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The businessman

Name Paul Brewster Job Title Company Director Qualifications BA Hons Textiles, Middlesex University, MA Fashion, Central St Martins Career History If grey suits and businessman are inseparable in your mind – think again. Paul Brewster is a colourful character and his studio is a hive of activity. The company employs 15 designers each of whom is given a new brief every two weeks. The resulting print designs, along with “garment concepts” are then sold and find their way into the collections of every one from Kenzo to Kmart. Paul studied fashion and most of the briefs, including initial sketches, originate with him. In fact you sense that the business side of things is a necessary evil. After leaving Central St Martins he designed costumes, home furnishings and worked as a stylist. In his office floor space is taken up by the bike he rides to work and what may have once been a conference table is partially buried under a landslide of magazines. On the shelves books jostle for space with a snow dome from Las Vegas, brightly packaged soap and a pot of Avon’s finest Célèbre shimmering body power. One might wonder what Paul does in his spare time but in actual fact the eclectic mix of objects all contribute to his mood boards that lean against the walls labelled “animal skin” or “monastic”. Paul must tailor his briefs to the skills of his staff but make sure he stretches them too. There are always students on placement at the studio and Paul’s idea of people management is to “lock them in the dye room”. Only when they can create and recreate any desired shade are they allowed out. But despite a gleeful laugh when he describes students’ shock at the pace of work – “at college they might produce one or two prints a term – here we need 50!” – Paul does appreciate the pressure both students and tutors are under. His tough love approach is his way of offering a helping hand... Alternative business paths Fashion buyer, retailer, events management

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YOUR FINAL DESTINATION COULD SURPRISE YOU

Things don’t often turn out as we plan but as someone, possibly Charles Darwin, once said “it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” In your first few years out of college adaptability, along with a healthy dash of willingness and a sprinkling of persistance, could be your greatest asset. We follow the up and downs in the career paths of three textile professionals...

Richard Nicholson

selvedge.org

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