Debenhams Managing Director of Fashion Steven Cook discusses best practices for forging a career in retail, in conversation with Maurice Mullen, Head of Fashion and Luxury at the Evening Standard.

Steven originally worked in retail to put him through university and studied an Economics degree. His love of fashion led him to later realise where his true passion lied and he worked in the retail company, working his way up into the buying sector. He explains that he fell into the industry but says “every opportunity gets an opportunity” and encourages the graduate audience to follow your passion and despite being young he believes “its not about age, its not about youth, it’s about mind-set.” With a humorous approach to the conversation, Steven Cook explained his tips to forging a career in the retail, explaining his main point throughout the talk that it’s “all about the understanding the customer.” With a comical statement from Maurice on the excessive use of customer continually, Steven explains that if you don’t consider the customer you no longer have a job. 

30 students on Tuesday gave Fashion Designer Henry Holland a 2-minute pitch to win a 2-week placement with himself and Debenhams. Announced at the end of the talk were the two winners, Elizabeth Welland from Arts University Bournemouth, winning a 2-week placement with Debenhams and Poppy Baker , from Plymouth College of Art winning a 2-week placement with Henry Holland. 


Words by Emily Bone

Photography by Zoe Griffin