Next up, Zoe bags a career in fashion buying

Zoe Lloyd’s fashion buying career has taken off shortly after graduation, thanks to the opportunities she had while studying at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

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The Fashion Buying with Design graduate is working as a Trainee Buyer for boys’ knit and swimwear collections at Next, after impressing judges from the UK retail giant during a live project.

Final-year students were set a brief by Next to design three capsule womenswear collections and after standing out from the crowd, Zoe was asked to present her ideas to the buying team at the company’s headquarters in Enderby, Leicester.

Zoe’s winning concepts earned her a £100 voucher and a job offer. She was one of four talented DMU students who were invited to the headquarters, with Beth Burrows, Amy Withington and Georgia Barnes also accepting jobs at Next before graduation.

The 22-year-old from Solihull said: “I started my job on the day of my degree results and I remember being so relieved to find out I got a First.

“With fashion buying, no two days are the same, but it’s what I love about it. It’s never boring and you don’t get complacent.

“I’m especially lucky to be working for Next, they’re such good employers. They go out of their way to help you settle in, with ongoing training available to keep you on top of your game.”

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Zoe described her course as “invaluable” in helping her break into the fashion industry.

She said: “I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. I graduated with so much work experience and the live projects were an amazing opportunity to interact with industry professionals.”

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Work experience was one of the main reasons Zoe felt confident during her Next interview, as she was able to use examples from her placement year at George at Asda, which spanned womenswear and kidswear.

“I absolutely loved my year there. I was never treated as temporary and was thrown straight into work,” said Zoe.

“I’m really proud to have worked on concepts for George’s latest range of sunglasses for kids and seeing young girls and boys walking around in the accessories I helped develop is incredible and such a buzz!

“I was offered a job at the end of the placement, which was a big confidence boost, but I was determined to finish university and work hard to get a First.”

Among Zoe’s many achievements was being shortlisted for a Mothercare award at Graduate Fashion Week. She was one of six finalists picked from hundreds of entrants and given the chance to present her ideas to a board of experts including singer and model Myleene Klass.

She said: “It felt amazing to be recognised at such a massive industry event and it was brilliant displaying my ‘shortlisted’ plaque on my Degree Show stand.”

Zoe’s DMU highlights include a #DMUglobal trip to New York, where students visited the GAP headquarters and gained insight to different world markets.

“From the moment I walked around campus on an Open Day I got a really lovely feeling from DMU. I love Leicester and I don’t think I’ll ever leave now. It’s a home away from home,” she said.

Posted on Friday 17th November 2017

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