Interested in a career in fashion? Founder of British menswear label William & George and Head of Fashion and Design at Middlesex College Nick Geller tells you how.
How did you get into your current role?
My business partner and I were senior designers at two of the biggest design companies in the industry, however, we felt frustrated with the restriction of creativity they placed on us. We therefore decided to break away from the main stream and haven’t looked back since. It’s been tough getting to this point but we now feel we are finally making a positive difference to British menswear.
Talk us through a day in your life at work.
Everyday is totally different. I spend a lot of the time working with the suppliers developing the product and guaranteeing that quality levels do not drop. I also spend a lot of time speaking to customers ensuring we understand their immediate needs so we can incorporate them in to our designs
What skills do you need to do your job?
You need an in-depth knowledge of every part of the industry, an obsessive eye for detail, determination to succeed, and a lot of talent.
What qualifications do you need?
I have a degree from Northbrook College which definitely helped getting the first job. However, this shouldn’t be the end of it. Experience is a huge factor, especially in this economic climate. You need to separate yourself from the crowd any way you can. Taking extra curricular classes and short courses is also a great way to get ahead.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Creative freedom. It’s as simple and blissful as that.
What’s the worst thing about your job?
The pressure. Naturally, we are perfectionists and it’s this pressure that strives us to succeed, however, it is a lot of hard work and not something I would recommend to the weak hearted.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Running a successful menswear label is a huge highlight for me. We get complimented on our designs all the time but when someone from Saville Row says they are impressed, that is also a major career high. You can’t get much higher than that.
What advice can you give someone wanting to do your job?
Don’t ever stop designing. Get as much experience under your belt as possible. Also, never stop working and updating your portfolio.
Any useful websites / companies / colleges readers should check to do this position.
It’s funny you should ask this as I am head of the department for the new fashion and design short courses at Middlesex College. They run evening classes in a variety of industry disciplines such as fashion illustration, portfolio development, building a fashion collection, pattern cutting and even catwalk make up artistry. We also teach the more business type classes such as starting up your own label and how to make money from fashion. Definitely worthwhile for anyone seriously thinking about becoming a designer. www.mdxcollege.org.uk
What motto do you live by?
I don’t do fashion, I do style.
What clients have you worked with?
We have had numerous film and TV stars buying from our collection and it’s always a buzz to see our designs on TV. We have also been asked to do special commissions for luxury restaurants and hotels. The most recent of which was the Sanctum Soho Hotel, a designer hotel in the west end of London. The collection that we designed for them really complimented the beautiful design of the hotel.
Words by Annika Allen