Each year Drapers, one of the UK’s leading authorities on the fashion industry, releases their list of fashion retails stars aged 30 or under, recognised for their career development, key achievements and future potential. The list highlights the young minds who are revolutionising their field, fashion management or pioneering in their sector. The list is a fiercely contested and is made up of individuals from retail giants like Topshop, Oasis, Superdry, Harvey Nichols and Liberty. This year’s list includes two BA Fashion Management (now BSc Fashion Management) alumnas who are setting the standards in buying and sustainability. Rawnie Whittow-Williams, Sustainability Coordinator at House of Fraser and Rebecca Tinker, Buyer at Harvey Nichols were both selected. LCF News digs deeper to find out how they got to where they are today.
Within four years of starting at the retail giant, Rawnie has become a key player at House of Fraser. Aged 24, she is their first sustainability coordinator and is “at the forefront of driving sustainable change in retail,” according to House of Fraser’s Head of Sustainability Dorothy Maxwell. Rawnie’s role allows her to ingrain ethical principles into the heart of the department store. She has helped to create the sustainability department from the bottom up and has started conversations about waste, water consumption and ethical trading throughout the business. She told Drapers that “the key to success is to keep things simple and focus on doing one thing better at a time.”
Her interest in all things ethical was first sparked when working there as a womenswear buying assistant in the denim department, where she spotted a gap for eco-friendly denim. She jumped at the chance to become its first sustainability coordinator at the start of last year and has since been busy building working to reduce store energy consumption, improving emissions and minimising landfill. Prior to being Sustainability Coordinators and Womenswear Buying Assistant before that, Rawnie began at House of Fraser’s Menswear Buying department. We asked her what being selected meant to her, she told:
It’s been very exciting. This particular feature in Drapers is something I have always loved reading and found it incredibly inspiring as a young person to hear about my peers at various stages of their careers. I feel even more excited that someone who works in sustainability has been featured as I am hoping this will spur more young people looking to work in the industry to consider job roles in the field, and also push more people to integrate sustainable business decisions into their daily lives. Being featured has just encouraged me to work even harder, and achieve more! It has already opened so many networking doors to people across the industry, and I believe that is one of the most important things you can do for your development.
Harvey Nichols Buyer Rebecca Tinker quickly honed her skills during her time at iconic luxury department store Harvey Nichols, moving from a buyers admin role when she started in 2012 to a buyer within its high-profile international womenswear department. Now aged 27, Rebecca is recognised as being able to spot emerging trends and designers, her fellow employees call her “fantastically talented”, and has grown into a leading voice within Harvey Nichols. Her advice to people entering the industry is, “Don’t listen to the noise – simple, but effective.”
Rebecca has also taken a leading role in the upcoming refurbishment of Harvey Nichols’ womenswear department, which will start this spring. She told Drapers:
It’s very inspiring to me that this industry allows me to feel part of a community. There is always a sense of encouragement for each other. Whether we’re buyers, designers or business owners, this industry provides a wealth of knowledge.
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