Ella is a 23 year old, recent Fashion Communication graduate, now loving life working at LOVE, a design agency in the heart of Manchester, as Culture and Insights Executive. She is obsessed with cool pop-up stores, watching TikTok chefs and collecting coffee table books
What led you to a career within design but the path less travelled?
I’m definitely a creative, brand-aware individual. I also did an art degree on top of my fashion degree, so I’ve always been fascinated by art and design and wanted to work in an environment that encapsulated that.
I’ve always kept my finger on the pulse with cultural happenings, trends, exciting campaigns and so on. I’m not trained as a designer but still have something to offer on the creative floor as part of the culture department, so it felt like a natural fit.
Before I joined LOVE, I thought my boss and Head of Culture Kat Towers, had THE coolest job so I was super giddy to be able to work with her.
Did you study your career area in further education? How did you end up where you are now?
My course (Fashion Communication and Promotion) combined industry knowledge and experience with creative processes, just as LOVE does. We studied the relationships between advertising, retail and visual merchandising, fashion media and journalism, art direction and styling, and fashion analysis and trend prediction. Yep, a lot! Many of these processes reflect what we do at LOVE, so I feel that I was geared up for LOVE’s way of thinking by the time I joined.
Many of these processes reflect what we do at LOVE, so I feel that I was geared up for LOVE’s way of thinking by the time I joined.
As your job isn’t something we’ve touched on PofY, can you explain a little more in depth about what you do?
My job is all about digging out cultural truths which I’ll feed into projects…a big part of the role is looking where others don’t think to look or don’t have time to look. Whether that’s diving into Reddit forums, downloading Chinese social media apps or reading pages of user comments, to really identify insights that are truly reflective of each project. Basically, I’m looking at what is cool and what’s not for each project. As the agency’s honorary ‘Gen Z’ I often feed Gen-Z insights and cultural knowledge into projects, as more and more clients are looking to target this audience.
As the agency’s honorary ‘Gen Z’ I often feed Gen-Z insights and cultural knowledge into projects, as more and more clients are looking to target this audience.
You’ve mentioned you’ve always got to be on top of whats happening, how do you maintain this.
There’s no secret to this, I just make sure I’m following all the right accounts on social media and am constantly scrolling social feeds, reading forums, hype news websites like Highsnobiety and flicking through independent magazines. I’ve built up a little brain library of insightful and current Instagram accounts and online magazines. I also try to get out into the world as much as I can because seeing things through a screen can only inform so much, so exploring London or Manchester can be super informative.
I’ve built up a little brain library of insightful and current Instagram accounts and online magazines.
What challenges do you face when you communicate your findings to the agency and clients?
Often people will come to meetings and projects with a pre-conceived idea of what their target audience likes or what’s trending in particular circles, which may not always be accurate. It’s important to look beyond statistics and dig around for real cultural truths.
It’s important to look beyond statistics and dig around for real cultural truths.
What is the most weird and wonderful project you’ve worked on to date?
A lot of the projects I’ve worked on haven’t even been launched yet, since I usually come in at the very start of a brief and they can sometimes take years from start to finish! So I’ve got to be quite tight-lipped on this question. We work with Hendrick’s Gin who are great at doing peculiar in the most wondrous way, so those projects are always fun to work on.
As your work involves using social media to discover viral trends and whats popular - what social media platform is the most useful?
It really depends on the project, I often find myself downloading the Chinese app Weibo and google translating all of the content to try and get insights for projects we’re working on that target Asian consumers. I’d say Instagram is my personal favourite but TikTok gives me the low-down on viral trends as well as insights into how certain audiences live their life…it’s more ‘real’ than Instagram.
As you’re exposed to using social media heavily in your job, do you experience any negative effects caused by this?
It’s easy to get addicted to socials and spend hours scrolling without even realising, which can make me feel really unproductive, at which point I like to get off my phone and go for a run or a long walk.
I like to get off my phone and go for a run or a long walk.
Is there a specific area or brand you haven’t researched but would love to? Why?
The areas I’ve researched so far are really varied, it can be as obscure as doing deep-dives into club scenes in NYC in the 70’s, or it could be looking at what’s hot and what’s not in the world of ice cream. I think any brand that I’d love to research I already have, but, in a dream world, I would absolutely love to work with Balenciaga, I’m really enjoying all of their marketing plays, store designs and ambassador campaigns at the moment.
You said you have to stay on top of viral trends, what have been your favourites so far this year?
Hmm, I’d say Julia Fox has become a viral trend icon in my eyes, with her quirky eye makeup and the classic ‘Uncut GEHHMSS’ line (if you know, you know).
What is your favourite way to detox after a busy week of work?
If I’m honest I’m not so good at relaxing after a busy week, I’m a major foodie with a huge check list of places I want to try on my iPhone notes, so I love crossing them off on the weekend.
As you’re in the know - who are your favourite social media influencers at the moment?
I’m not ashamed to say that Kim Kardashian would always be my number one, she is the ultimate influencer, right?! But otherwise, I’d say @josefinehj for her un-matched aesthetics, @thegreedymodel for yummy food inspo, Anna Paul on tik-tok because she is super real and of course @kattowers because she never misses with her skincare and beauty plugs.
Lastly a weird one - what’s your favourite ice cream flavour?
I promise I’m not being biased because we work with them, but Haagen-Dazs’ Salted Caramel Chocolate is my ultimate favourite, I just wish it popped up on the supermarket shelf more…it’s like gold-dust!