Career Series: Insights from RÆBURN

Are you currently a student on a design degree feeling a bit lost and unsure of what a career in design really looks like? Design internships and entry level roles are few in number and extremely competitive. There is no doubt you need to be leaving University with a combination of experience, industry connections and a final year portfolio. Laura, SSEAMS Features Writer will be interviewing a brand each quarter through 2021 and beyond with the aim of answering questions that your University Careers team might not be able to answer. The SSEAMS Career series is here to give relevant insight to students who aren’t sure how to navigate through the design industry.

RÆBURN is a British fashion label with a unique and innovative approach to creating menswear, womenswear, and accessories collections. Amelie Jannoe acts as the connection between RÆBURN’s unique community of customers, boutiques, creators and influencers through all customer touchpoints. Sitting within the marketing team, her responsibilities range across content creation, e-commerce, social media and press. Charlotte Elliott supports the design process alongside Head Designer Randolph, from concept to apparel and accessory.

Amelie Jannoe – Digital & Communications Coordinator RÆBURN

What’s it like to work for RÆBURN? 

We’re a small brand with a team of twenty people based in the RÆBURN Lab in the heart of Hackney. Each and every person is a part of the culture of the brand. It means that not only do you gain a holistic overview of the running of the business but you’re also able to meaningfully contribute, voice ideas and collaborate across departments on a day-to-day basis. The feeling of knowing that your role has purpose and value, is particularly special. My work can get quite fast-paced and fragmented, but this variety, which requires agility and problem-solving is something I truly relish.

What does a day in the life of a RÆBURN employee look like? 

Whilst it does depend on the department, our mornings are likely to start with a team progress meeting or weekly sprint. Mondays always begin with an all-departments meet so everyone has scope of results from the week prior and actions for the week ahead; but we keep it fun with a fair share of Fantasy Football scores, Step Count Challenge and Birthday shoutouts too. We could be having an in-house photo shoot for our social channels or some filming scheduled midday, amidst campaign planning, press coordination and copywriting. The afternoons often include events for external partners or the public. Every Friday has our popular Lab Tours for example, and various departments often get pulled into these to provide insight into their area of the business. As a multidisciplinary studio, there is always something exciting to witness – be it the production of our next project, the delivery of new RÆMADE materials, or hosting special guests.

Christopher Raeburn at RÆBURN Credit: Ben Broomfield

What do students need to be thinking about during their degree if they want to work for RÆBURN after graduating? 

Amelie Jannoe: Try get a breadth of experience through internships, volunteering or temp-jobs. It’s the perfect time to test and learn. You’ll then be able to join RÆBURN with confidence, and no doubt bring valuable ideas and initiative to the role.

Charlotte Elliott: DISRUPTION, INNOVATION and RESPONSIBLE DESIGN. Stay true to your identity and work. How can you change the system? 

How many are in the team you work with? 

Amelie Jannoe: The digital team is made up of three permanent positions – myself as Digital & Communications Coordinator, a Digital & Creative Content Manager, and our Head of Online. We also always have one Digital Intern supporting us on a 6-month basis.

Charlotte Elliott: The Design team has six people, with an addition of two Design Interns. Aside from Christopher Raeburn, we have our Senior Designer, myself as Junior Designer, a Head Seamstress, a Product Developer and a dedicated Designer for Consultancy & Collaborations.

Koala #OFFCutAnimal Workshop at RÆBURN Credit: Ben Broomfield

What areas of RÆBURN take on graduates?

We advertise positions under the Career section of our website raeburndesign.co.uk with potential opportunities arising across the entire business. There is no ongoing graduate intake as perhaps some larger businesses would have, but we’re always keen to hear from likeminded individuals. I do recommend speculatively applying or introducing yourself during a visit just to try your luck!

Are there other paths to work for RÆBURN that don’t require a degree?

Your work ethic is ultimately what matters, I would say. If you can demonstrate the qualities or skills we’re after, then there is absolutely a chance for you. Our team includes people from all sorts of interesting backgrounds.

A really important bit of advice came to me as I was starting to look for my first graduate position. In a nutshell, try answer the ‘Why’ before choosing a profession.

Amelie Jannoe, Digital & Communications Coordinator

What do juniors need to know before they enter the industry? 

Gosh there is a lot I still don’t know! Every day is a school day, we often say. A holistic understanding of the fashion industry is obviously important, but hard skills and requirements will change by role and company. Looking at various entry-level job specifications in the area of interest will however help highlight the most common attributes.

Are there technical skills graduates need to have mastered before graduating? 

Amelie Jannoe: For a digital role at RÆBURN, the simple answer is no. Good proficiency in Microsoft Office is commonplace today. Whereas specialist software and programs will differ by company. Whilst it’s fantastic to show initiative, dig down and get some understanding of various technicalities beforehand, there isn’t the expectation from us as such that a graduate will be a master at our internal toolset. Unless specified as an absolute requirement on the job specification, anything like that can be taught on the job!

Charlotte Elliott: We are all continuously growing and learning; we don’t expect you to be a master, so don’t put extreme pressure on yourself. A skill that I do think is worth giving more attention to when entering the fashion industry is Illustrator and Computer Aided Design. CADs are crucial in the design process. When communicating a design to a factory it’s very important what you want is communicated with meticulous detail. CAD’s can require a quick turnaround and high volume in one season, sometimes 100-200 drawings! Drawing fast and accurately is important.

RÆBURN Lab Store Design Credit: Ben Broomfield

What do you look for in a CV, cover letter and portfolio?

Remember your application is a showcase of brand ‘you’. Strong communication skills are integral for a role in our digital team, but we also want to get a sense of your personality. Articulate yourself well, and leave us curious – it’ll help you stand out and make for a great conversation starter in the interview round. If it’s an internship application, help us out by emphasising your availability and interested timeframe; this is the most common omission.

What advice was most helpful to you throughout your career as an individual and a team member?

Amelie Jannoe: Finishing a degree and not knowing what job you want is not uncommon. Others in contrast seem to be pretty set on entry job attributes only (location, salary, title). Either way, rather than letting your focus on the ‘What’ limit you, really consider your values, strengths and pleasures whilst studying. Why am I here, and why do I want to do this? When you can confidently articulate your goals and justify your decisions, you’ll make better, more meaningful choices and open doors for yourself.

It took me a whole impatient, anxious-ridden year before I landed my dream role at RÆBURN – and the wait was well worth it. It was the difference of settling for a role for the sake of it, and potentially sacrificing happiness and purpose, versus sticking with my value-led ambitions. Drop by the RÆBURN Lab for one of our RÆBURN Lab Tours if want to learn more about the brand and our positions; it’s the perfect opportunity to meet the team and get a feel if RÆBURN is right for you!

Charlotte Elliott: The best advice I have been given is to do one job and do it properly – something we also emphasise in our RÆBURN Handbook. It is much better to do something well and properly, even if time is of the essence, rather than returning an inefficient patch job that may have errors, that consequently leads to more work. That said, understanding and balancing priorities in a logical order is a skill worth honing. It’s easy to see everything as a priority and forget about lesser tasks; learn to prioritise.

RÆBURN Lab, Hackney

RÆBURN is a British fashion label with a unique and innovative approach to creating menswear, womenswear, and accessories collections. A graduate of London’s prestigious Royal College of Art, Christopher Raeburn became known for his re-appropriation of military fabrics and in particular for iconic outerwear created from de-commissioned parachutes. The RÆMADE ethos still guides and influences every aspect of the RÆBURN design and development process; a RÆBURN product is defined by distinctive aesthetic, meticulous detail, considered functionality, and sustainable intelligence. Christopher’s pioneering work has brought sustainable design to a main-stream fashion audience and presents a new definition of luxury with integrity. The brand is currently stocked in some of the best stores worldwide and has received an amazing array of media coverage nationally and internationally, reflecting an unusually balanced combination of high concept and commercial awareness.

 If you represent an apparel brand and would like to share your knowledge with the next generation and close the gap between students at University and Industry, get in touch laura@sseams.co

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