This week we were lucky enough to catch up with one of the most influential, stylish and down to earth person in the fashion industry.
Pia tells us what its like now being the buying manager for the most successful menswear brand on the high street, advice for anyone wanting a career in fashion and of course all those things she just can’t live without.
Pia is a true success story, a real inspiration to us and proves with a lot of hard work you can achieve your dream job.
What is your job title?
Buying Manager for Topman
What is the best thing about working at Topman?
Working with the best buying team on the high street – super cool, creative people who love their jobs and don’t take themselves too seriously. We’re a really close-knit, sociable bunch. A lot of us have been here for many years so we’ve really grown up together and helped make Topman the success it is today.
Your advice to anyone hoping to crack the fashion industry would be…
Be passionate and always go with your instincts.
Could you tell us a little bit about how you got into menswear buying?
I targeted companies I really wanted to work for directly rather than going through agencies. Agencies pretty much told me I didn’t have a chance getting into buying as my degree was nothing to do with fashion, but I was determined and ambitious, and guess I must have impressed in the interview.
I guess I have to thank Phil Cooke who’s now the Buying Director for taking a chance on me and offering me a job all those years ago (he’s going to LOVE me for this!).
Has the fashion world been close to what you expected or has it turned out to be a lot more different?
When I first started a career in fashion I was blown away by it – all the parties, the creativity, getting to travel to some amazing places…it was all so exciting. I guess the novelty wears off a little with time but I can’t imagine doing anything else. Sad as it sounds I love getting up and going to work everyday.
What’s your favorite thing so far about being a buying manager – apart from Phil Cooke?
Ha! I don’t know about that…! Getting promoted to Buying Manager was a bit scary…I was worried I was going to lose touch with the product as I wasn’t buying a department directly. But now I actually have more impact as I’m influencing the buying strategy across all product areas of the brand, constantly challenging us to be the first on the high street with the latest trends. It’s a lot more rewarding. And everyone calls me ‘Boss’ now which is kind of cool :)
How has working in fashion changed the way you dress?
I definitely care much more than I used to about the way I dress and I have to say the majority of my disposable income goes on clothes. I’m very fickle though…I get bored with looks quickly so I never spend a huge amount on any individual item of clothing.
What are your top online blogs?
To know what’s going on in london, le cool and londontheinside. For fashion, individualism, and of course your new blog is now a favourite!
Top menswear brands?
Is this a trick question? Topman…obviously. Otherwise Norse is a long time fav.
When I’m in London, my hottest hang-outs are…
If I’m in town then Polpo on Beak Street for dinner. Going out east I like Birthdays in Dalston or Platform in Hackney for rooftop drinks. More often than not my night tends to end at a random house party…
And when I’m in my hometown I love hanging out at…
I don’t have a home town anymore!
I can’t live without…
All my gadgets…at the moment I have 2 iphones, a blackberry, an ipad and a laptop…And my leather biker jacket – pretty much the only item of clothing I’ve kept for longer than a couple of years..
On my iPod right now is…
Lianne La Havas Is Your Love Big Enough
In five years I’d like to…
Be running Topman from my villa in Ibiza :)
Finally whats in store for Pia and her style in 2013…
Less dresses more trousers…more black…a bit of tie dye and oversized silhouettes