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Gabbie Armstrong: My next step in industry

Gabbie worked part time as an in-store trainee Visual Merchandiser at Outfit Fashion during her final year at BCU. Getting real world experience alongside her studies led to her current job as a Childrenswear Visual Merchandising Coordinator for fashion retailer Next.

Gabbie Armstrong
Textile Design BA (Hons)

Combining work and study

I was lucky to have a part time job in the fashion industry during my final year at university. It wasn’t easy to juggle work and study commitments at the same time but I was dedicated to building my career as soon as I could.

The trainee position at Outfit Fashion helped me to understand the company’s structure and the different roles I could have in the industry, but most importantly I learnt about applying the principles of buying/merchandising and design that I had been learning throughout the course. Once I graduated the position became a full time role and I was able to develop my skills within this field even further.

Climbing up the ladder

As a full time in-store visual merchandiser I was responsible for installing window displays and reviewing stock placement in relation to commercial and brand guidelines whilst delivering creative and visual flair to entice customers. I worked with a large variety of brands including Topshop/Topman, Wallis, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Outfit Kids, Oasis and Warehouse which ultimately gave me a wealth of knowledge within the industry.

I was invited to Next head office for a week long internship to assist the Childrenswear Visual Merchandising team. After completing the internship, I was immediately offered a permanent position with Next.

My current role with Next involves working in a small team of seven creating new design concepts for stores, supplying and reviewing merchandising guidelines and in-store displays for over 500 stores across the UK.

Top tips

During my internships and work opportunities I have learnt very quickly that in order to be successful within the creative industry you need to have a flexible free thinking mind, the courage to say yes to new opportunities and most importantly you have to be resilient!

Studying at BCU has helped me to see the design project from a multitude of perspectives, as the course is very varied and helped me develop a wide range of skills. One key thing I learnt was that overthinking the final outcome can often be a creative limitation. Inspiration will come to you – but it has to find you working!

Find out more about BA (Hons) Textile Design


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