. Fashion is all about experimenting with colours and textures and finding different ways of highlighting parts of the body.
How I got my job
I was lucky enough to be headhunted by Max Mara in my final year at university (Kingston has a lot of connections in the fashion world). I attended four interviews – two at college and two at Max Mara’s headquarters in Italy – and presented some 2D drawings to them as part of a project. Based on this, I was offered the job and have been working in Italy ever since.
What my job involves
I design for the activewear division and, believe it or not, I am currently working on the winter 2010 collection! It’s totally mad in the fashion world: you have to think so far ahead and rely on instinct about what will be big in a couple of years’ time. We distribute to more than 40 countries, so the designs must appeal worldwide, and not just in London or Paris, for example. Last week I attended a fabric and accessories fair in Milan and chose some samples to add tomy inspiration board.
Now I am working on things such as flat drawings and stitch lines to create designs, which will then be turned into working samples by our technicians. I try to take a staple item of clothing, such as a trench coat, and give it a twist. I particularly like mixing genres and adding a masculine touch to feminine fashions.
Highs and lows
I love the design process and the feeling I get when I know that something I have created will work. It’s also amazing to see my work walking down a catwalk and being appreciated by other people and designers. The downside is the frenetic pace – I am a perfectionist so I always like to spend longer and longer on my creations, but I’ve got to meet deadlines!
It can be tough starting out but the journey to get here teaches you a lot about yourself. Work experience is very important so use your holidays wisely. I am sure that the 10- week work experience I did with Gap in the summer vacation before my final year helped me to get seen.
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