Helen Clarke

Helen Clarke

Lifetime news

Posted on: 21/02/2014

Formerly Production Director for the British designer Margaret Howell, now at Toast.

Originally from Birdwell, Helen went to Worsbrough High School, Barnsley Sixth Form College and Barnsley Art College before going on to study Fashion Design at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

Helen says: “At school I was not 100% sure of what I wanted to do as a career so focused on the subjects I enjoyed – Art & Maths.

“This often threw up questions from teachers – one a science and the other an art – as to whether it would be a good choice/mix. But with the support and encouragement of great parents, I decided to continue studying things I enjoyed, hoping it would all fall into place at a later date.

“The two subjects could not be more perfect in my chosen career. As a Production assistant, manager and now director I have always needed to have a creative eye, but also ensure garments are to the correct costs.

“After leaving university I was very lucky to walk into a job with the high street store Whistles (a lecturer of mine was friends with the Production manager) and a big percentage of the collection was still being produced in the UK.

“Working with factories was like going to university again and the experience of visiting factories weekly was invaluable.”

Helen went on to work for Liberty of London, Paul Costelloe and Elle before starting work with Margaret Howell in 2002.

“My job is very rewarding, seeing initial sketches through to the final garment in store. Being practical and enjoying problem solving is an important part of the job.

“The job also takes me all over the world, Paris, Italy, Japan to name a few, but I am most passionate about British manufacture and am lucky enough to work for a designer that still wants to produce in the UK.

“My journey into the ‘world of work’ was a slow but great one – and now I’m here, I am lucky to thoroughly enjoy what I do!”

Helen is happy to speak to all group sizes, from assembly to classes.

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