Sunday, 22 April 2012

Bailey's Burberry Dream

As promised, the article I wrote for my student newspaper:

Bailey’s Burberry Dream
Apr 22 2012 | Written by mjones

Read Later
Christopher Bailey is often described as the saviour of Burberry, and rightly so. Since his appointment at the British house in 2001, along with CEO Angela Ahrendts, he has transformed the company from what he described as a “trodden diamond” into the internationally renowned, luxurious and innovative brand that we see today, whilst still remaining true to its British heritage.
In an interview with Vogue last year, Bailey noted how upon his arrival,  “Burberry was just in an old rut”, a “company based on past glory”. After targeting a younger market through the aid of digital media, the brand has just recently reached record sales of £1 billion after an increase of 18% in the last six months. British stars including Emma Watson, Eddie Redmayne and Cara Delevingne have all fronted the company’s campaigns while Samantha Cameron, Kate Bosworth and Keira Knightley are amongst the many celebrities wearing Burberry designs.

Bailey with models after the Autumn/Winter 2012-13 show
Speaking at Friday’s Vogue Festival, Bailey presented himself as the antithesis to the ruthless figure one sometimes associates with success in business with his humble, down to earth and incredibly normal persona. He discussed how he’s a sucker for Masterchef, loves Downtown Abbey and can’t wait to catch up with The Voice; a huge Will.I.Am fan, apparently.
Despite being an international name, Bailey stays true to his British roots. The Yorkshireman chatted about how he loves English weather; one minute it’s sunny, then hailing, then raining, then thundering. “It was lovely waking up this morning and feeling instantly uplifted by seeing the sunshine, but there’s something very poetic about the rain. There is something magical about the British weather”, he explained in coversation with Vogue editor, Alexandra Shulman. Afterall, it was the gabardine raincoat that established Burberry and remains its most iconic piece. In the house’s most recent collection, the show closed with models parading down the catwalk clutching umbrellas, very fashionable ones of course, as a storm started on the soundtrack and rain ran down the tent’s walls.

Autumn/Winter 2012-13
His most recent venture, well one of many seeing as Bailey oversees every last detail of the brand, involves the opening of the Burberry’s biggest ever store on London’s Regent Street. His main aim across the stores? “I want Burberry to feel welcoming and inspiring, not intimidating or uncomfortable”. He doesn’t want visitors to feel they are unworthy of the brand and thus wants them to browse and explore the store, aided through its iPad collection, even if they have no intention of purchasing an item. The shop should to just be a “vanity project”, but a chance to immerse yourself into the brand.

Explore the Burberry world at
The company’s brilliant website and Facebook page are another way fans worldwide can absorb all things Burberry. Not only can you browse collections (Womenswear, Menswear, Childrenswear, Beauty, Fragrance, Accessories, Home&Gifts) but you can see a timeline of the brand’s history, discover new music through Burberry Acoustic, create your own bespoke trench and see the classic coat on customers all over the world with “The Art of The Trench”.
Though the company is growing by the minute, from a few hundred when he started to around 9000 employees worldwide, Bailey ensures that his team, what he described as the aspect of which he is most proud, stays extremely connected and informed about everything Burberry. Through their internal social media site, Burberry Chat, they aim to keep everyone in the know so that the inner-Burberry world stays small, not matter how big the brand becomes.
It seems there’s no stopping this talented individual who shows that to make it in this business you need talent, hard-work and ambition, but most importantly, a smile.

Friday, 20 April 2012

The Vogue Festival

Back down to reality as I sit in my room with the rain beating across the windows, miles away from the world I was just in. This morning's Vogue Festival has thankfully secured my dream of being involved in such a creative, passionate and wondrous industry. Though I've read Vogue for about five years now,  along with other fashion publications, I've never really realised that that world is so far from my real world. I see exquisitely dressed people on the webpages of The Sartorialist and in the pages of these fashion magazines but I'm not actually accustomed to seeing people in the flesh wearing Chanel suits, Stella McCartney skirts and Richard Nicholl dresses. Being the only one of my friends and the people around me who wants to work in the industry, I never really saw for my own eyes the competitiveness of this industry that everybody always drones on about. As I sit listening to Christopher Bailey and think to myself "I will work at Burberry when I'm older", I wonder how many other people are thinking the same thing.

First up was Christopher Bailey (the reason why I bought the ticket), introduced by editor Alexandra Shulman, and I was literally just blown away  by this man. It's extremely refreshing when someone so successful who has achieved so much in his career can be so humble and inspiring. You can immediately tell that he is not motivated by profit, but by creativity, collaboration and innovation. He stated that his team is probably what he is most proud of since working at Burberry and it is clearly that positive energy that has made Burberry into more than just a fashion brand, it's a British gem that brings fashion, music, film and much more together.
I'm about to write a piece on him for my student paper which I'll post on here so I won't go on too much, but I think I will remember how that talk and how his passion spurred me to be involved in the industry. I sincerely hope that if I'm lucky enough to work at Burberry in the future, that man is still at the helm.

Even though I would have had happily listened to Bailey for the whole 4 hour session, the next talk was equally enlightening. Four industry experts, Lucinda Chambers, Matthew Williamson, Marigay McKee and Russell Marsh, spoke about their careers in My Fashion Life. Unfortunately due to the length of the session, Matthew Williamson in particular had to cut his speech short - that was probably the biggest let down of the day. Interestingly, most of the speakers hadn't planned to be in the industry and sort of fell into it - wasn't sure if I was supposed to find that comforting or not. Nigella Lawson's Women and Food talk felt a little bit out of place as fashion clearly isn't her forte. It was interesting nonetheless but I would have preferred the second session to be longer so that the speakers could have finished their speeches - Williamson got cut off just as he was talking about setting up his company.

I was bitterly disappointed that there were no more tickets available for the afternoon session which featured Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana and a discussion between Stella McCartney and Kate Hudson - the decision between McCartney and Bailey was excruciating but I am still pretty glad I opted for the latter.

All in all, a pretty fantastic day that has confirmed this is the industry for me. I've recently been considering marketing for the Film Industry, something that I still believe would fascinate me, but fashion has been such a huge part of my life since that first issue of Vogue in June 2007 that I can't really look back now. I'm still slightly worried that I'm doing the wrong course at the wrong university but I guess that's a decision that I just need to stick with now and make the most of internships (my recent 3 month placement at a designer that I was incredibly excited about has just been cancelled (!) so am now frantically rushing to find something else asap), my Life&Style editorial position I have at my student newspaper and all the other experience in which I can get involved.

Apologies for the lack of blogging recently; exam period is looming and it's pretty important that I do well this year to secure a good placement for my year abroad. Anyhow, I'll probably start blogging more to procrastinate...