Thursday, 10 December 2009

Q&A with Susie Draffan of New Look

Susie Draffan is a trend scout for high street brand New Look. She studied Fashion Communication and Promotion at Central Saint Martins and has previously worked for WGSN. Her role at New Look is to seek new trends from around the world and report back to the design team to ensure New Look are consistently on trend. The design team will then use the images Susie has taken as inspiration and adapt the trends to cater for the New Look consumer.

Susie travels on average once a month and has visited cities including Stockholm, Gothenburg, Rekjavik, New York, LA, Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris, Ibiza, Montreal and Antwerp. She also visits various festivals and keeps track of popular culture trends in music, film, celebrities, new brands, blogs, magazines, newspapers etc.

R: How regularly do you visit Street Style blogs such as The Sartorialist and Face Hunter?

S: “Everyday. I do a tour of all the best street style blogs to see what's new on a daily basis.”

R: How important / relevant are these types of blogs to you when looking for new trends?

S: “Incredibly relevant as they showcase the best of street style from around the world. As they are updated everyday, they provide a constant stream of inspiration, information and new ideas which is invaluable to trend scouts/designers like myself.

R: Which are your top 3 style blogs? - Why?

S: “Because I read a lot of blogs I go through phases of favourites. Some I check because they are just generally good for fashion news and tit bits, highlighting new designers/labels/collaborations etc like Disney roller girl or style bubble - the more established ones which are always good. In terms of street style I always look at Facehunter, as the people he shoots are the type of people I like to look at for inspiration as opposed to say the Sartorilaist who's style, although wonderful, is a little older and more classic than what I’m looking for.

Personally my favourites are:
Knightcat, because it features a really good mix of photo shoots, celebrity style, product shots, inspirational images etc. Her style is a bit grungy and hard edged, a bit trashy rock, which I like.

Somuchtotellyou, a blog that two girls from New Zealand write. If Lula magazine were a little less saccharine and a blog, they would be this. I love the imagery they use, it's always so pretty but I also love how they write, which I can't say about a lot of the blogs I read. There's a little more thought to it than just ‘here's a nice picture’. I find it really informative and smarter than a lot of other fashion blogs.

Demoderniteter which is written by two Swedish teenagers. I just love their pictures, both their outfit posts and they're shots of every day life in Gothenburg, they take really lovely photos and make me wish I was a Swedish teenager! Super cute. Plus I love Scandinavian style so it's totally up my street.

Other favourite include Ringo have a banana and Anywho. In terms of street style definitely Facehunter first and foremost, I also like Hel-looks, Garance Doré, Stockholm street style, Cophenhagen street style, stil in berlin etc etc.”

R: Do you feel threatened or refreshed by these blogs that are celebrating individual style rather than people who follow trends? - Why?

S: “I don't feel threatened at all by these blogs, I'm all for them, they are an invaluable resource to people like me. They make my job easier as I can log on and see what people are wearing around the world everyday, hear the latest fashion news and gossip, see inspirational photo shoots, read about new designers and labels, look at celebrity style etc etc. In terms of street style, it's the individual who starts a trend so they're exactly the sort of people we should be looking at. What is interesting though is that these street style blogs have also led to trends travelling faster and further than ever before. What’s pictured on the streets of Stockholm one day is recreated on the streets of London, Paris or Tokyo the next. Previously cities and scenes had their own distinctive style, unique to that location. People the world over sharing pictures of their style online has led to trends unique to one place cropping up across the globe almost simultaneously and the creation of a ‘global hipster’ look. That said, there is still uniqueness to be found in these cities, you just have to scratch the surface a bit more to find it!”

R: What are your predictions for the future of fashion? - Is the future of fashion media online? Will fashion weeks end as all the shows turn to the Internet?

S: “I think it's amazing that online media and bloggers in particular are finally being taken seriously by the fashion industry, they really broke through in 2009 - look at Tavi for example, and the sensation she caused at New York fashion week, sitting front row, gracing the cover of Pop magazine etc. The industry is finally understanding that bloggers carry a lot of weight with their readers and that that readership is global, so they should take them very seriously. While I think in part the future of fashion media is online, I don't think that this is at the expense of actual publications or that virtual fashion shows will replace real fashion shows. Because everyone wants to experience something real and tangible, something they can touch and have a connection to, be a part of. You don’t get that from logging on to a machine. Plus the rigmarole and spectacle of the shows is something that fashion people live for, it’s the circus, it’s exciting, it’s in part why they do what they do. Maybe in the future the shows will be streamed live on the internet, like the Alexander McQueen S/S 10 show, so it’ll be the best of both worlds. It’s not a case of either it’s all online or it’s all in print, if we’ve learned anything in the past decade it’s that there is a place for both online and print media, and that they compliment each other while doing different jobs.”

Thanks Susie!


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