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Manchester High School for Girls

The Future of Fashion

Members of the Manchester High School for Girls community joined with guests from local schools in the Zochonis Lecture Theatre last night for the first careers talk of this academic year, ‘Insight into Fashion’.

Setting the trend, Laura Bella-Tabernero (Class of 2015) took to the floor and spoke of the hard work, perseverance and passion required to be a student on the BA Fashion Print course at Central Saint Martins. From a foundation year developing her basic skills, to a six-month placement in Antwerp, with the renowned designer Walter Van Beirendonck, Laura explained:

“On a fashion design degree such as this, where you’re one of only 15 students on a course that receives thousands of applications from around the world, you need to have a personal connection and love for your subject. You have to be organised, remain grounded and be ready to fight for what you want! Rejection is an inherent part of this industry, but if you keep going, you will get there in the end.”

Laura and Grayson Perry

From creating a school uniform inspired outfit for Grayson Perry to working on collection for London and Paris Fashion Week, Laura really opened the audience’s eyes to what takes place behind the scenes.

Fiona Hilton (Class of 2010) gave a rundown of the often-unknown mechanisms that keep the British high street afloat. As a junior buyer at House of Fraser Fiona’s day-to-day life includes critical path and budget management, organising lab dips and sample photography.

“After MHSG, I studied a Business degree at Kings College London and followed that with an intensive six month Postgraduate Certificate in Fashion Buying and Merchandising at the London College of Fashion. I always knew that I wanted to work closely with product, but I was in no way a designer! I worked part time in conjunction with my study and my willingness and interest paid off in the long run, as I now work in a job I love where no two days are the same.”

As we rounded off the night, Zoe Souter, Marketing Manager at Conde Nast College, regaled us with her journey. After reading Art History at Cambridge, she became Personal Assistant to the photographer, Norman Parkinson. Zoe then spent decades working on the fashion bible, Vogue, as promotions editor, where she worked with the likes of Mario Testino.

Before being asked to take the helm at Conde Nast College, Zoe was part of the launch team for Easy Living magazine,

working alongside our very own Class of 1992 alumna, Deborah Joseph, Editor in Chief at GLAMOUR.

“I was always obsessed with Vogue and I knew I wanted to write for them one day. When I finally got my ‘in’ through Norman Parkinson, I soon discovered this wasn’t my strength. Instead, I was great at being organised and soon ended up taking the lead on projects such as a three-week photo shoot in Malaysia.

“At the time, we noted that so many young men and women would call Conde Nast on a daily basis to ask how to get a break in the fashion and magazine industry, so we set up the College to support the business function and help nurture the next generation of creative and business minds. Through courses such as Fashion Communication, Media Practice and Luxury Brand Management, we’re ensuring that future employees in the £32 billion fashion industry have the skills required to keep it going.”


The next ‘Insight into.. .’ talk will be held on Monday 11th November. Alumnae Izzie Clarke, Keely Hallworth and Laura Forster will share their experiences of the Finance industry.