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M&S ‘Autograph’ founder member gives insight into the life of a garment technologist

Date 25.01.2017

Fashion students were given an insight into the role a garment technologist plays when one of the founder members of the well-known M&S brand, ‘Autograph’, visited during Subject Futures Week.

Sally Blaxall, who worked at M&S for 15 years, now a Director of QHQ, established in 2004, which provides support services for retailers and their supply chain and includes clients such as Fred Perry, River Island and Superdry.

Along with her colleague Jane Duncan, they talked to students about the role of a garment technologist, how they are a crucial part of a buying team and the opportunities it offers, such as overseas travel to visit factories.

Sally said: “The role of a garment technologist does differ from retailer to retailer but it isn’t always regarded as a glamorous role as it doesn’t hold as much prestige as a designer. When I graduated, I knew I wanted to work in fashion, but didn’t excel in designing so becoming a garment technologist was ideal for me.”

Jane gave the students some advice on how to get ahead in the industry once they graduate. “Make sure you are familiar with industry legislation and use technical language on your CV and in job applications as this shows your knowledge within the sector. Demonstrate your work ethic as much as you can by including any jobs or internships you have had. The more experience a student has, the more employable they are.”

Caroline Southernwood, Senior Lecturer in Footwear and Accessories, said: “Thank you to Sally and Jane for such an inspirational talk and giving our Fashion students a valuable insight in to the role of the garment technologist.”

Subject Futures Week is an intensive focus on graduate career opportunities and helps prepare students for the world of work and takes place this week from 23 to 27 January. This year, casting directors, actors, designers, fashionistas and media professionals will all be sharing career advice.

Find out more about Subject Futures Week