TICE fashion is an extremely popular option for the TICE programme. Much of the silver stage is about skills, knowledge and developing an understanding about what’s available in the North East region, as well as visiting some insightful companies and individuals, who take time out of their working day to talk about the jobs they do and the company they work for.
For this year’s visits we ventured into a vast range of companies, the North East region has a fantastic fashion scene but we only have one day of tours so we try our utmost to present a great selection to our young fashion students! Over 3 different days, over 120 students here’s who we met:
Newcastle NE1 Ltd.
First stop for all our visits began with introducing the lovely Sandra Tang from Newcastle NE1. Sandra not only used to be a TICE mentor (on none other than TICE fashion of course) but also is the Marketing & Events Manager who founded NE1’s Newcastle Fashion Week. What is great about visiting Sandra is her detailed overview of what creating and running fashion week is all about but also Sandra’s other (not so hidden) talent is being a brilliant fashion, food and lifestyle blogger with The Chicest and actually has just won ‘Best Style Blog‘ at the North East Blogger Awards!
Marks & Spencer.
One of our next stops was high street giant Marks & Spencer! This visit had been arranged by David Gillin, Regional Recruitment Coordinator for the Newcastle Upon Tyne branch. David was fantastic in organising a range of staff from throughout the store to come and talk to the students about what they do in M&S. We had the opportunity to hear from floor managers to women’s wear sections to children’s wear sections – even a bit of product feedback got in there too! After the staff talks, then a behind the scenes tour of what this massive brand looks like from the other side. An amazing insight into what a massive retail company looks like and what it could be like to build a career in retail.
Now Jules B is a very unique company, not only Newcastle based (with stores in Jesmond, Yarm and Kendal) but a fantastic showcase of an e-commerce high end fashion retailer for our young students to see a completely different side to the fashion world. Tom Jeffery, Head of E – Commerce and Development, took time out with colleagues to talk about transforming the company from mostly a traditional store based retailer into the e-commerce success it is today. However, what makes this such a unique place to visit is all the departments are under one roof. TICE Fashion students were also given a tour of the building and got to see and talk to staff working the photography studio, editing, web/graphic designers and even into and around the stock and packaging areas.
Ah… Love Niche and the lovely Nisha Vedhara! Now this place can’t help but make anyone swoon! Love Niche is a beautiful boutique based on Clayton Street, Newcastle. Now not only do you get the immediate reaction of the …Ooh! Ah!’s as soon as all the students walk in but also Nisha takes time out of her busy schedule to talk to our students about how she got into fashion. Never failing to do anything but inspire, she talks about her journey developing Love Niche. From a very young age, she was encouraged to design her own pieces and was able to pick the fabrics, colours, embellishments and creating her very own unique outfits. This set the scene from the very beginning for a life ambition to have her own collection one day. A lovely lady, with a beautiful label.
So next stop… Northumbria University Fashion Department. Northumbria’s Fashion courses are rated some of the top courses for studying fashion. For our young fashion students, seeing and hearing what they all look like can take away the apprehension of what a higher education environment is actually like. Northumbria is renowned for producing industry ready fashion graduates and their alumni have gone on to work in industry as designers and manufacturers, fashion illustrators, forecasters, fashion journalists, specialists in knitwear & textiles, freelance consultants, fabric/colour researchers, and fashion stylists… and more! After all our visits here, the confidence in students grows immensely as they can seriously start making informed decisions about their future.
And last but certainly not least! It’s TopShop!! Yes… a teenage dream to see what happens behind the scenes at this fashion mecca! The very lovely team at the Newcastle based store took time out to discuss with our students what it’s like to work for this brand giant. However what was revealed, was a fantastic work development programme (a lot like uni actually) whereby staff had modules and units to strive for and no position, whether you were interested in sales to styling, was out of reach. The staff talked about seasonal trends to visual merchandising and took us all around the stores discussing very area from menswear to petites to denim-wear. It was such an insightful tour leaving our students, deep in thought and very excited!
Overall, this has been an absolutely fantastic Silver Stage for TICE Fashion 2015. The TICE fashion team would like to say a special thanks to the following people:
Sandra Tang (Newcastle NE1 Ltd)
David Gillin (Marks and Spencer, Newcastle)
Nicha Vedhara (Love Niche)
Ann-Marie Kirkbride (Northumbria University, Fashion Department)
Tom Jeffrey (Jules B)
Heather Rowlinson & Dawn & Co (TopShop, Newcastle)