Daisy Ratcliff, Northumbria University graduate and GFW18 Fashion Marketing Award Winner, has a refreshingly honest perspective on design - a voice much needed in the industry. With an award winning project that takes the numbers away from sizing and looks to approach clothing experiences for young girls as a positive experience, Daisy hopes to alter the preconceived notions surrounding childrenswear, and the space between clothing for kids and that for teenagers.
We caught up with the recent graduate and soon to be Buying Asssistant, to find out why her mantra is 'be patient, be confident, and be yourself'.
Firstly, a huge congratulations on winning at Graduate Fashion Week 2018! What award did you win?
Thank you so much!! I honestly was not expecting it at all. I won the Fashion Marketing Award.
How did it feel when your name was read out?
Amazing, but also nervous too! My first thought was, omg, how am I going to get on to the stage without falling over in front of all these people.
There were a few finalists that I was up against, and so I also felt very shocked that they had chosen me but so honoured that my work had been recognised. I felt all the hard work and the very late nights definitely paid off for sure!!
Which university did you attend, and how do you think they prepared you for graduation?
I attended Northumbria University.
Throughout my time at Northumbria University, they were constantly preparing us for graduation. What we were taught and the work we have to do during our lectures and seminars, it’s preparation for what to expect when working in the fashion industry.
Talks held by people all over the globe from the industry were organised especially for us, but also internships with renowned brands were constantly offered to us. These encouraged us to network but also enabled us to gain some professional advice and experience from experts who have worked in the industry for years and years!
We were taught to be professional, to be confident and most of all; to be ourselves. Companies want to know about you and how you can fit in to their team.
Describe the inspiration and concept behind your work.
I was inspired by my six sisters for my new brand idea Daisy Chain, which is based around a person’s first bra. I held focus groups in schools, girl guide groups and drama schools across Newcastle, to learn more about the thinking process young girls go through when buying their first pieces of lingerie. At the moment, it’s such a niche market and so I wanted to challenge myself and create a brand that connects and supports both the child and mother when experiencing puberty and developing breasts.
I want my brand to be about creating a community and making it a less scary experience for first bra users. Rather than sizes, my garments have names such as ‘Beautiful’, making it easier to understand and to put less focus on their body size.
My target market is the generation that companies will need to start marketing too, which is another reason to why I wanted to create a brand for this generation; to understand them as a consumer.
What one thing would you recommend our readers do whilst at the event?
Talk to anyone, and don’t be afraid. They were once in your position and are no different to you. The more questions you ask the better, as you also want to know whether you want to work for them. In a way, you too are interviewing that company!
Be patient, be confident, and be yourself!
What do you plan to pursue now, and where do you hope to be in five years time?
I will be starting a new job as a buying administrative assistant for a baby’s wear brand, in London, very soon. I am so excited as I absolutely love buying and also babywear!
I hope to be a senior buyer for a very cute kidswear company. I would also love to gain some more experience though as a graphic/print designer, as this is also another passion of mine alongside buying.
If you could give one piece of advice to yourself in first year, what would it be?
Believe in myself and the work I produce. If you don’t believe in your own work and capabilities, who will?
Words by Annabel Waterhouse-Biggins