26 February, 2016

Fashion fast forward

If 130 years on the high street has taught us one thing, it’s how to evolve. In fashion, where things change in the blink of an eye, our adaptability is at its most vital. Customers demand the latest trends and we’re delivering – both in our lines and through the store experience. We’re regularly featured in the glossy magazines with hugely covetable items like that pink coat, and this season’s leather wrap around skirt. Spend 10 minutes with Regional Visual Manager Ian Harry, and you can’t help but feel inspired. He takes up the story:

“Visual merchandising at M&S is all about inspiring customers with amazing new store experiences, and this is an incredible time to be doing it. The business is investing heavily in better-looking stores with more product choice, so as the visual team we’re witnessing huge positive changes. 

“Every day I come across innovations and fresh visual ideas. My inspiration can come from anywhere: picture galleries, social media, or just being out and about. It makes me so proud to work for M&S. Wowing customers and watching sales develop is immensely motivating for us too. We put a lot of thought into our work and the results can be astonishing. I love watching shoppers, the ultimate creatures of habit breaking those habits because of some insightful decision my team has made. 

“Impact is everything in this job and that’s why M&S is so hot right now. We’ve just teamed up with model Alex Chung in our latest fashion collaboration – Alexa has hand-picked a new 31-piece womenswear collection, shortly to be unveiled. We’re also collaborating with Livia Firth (wife of actor Colin), who has designed one of our most eco-friendly ranges yet – it’s fashion with integrity.

“I’ve worked in different retailers and the sheer scale of responsibility, the impact, the pace of change at M&S cannot be understated. New developments, exciting collaborations – it’s a great time to be part of M&S, a huge British retail icon that is changing for the future. 

“Part of the attraction of M&S is that you have so much scope for movement. You could start your career in an entry level Stylist role and see yourself progress to a regional role or even Director. Visual Merchandisers balance the creative with the practical to showcase our ranges in the best possible way, draw in customers and, ultimately, keep sales healthy.  So people who do well here all have that commercial instinct; a smile, thick skin and tenacity all go a long way too. And with the level of change here, excitement, pace and impact need to be in your DNA.  

“Trust me when I say that within a few years, you will not recognise M&S… and in a good way! We’re finding ever more exciting ways to think like the customer and create memorable store experiences. I can’t say too much, but be sure to watch this space. Or better still, apply and find out for yourself.” 
Think you have what it takes for a visual merchandising career at M&S? What counts is a real passion for working with fashion, and the ability to keep abreast of the latest trends, pull them together and make sure they appeal to customers. Click here to view our roles.


Inside M&S