Susan Acton is a design and retail consultant based in London, with over 20 years experience, working in both education and industry. Her expertise as retail innovator has given her the opportunity to collaborate with numerous international brands, designers and retailers in the capacity of buying, design and product development. In addition, she specialises in trend forecasting.
She has ‘hands on’ experience in all areas of the fashion industry and travels globally to Europe and the Far East. Susan lectures in ‘design awareness’ with prestige clients including international clothing group River Island. Susan was guest anchor with SKY Television for the Olympics commenting on the athletes clothing and has had several appearances on television as an expert on fashion and textiles. She is a U.K. representative on the European Design Council providing colour direction for top fabric shows, including ‘Premier Vision’.
After graduating, Susan spent three years living in India and Hong Kong working with designers and buyers from the UK, USA, Europe and Japan. In particular she worked closely with Tommy Hilfiger and was influential in his signature menswear collection launched 1985. She later worked on successful collections for Stephen Marks (French Connection) and Nicole Farhi while based in India.
She was Head of Design & Merchandising for the Menswear division of Sears UK influential in all departments including design, buying, marketing and visual display. Working with retail genius Victor Herbert, she innovated by creating colour concepts and specific themes for the stores, and was first to create ‘in-house’ brands for the group. She achieved great success for chain store Olympus Sports, by collaboration with designers and merchandisers from top sports brands including Nike and Reebok - the results were specially designed concessions within the store, which proved to be a retail phenomenon.
Susan hasworked alongside a host of top ranking companies. She worked with Fred Perry and is accredited with ‘re-inventing’ the then stagnant brand, with a ‘back-to-basics’ approach, making them a world-class retail success story. She worked in collaboration with French couture brand Georges Rech to create a collection of ‘designer’ women’s formalwear for Marks and Spencer launched as the ‘French Collection’. She was key in turning Lyle & Scott from a fading brand to a contemporary success story worn by pop-stars and celebrities. She worked alongside futurologist ‘Watts Wacker’ evolving Jockey USA. Other Brands / Retailers she has worked with include: Pierre Cardin and Hollister.
Susan is currently working with Coppernob Fashions (one of the largest suppliers of ready-to-wear women’s clothing in the UK) supplying retailers that include Top Shop and BHS. She has created sub-brands for them for ‘Designers at Debenhams’, working from concept to clothing. She is also working with Irish brand Kartel, developing a golf clothing line for Golf Open Winner Graeme McDowell.