Deciding on whether to buy an item at the shops is a complex business at so many levels. It’s something Charli Roberts from The Prinnels thinks about constantly in her job at the Marks & Spencer store at the North Swindon Centre.
As a member of the visual styling team her task is to present garments at their most appealing to attract customers to consider how they would look if they wore them.
The former Greendown School graduate – pictured by Richard Wintle of Calyx – discovered a love for working with textiles when taking art and business studies A’ levels at New College.
She said: “I included fashion and textiles as a third course because a friend was taking it, but I fell in love with the subject within a few weeks of starting.”
She hadn’t considered going to university. She had a Saturday job for M&S whilst at school and she thought she could find a way into the fashion industry whilst working part time.
Charli said: “I was very clear in my mind that university wasn’t for me until I was able to spend a week at the M&S head office design centre after A’ levels.
“That was a wake up call as it quickly became clear that I needed a fashion related degree before I could even think of getting close to entering the world of fashion. It was a bit of a shock to change my plans so suddenly, but exciting to follow a new path.”
This summer Charli graduated from Portsmouth University with First Class Honours in Fashion & Textile Design with Enterprise.
Within a few weeks she was successful in securing a full time position as a visual stylist at the North Swindon Centre branch of M&S where she is responsible with colleagues for the look of the store .
Charli said: “It was a dream come true, considering the difficulty of getting a job in today’s climate. I think I’m about the only graduate in my year group who is pursuing a career in a field that’s related to the course.
“Looking back, going to university was the best decision I’ve ever made. The course gave me a visual eye, awareness of colour and trends, and gave me confidence to design and make garments.
“Working with tutors and other students was also so important to improve skills.”
Charli is just settling into her role but her plan is to continue building her personal portfolio of work so that she could apply to M&S design HQ one day.
Keep up to date with Charli at www.fashionsinger.blogspot.co.uk