In the Woo Hot Seat, we have fashion buyer, Jemma Garner.
Can you imagine shopping FOR A LIVING? Jemma Garner is a fashion buyer for womenswear brand, Therapy at House of Fraser. She shares the perks of her job, top style tips, which collections she’s loving right now and key staples for SS14. Roll on summer.
Relaxed smart, always ready for work and play (the line between them is a blurred one for me!). I enjoy the smart look of soft tailoring and like to mix it up with a casual sweat or jumper. I throw in a small statement piece, either clothing or jewellery, for fun too.
Life as a fashion buyer
I love shopping, for work or pleasure. I never tire of endless shopping on eight hour days, over a five day shopping trip. We get to go to places like LA, Paris, Barcelona and Korea. I love the feeling when something special lands on my desk that excites me so much, that I know it’ll be a best seller and I have to get it in! I work closely with my designer to decide what shapes, styles, colours and prints that we feel our customer will love in the next coming season.
Where the dream began
I knew I wanted to do something creative, but I’m no artist or designer, and I wanted to travel. After looking into fashion courses I decided to study fashion marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University. I chose the marketing course because it offered a years industry placement, which I thought would be valuable. I dabbled in wholesale, worked on the shop floor, tried my luck in PR for six months, had a go at pattern cutting, and then after all that, I worked for two weeks as a buyers assistant and I was sold… I then wanted to become a fashion buyer.
The advice I would give to aspiring fashion buyers
Get as many work experience placements in as many different areas of the industry as possible. Then when you start out on your chosen career path, you are sure it is the right area of the business for you, and you can devote yourself and make a career out of it.
Where I seek my inspiration
I am constantly on WGSN, style.com, at trade shows and just being out in the shops and on the streets, gives me inspiration. You need to keep an open mind and always be absorbing peoples style and behaviour.
My favourite fashion designers
I am as fickle as the customer I buy for. My favourites sway from season to season depending on my taste for how fashion is interpreted. I’m loving the beautiful and textured florals of Erdem and Christopher Kane at the moment, Moschino cheap and chic is so much fun, but I would be a happy lady if I could afford to wear Carven, Costume National and Derek Lam everyday.
My luminous yellow Alexander Wang leather clutch. In love.
Key staples for SS14
Everyone is smartening up – soft tailoring and clothes that will take you from day to evening are key. I’m loving these pieces right now:
And EVERYONE must own a jumpsuit this season.
Top style tip
Always wear one thing that makes you feel like you’re ready for a night out. Whether it’s an amazing lip colour, a sparkly necklace or your favourite shoes.
What’s in my handbag
I travel light but I am always prepared. Keys, oyster card (complete with travel card holder), credit card, phone and MAC lipstick.
The best advice I ever received
When I was younger, my dad allowed me to paint my room (which he really didn’t want me to do). He said, “Jemma, preparation is key. Don’t just roll in the room, pick up the brush and start slapping paint on the walls.” So simple, and it now applies everyday in my work – preparation is key to success, in meetings, events, interviews… Even deciding what to wear for work tomorrow!
My favourite experience so far (apart from shopping all over the world)
Travelling in South America with no watch, no schedule and no stress.
Connect with Jemma
Follow Jemma on Instagram
House of Fraser put Jemma to the style test, by tasking her to wear ONLY Therapy for one week during fashion season, including London Fashion Week and a trip to Paris. Read how she got on and see all her outfits here.