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fashionoffice - magazine
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M. O'Connor 2003
president of the Gromwell Group Inc.

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What is the most important trend in the fashion and beauty industry?
This is a hard question to answer because the fashion industry is a volatile business and trends move in and out very quickly. Fashion is also affected by outside influences such as the designers mood on that day or a new music video that comes out…but at the moment in the states, the children’s fashion sector is stronger and growing.
The mini is back – it’s all about legs, legs, legs next season. The 60s is a strong theme – black and white, with flashes of color. We are seeing some strong prints as well. The Orient continues to play a role in design influence (although not as strongly as last season). Shoes are round-toed. Hair is shaped (a la Mary Quant/Vidal Sassoon). Beauty is quite individual this season, with a 60’s influence and strong eyeliner and vibrant colors.


What is your advice for your young people to get their favorite position in the industry?
For any industry, someone who applies for a job should research the company, the position and the qualifications needed for the position before they interview. The fashion industry is vast with jobs ranging from design, production, retail, journalism and photography, to sales and marketing. To be prepared, young people should focus their research on the area of the industry they would like to pursue and then train accordingly. In addition, networking and making contacts will assist in the application process through employment agencies, trade pubs, or directly to the company via online websites.


What positions are most offered by the industry?
With the economy in its current state, we are seeing a lot of profit generating positions such as sales, design and merchandising. However, the Gromwell Group services the fashion industry in all sectors above and including production, marketing, operations and administration, IT (Information of Technologies), etc.


Which countries/cities will be the next hot spots in the industry?
Fashion was born in several major cities around the world, New York in the US, London, Paris and Milan in Europe and I don’t think that will ever change. These cities will always be the “Hot Spots” in fashion.
Fashion has always been a major part of European culture. The home of the famous schools, Studio Berceau and Saint Martins are in Paris and London respectively where Lolita Lempika and Jean-Paul Gautier, and John Galliano graduated. Italy renders many couture designs and they all seem to come to New York to conduct their business. Last week, in the States, NY specifically was Fashion Week; this is when designers put on runaways shows. In addition MAJIC is another fashion trade show that simultaneously occurs in LA. NY plays a very important role, as it has been by far the largest single marketplace for fashion industry.
There is no surprise about these cities; they rule the fashion world. However, some countries try to be a bigger place in the industry, for example, Canada who is still behind but catching up, and Barcelona and Sao Paolo (Brazil) both who have just launched their own fashion weeks.

What exactly can the Gromwell Group do for young people trying to find their position in the fashion and beauty industry?
Over the past 22 years, the Gromwell Group has taken the time to educate newcomers on the nuances and putfalls of fashion. We inform young people about our clients, their needs and introduce them to our networks. Before interviewing with our clients for whom they might work, we educate our candidates about the company, their culture, and prepare them for the different challenges they may encounter in the interview or on the actual job.

What kind of education/skills are most wanted by the industry?
There are schools that specialize in fashion education, namely FIT (Fashion Institute Technology), Parson School of Design, Rhode Island School of Design, Philadelphia School of Textile and many others. Of course, in any business, the more seasoned you become in one area, the more of an expert you will be in that field. This holds true for the fashion industry as well.


Your 3 most important books in the world of fashion and beauty?
· Vogue Fashion (which gives a historical review of the fashion industry)
· Visionaire (annual magazine publication about the fashion industry – very limited print run/thus exclusive. Very hip and cutting edge)
· WWD

Your 3 most important links in the online-world of the fashion and beauty?

· www.fashionoffice.org
· www.Style.com
· www.Net-a-Porter.co.uk

Thank you for the interview Mr. Connor!


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