Ben graduated from BA Fashion (History & Theory) in 2012. During his degree he had a placement year working at SHOWstudio and now works as an Art Coordinator at British Vogue.
It would be difficult growing up interested in fashion to have not heard of Central Saint Martins. I started with the school and looked for a course that would best fit me.
The course was a strange beast. First year and a half or so is basically a whistle stop tour of 700-odd years of fashion history taking in everything from the import of lace in early 17th century Holland to Issey Miyake. A lot of essay writing -which I actually enjoyed a lot of archive visits to the V&A and other museums all over the place. The third year was about dissertation (I did mine on mannequins and male vanity, more ridiculous than pretentious in practice I swear) and our group project, which was somewhat odd. Working with Pringle of Scotland and the NMNM museum in Monaco we put on an exhibition about Princess Grace and her wardrobe. We had an amazing level of access to the Princess' actual wardrobe in the palace and personal help from HRH Princess Caroline also. We couldn't take credit for all of the results of course, but were a big part of the creative and the practical elements of the exhibition.
A photo shoot with Princess Caroline in Paris for Vogue Italia was amazing. We also had the opportunity to work on some projects with Professor Louise Wilson, an actual force of nature who would despise such a cliché.
They're not trying to grind you down, but they do a very good job pretending that they are.
I think a reasonable amount of thick skin, humour and self-belief goes a long way.
I keep in touch with a good amount of course mates, who are simply 'mates' now I suppose. They are all doing a pretty varied range of careers from working at Alexander McQueen to saving something or other in the Nicaraguan jungle. I plan to oscillate somewhere in between the two from here on.
My work is divided into two; I am primarily an assistant to Harriet Wilson, the Director of Editorial Administration and Rights. Her work takes in various aspects of the smooth running of Condé Nast, so on a day-to-day basis that could involve anything related to any area of the company. Around this, I am mainly concerned with doing picture research for the books produced by Condé Nast here in London. These are mainly Vogue books but I have also worked on ones for House & Garden and GQ. Research begins with the archive and collecting all the material on a given subject, for instance our recent release Vogue: The Gown involved leafing through every issue of British Vogue from its first issue in 1916. Quite an undertaking.
We have also been producing a series of Vogue books profiling various leading designers, which focused on a more specific period but gave me great insight into lifework and legacy. I present all the initial material to the author, working with them and the publisher to provide additional material needed to inform the text then help to make image selections for the book. After working with Harriet on permissions, and assisting with material for promotion we have ourselves a book, and hopefully a party.