So this week, thanks to one of the fabulous girls in my course, I was lucky enough to get to interview the lovely Eimear O’Neill. Eimear is a fashion buyer based in LA for one of my favourite brands &Other Stories so naturally I jumped at the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her job and her thoughts on the fashion industry.
1. Have you always wanted to work in fashion?
No not always. I did a Masters in International Business after my Bcomm and thought I wanted to work in finance. I was interning in Davy’s stockbrokers and did not feel like it was the right career choice for me. However when I graduated from college there were no buying courses in Ireland and even though I had always been very keen on fashion I didn’t know I could make a career out of it.
2. How did you get to where you are now?
After a little research into buying and speaking with a few people in the fashion industry I decided to attend the London college of fashion to learn the business side of fashion buying.
Once I completed the course I was lucky to get a job in Primark in Dublin where I gained great buying experience for almost 3 years.
In 2012 I made the move to Los Angeles and started working at a start up called Nasty Gal also famous for #girlboss. I learnt so much working in an Ecomm start up it was fun and exciting and very interesting to learn about the different customer profiles and the phenomenon of online shopping! Subsequently I was head hunted for a Senior Buyer position at Forever 21 which I accepted and worked in this role for 2 and a half years. In December last year i started working at & Other Stories which is a Swedish owned company and is wonderful to work for! We have a great work life balance on Wednesdays we do yoga on our deck with 360 views of LA! The product is exciting and the company is relatively new and growing fast. I am very happy in my career right now we just launched the 1st Los Angeles collection which is all designed in house and it is a very exciting time to be with the company.
3. What does a typical day at work look like for you?
Every day is different but usually the first thing in the morning I will review style selling, after that I spend a few hours responding to emails mainly to our production office in Turkey and China. I have daily meetings with designers and pattern makers and weekly fits where we fit each garment on our models. I also have meetings to review our collections and work closely with brand and marketing on all of our campaigns. Of course a million more things happen during the day so that is a very very short synopsis.
4. How do you find working in LA differs from working in Dublin/London?
When I first started working in the US I was surprised at how many meetings we had on a daily basis, that struck me as quite a big cultural difference. However since working at & Other Stories it has strong European influences so I don’t feel the differences as much anymore. Of course living in LA is very different to living in Dublin/London and people really strive for work life balance. It is such a healthy outdoor lifestyle and that comes into work as well.
5. What’s your favourite part of your job?
I can’t pick just one because if I am being honest I love all aspects of my job. I always love when I see someone wearing something from a collection that I have been a part of it is a great sense of achievement.
6. What would be the one piece of advice you would give to someone looking for work in fashion?
I think people hear fashion buying and they think it sounds glamorous and exciting and sometimes it is, but it is also a lot of hard work and travel and just because you love fashion doesn’t necessarily mean you should make a career out of it. My main advise would be to talk people in the industry and gain a strong understanding of the role and direction you want for your career.
7. What’s your go-to store for key pieces?
& other stories of course! I also love vintage shopping especially with all the great flea markets in LA and Reformation for pretty California style clothing.
8. What do you see as being on trend this year?
Kimonos are a big trend this spring. We saw a lot of denim on the catwalk which will be big for the next few seasons. Power shoulders, sheer florals and lots of fur and velvet.
Big thanks to Eimear for taking out the time to chat with me!
If you’re interested in more interview style blog posts take a look at my previous interview with a student at the Fashion Institute of New York.