This talk was longer than usual which meant that I was able to take more detailed notes with larger amounts of information. 

  • Richard Kinloch Fashion Designer
  • Principally a womenswear designer and has worked at both ends of the fashion industry from commercial to couture.
  • Will look at what to expect from your portfolio and other aspects of the industry including running a fashion business.
  • Started his career at St martins (4year degree from 87-91 with one placement year)
  • The first part of your career is Uni and it’s the most important and he encourages you to be creative as when you get out into the industry, you will be faced with criticism and negativity.
  • Everything is always changing and trend analysis is important to keep up to date with.
  • Worked at YSL, Nicole Farhi, French Connection during his placement which was a varied throughout the different areas of fashion.
  • It’s worth doing to get your teeth into it.
  • Learnt by draping on the stand which was his main source of education whilst at Uni.(image was from him final collection)
  • Felt it was invaluable training.
  • Couture is made to measure – he spoke about the process of how to make a couture garment and he would place the pattern piece onto the fabric and tack all around it and then work forward from there which he believes is a forgotten technique.
  • He advises to be wary when entering New York with a portfolio as customs can get funny due to you now having a work visa (better to use online sources for that)
  • Grab opportunities yourself – they won’t come to you!
  • Was offered a job with Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic out of Uni. He was a design assistant, which was the basics of understanding what a design assistant needed to do.
  • Design assistant – design associate – designer – head designer.(US)
  • Heads of design will go shopping to find new trends and products and then comes back and the team builds a range from what is on the wall. Monthly drops will happen when everything changes every two to three weeks.This is called range planning which is one of the most difficult things but most important things you will learn. Can also be referred to as delivery – industry jargon.
  • So if someone says “this is the January drop” – they mean the range.
  • As an assistant designer you will be learning how to do the job and assist the higher team members. 1) organisational skills & 2) flat drawings – these will be the skills you need to succeed in this role to begin with.
  • Episode – he was a design associate (next level up) jumping from companies allows for quicker career movement rather than staying with the same commonly for 10 years. This role he was designing, helping with the colour range, choosing fabrics. Your early job will be your most important as it will teach you the skills you’ll need for the rest of your career and help you when moving up the chain. He world in his both first roles for around 1 year (might be too shirt nowadays for a job jump)
  • With larger companies, you will attends trips to the Far East as they will outsource their production to the factories there. China, Hong Kong etc.
  • YSL – atelier
  • Be sharp – if you go in as an assistant, you need to absorb everything and as long as you are intelligent, hard working and bright, the people you’re working with will see this. This will get you the jobs.
  • Contacts are important but when you’ve just left uni you won’t have any so it’s about applying and getting your foot in the door.
  • He wrote letters and eventually got a position helping out a stylist on a vogue international shoot.
  • Tommy Hilfiger – worked with them which lead to working with celebrities.
  • He then worked as a designer with a senior designer in New York. The collection he worked on with GAP was similar to the works of DKNY. He stayed in New York for 6 years. (In the photo – that was done by 2 of them working on it)
  • Every two to three weeks, there will be a new mood board which will show your new range on colour etc.
  • He then came back to London and continued the same role, after about a year he decided to start his own range.
  • He advised that if you ever want to do something in your career then do it.
  • If you ever want to launch your own line, make sure you have a really good, strong concept.
  • His first collection was made of 7 black dresses which he did as it looked coherent in a photoshoot. Always start small as you will not be able to compete with the big cats of the industry so make sure that it is doable for you.
  • He then sent the images of the photoshoot out to various places and was lucky enough to be featured in vogue and was then sold in a shop in soho.
  • Think carefully as it’s hard work – but it’s not hard to get into the press as they are always looking for new stories so as long as your concept is good, you can use that as your spring board.
  • Fashion East – 2000, he was given one of the fashion East slots (chosen by BFC and other people such as buyers etc) he had to hire a pattern colour and then developed his collection further and was able to get other professionals such as a stylist who helped with the footwear, hair & make up. If you have contacts then ask for help as they will be willing to assist you in your dreams.
  • Buying fabric is harder for young designers due to the lack of profitability within the industry, therefore the contacts you get through the industry, you will be able to form relationships that will help you in the future.
  • He hired a model from models one and did the shoot with a Polaroid – he then pasted this and made a little booklet which he mailed out and hand delivered. Emails are a lost cause and not always work doing.
  • The first impression is the most important thing as there is no second chance.
  • After fashion East, he was thrown into doing his own thing and had to go on to organise his own show. He went round all the hotels and asked the PR of the hotel asking if he would be able to use their facilities for free as he needed a venue but had no money hire one. He did castings, hair and make up trials. It killed his bank account. Money can be lost but money can be made.
  • He did another show at the Hilton in Paddington for the same collection.
  • /same thing.
  • Moodboard shown, everything inspired him from bits of lace to vintage materials.
  • A lot of things aren’t free but other professionals such as press, buyers etc will get something out of being there.
  • Your books of inspiration (sketchbooks) are important to employers. If you’re excited then they will be too.
  • He then did look books as shows were too expensive and they are a really good way of displaying your work as it is more editorial and give more of an insight to your collection rather than a show photo.
  • He worked with photographer called Emma Summerton who is now a very established fashion photographer.
  • Remember that other people will be starting out too which gives you the chance to work together to gain experience.
  • He started freelancing as money was tight and couldn’t afford to keep going himself.he worked with Nicole Farhi, but makes a good point in that when you’re meeting people for a certain role, look at the company aesthetics and match your portfolio to them as they will know what you want rather than showing them everything you ca do. A confusing portfolio makes you look unfocused.
  • You could design a project just for that company which shows them that you have determination, focus and dedication.
  • Photo with flats, was for Nicole Farhi. He displays full outfits which considers all aspects, not just the garments which gives a mood and not just flats.
  • Next image with lots of flats is a range plan.
  • Next image of bag – shows examples of fabric, colour, pattern and gives information about the item.
  • German company called Lange (next photo)
  • Frost French which was very urban and London style. (Image)
  • Mood board should be much about images. You could start with a painting which would work into your colour palette.
  • Then look at interiors and other influence not just clothing. People hate to see you doing all modern work. Historical aspects are more interesting and conceptual.
  • There are different ways of presenting your work to people.
  • Recently he has started working with Very & Isme. (Next image) shows a range for the high street. You are telling the buyers what needs to be in the range. You are creating the board for what the range will look like when it drops into the store.
  • A buyer in Selfridges will go and buy a range from designers showroom that already exists, whereas a high street buyer would go to factories and work out the costings and how it will fit/place into the range. High street has different buyers for different products.
  • Photo shows how a board is put together to include colour palette etc.
  • Currently he does a lot of colour palettes for companies. Image shows examples of trend such as tribal mix etc.
  • Sometimes you can spot trends that will take off, like now there is a new change coming forward in trousers with wider over the shoe as skinny jeans have been the norm for so long now.
  • He also does analysis for companies on their range to ensure that they are appropriate for the collections.
  • Why do people shop around the world? Because people are going to copy things and people want to explore how things are changing such as cuts or filtered aspects.
  • Is everything copied? Everything is inspired by something else as nothing is new anymore. From that you can see movements such as decades inspiration.
  • The trend thing in about intuition and a feeling. If something feels like it looks old, then it probably is.
  • Stock service.
  • It’s better to have experience in the industry before you attempt to go it alone as you won’t have the experience to succeed such as cut, manufacture, resources etc.
  • He did a course based in portobello road that was government based and an industry professional would teach him all the aspects that he didn’t know about the industry. The lessons you learn are extremely valuable.

Richard talked for a very long time, he was open, honest and answered questions that people had. I think his talk probably brought a lot of people down to earth who thought that they would graduate and walk into a wonderfully fabulous job, he revealed the less glamorous side of fashion and allowed us to see that harsher side.

Below are some images that I took during the talk. Most are of work that Richard has completed throughout his career including mood boards & design work. 




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