Jan 14, 2021 | By Hannah Manton
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As of this month, 9 years. I arrived at WGSN from Stylesight. At the time, I was Director of Trend & Client Services EMEA and within a year of moving across to WGSN I joined the Mindset team. It was an exciting time when two major forecast services combined forces and became one.
In a pre-digital world, I became the UK Director for Promostyl in 1990, which was one of the original five forecasting houses that began in the 1970s. My role was running the UK business, consulting with clients throughout fashion and design industries on forward trend through a large list of seasonal trend books to all market sectors, from women’s, men’s and childrenswear to textile, automotive, lifestyle and hard goods companies. I also organised and ran trend events for the industry across the year, bringing designers, buyers and product developers together to discuss forward trends. I have been very lucky in my career to work with creative content and to convey and curate trends for close to 30 years. Prior to forecasting, I worked for 8 years in womenswear after graduating from The London College of Fashion.
Yes, absolutely, I have always had a great interest in the arts and have led my life definitely from the more creative side, rather than the academic side. Going to galleries, a great love of architecture and looking at any kind of great design and innovation across all areas is how I love to spend any free time that I have. Travel is also very important to me and something I have been incredibly lucky to do throughout my career. I am originally from the US and moved to the UK in my mid-teen years, so I learnt early on that each country has its own traditions, culture and arts. Being able to travel to different cities and countries across the world opens one’s view to the richness of global art, design, craft and people.
To be honest, I love working with clients and every project is rewarding. One of my recent favourites would be working with the in-house design teams of a very large e-commerce platform in India. Over the last five years, I have travelled a great deal to India and find it not only a beautiful country to visit but very exciting working with creatives from a country so rich in culture and craft, and with a young demographic.
I think the biggest shift, one that I hope does not lose momentum, is that of a fair, diverse and inclusive world for all, regardless of ability, skin colour, size and background. For far too long, the world of fashion and design has portrayed a very unbalanced image of the whole of society. Consumers are made up of people of all sizes, colours, abilities and from different socio-cultural backgrounds. It is long past time that we celebrate and cater to all of society, not just the privileged few. This is a topic close to my heart, as one of my daughters, who is 24, has Down Syndrome and she has been excluded from many things throughout her life due to her learning difficulty as well as her appearance, from education to sport. People tend to judge her wrongly on what they think she can achieve, as opposed to what she truly can achieve. I want to see full inclusivity for the future of the globe.
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