Steve Brown

Fashion Business and Promotion BA (Hons)

Work experience opportunities whilst studying at BCU meant that Steve was prepared for his chosen industry after completing his studies. Since graduating from BCU, Steve has worked with major brands, from Next and DKNY to Calvin Klein, and he’s even been able to travel all over the world.  

“I always wanted to go to university, but I wasn't sure on the location. I was from a small town so moving to a big city was very new. A friend and I both from college decided on BCU and we did the same course, as our interests were aligned. I was deciding originally between doing Law or Design Management, but very happy to have proceeded into a creative path.

My experience of studying at BCU was fun, creative; a new world of opportunities which I loved, and of course, making new friends was great which are still friends to this day.

During university, I did a range of work experience. I spent four months as an Event Planner for a global events company, two weeks as a PR Coordinator at H&M's London press office, and two weeks as a Model Booker at Select Model Management in London. This allowed me to get industry knowledge in different areas and creative fields.

When I graduated, I became a Trainee/Assistant Buyer at Next PLC. Out of two thousand applicants, I was one of the chosen ten to get on to the Buying Graduate Scheme. It involved many tests, presentations, and case studies which I had to do to get the role. I was responsible for buying the girl's and baby girls wear, knitwear, dresses, and blouses. During this role, I had my first work trip to Première Vison in Paris, which was exciting.

Then, I became a Senior Product Developer at Inter City Group. This role is where I really grew and hit the ground running. Over five years, I managed 16 brands simultaneously, overseeing everything from design to production, including knitwear, accessories, watches, jewellery, and gifts. I was also tasked with setting up a new fragrance and toiletries product line. Over the five years, with managing the full vendor base, there was substantial travel and vendor management across Asia, America, and Europe, providing me with immense responsibility and invaluable learning opportunities in my mid-twenties.

Then, I was head-hunted and became Collections Manager at DKNY Menswear. For this role, I moved to London to manage the full product collections for DKNY Men's Black Label and Pure Labels from Design to Production, reporting to the president. Travelling the world meeting the vendors I managed and collaborating with my colleagues in the New York office. It was such a great opportunity with such an iconic brand.

From there, I became the Buying and Production Manager at Brand Machine Group, and then Senior Buying and Planning Manager at Calvin Klein, which saw me moving to the Netherlands after being head-hunted to set up the Buying and Planning department for CK Menswear. Then, I was head-hunted again and became the Global Merchandising Director at DENHAM managing Product Development and Merchandising globally, then returned to Calvin Klein in Merchandising where I've now been with the brand all in all for nine years, and where I currently work.

In my career, I have always chosen roles that would extend my experience. I don't want to be in one specific function for 20 years; my Buying, Merchandising and Product Development roles have allowed me to strengthen my experiences within Collection Development and have a 360 approach.

It's a competitive and sometimes challenging environment. If you stay true to yourself and continue to do your best, this allows personal growth. It's also important to cut out the politics and noise, as your experience will speak volumes.

Three years ago, I gave a Global TED Talk which has been one of the proudest moments of my career. My topic was ‘How Data is Driving The Future of Fashion,’ including the need for reduced waste.

Following this, opportunities then opened up to chair and present at Global Fashion Conferences in Milan, Budapest, London and New York for example, and I have been featured in publications such as WGSN and Drapers.

I am so grateful to have these opportunities which are such a validation for me, and again why it's important to cut out the noise and let your experience speak volumes.

From these opportunities and experiences, it also led to me being offered an Advisory Board role for a fashion start-up in New York, who I have been guiding for the last three years in leveraging AI into the fashion industry to allow the development of optimal collections.

Long-term, I hope to continue to use my experience and to contribute to the development of a brands collection, strategy, and story with a full 360 approach. And for me to keep volunteering at the dog's animal shelter which I have done for the last two years!

My advice to fellow BCU graduates is to trust the journey. It’s competitive out there and sometimes opportunities can be hard to find. But I truly believe there is a big world out there, so do your best, keep respectful and opportunities will come.

Life to me is like chapters of a book... some chapters are for sure better than others. But the whole point is, you have all the experiences along the way to make for a better book.

To me, I AM BCU means memories for life.”