Interview with CFW Fashion Director Sarah-Hayley Owen← Back to Blog
Here’s the second instalment of our interview with CFW Fashion Director extraordinaire Sarah-Hayley Owen. Sit back, relax and enjoy getting to know this talented and amazing lady!
So let’s get started! Firstly, it must have been a shock for you when you found out about your illness, how hard was it to adjust to a different career path?
It wasn’t difficult to adjust as I seemed to flow into my career. When I found out my training to be a Classical/Opera Singer would be put on hold for ten years I thought it would be useful to carve a career in something different as a fall-back plan, especially as performing is so competitive. When I became ill and moved schools, I found an increased love of art and design and realised I always wanted to be creative. Singing will always be something I love to do but fashion is my life.
That’s great that you had such a positive outlook, did the change leave you enough time to research your options before having to apply for university?
When I researched Universities and colleges, for my Art and Design Foundation, City and Guilds instantly jumped out. City and Guilds is a private Art College with similar qualities to my school, Kings and because of this I knew I would gain more tuition.
For my degree I looked towards the colleges that make up University of the Arts London. Both with renowned reputations in the fashion world, the choice was between Central Saint Martin’s and London College of Fashion, I chose LCF because it is a dedicated Fashion college.
Amazing choice, you must have had some great opportunities studying at such a prestigious fashion uni, what were they and how did they inspire your decision to become a freelancer?
If you are working in the Fashion department of a newspaper, the deadlines are up to the minute. Although elements of shoots and pages are planned ahead, newspapers have a priority on imminent fashion news.
My freelance plan was decided during the last stage of my degree and first year of my Masters. I have varied interests and don’t want to single any of them out, being freelance allows me to participate in all of them and also work for lots of different titles.
What is your favourite part of working in the industry?
There are so many, but firstly it is the people! Although fashion has a reputation of being fierce – it’s not and doesn’t need to be. In this job I am inspired every day, whether by a designer, brand, someone working in PR or from a reader.
Secondly, it’s Fashion Weeks; I feel so lucky to have a job where I get to travel and witness the excitement of a show. Sometimes I do pinch myself to believe it’s true!
That does sound like fun, my ideal job in fact! There must be some downsides of the industry though?
Because I am freelance and my company operates on many different levels there is a huge amount of pressure to complete work to a multitude of deadlines. The hours can be from early morning to very late evening.
You must have to be ridiculously organised too, what other attributes do you think are important for someone trying to break into the Fashion industry?
There are many different jobs working in the fashion industry. Be sure to finish your education, do your research on the career you want and don’t give up.
Are there any particular skills, qualifications or experiences that an employer looks for in a potential fashion journalist?
I wouldn’t say there is a preferred entry level as there are many different ways to enter the industry, whether like me from interning and completing a Foundation, Degree and Masters or whether you are self-taught, if you know your subject and have limitless determination I think everyone can succeed. Where skills are concerned it is better if you are organised and can time manage.
Coming from someone who’s had their fair share of internships, what are your insider tips on landing a place?
Never give up and always be polite. Plan your internship during a school/college holiday, at least 2 months ahead. If you don’t hear back from an email, write, if you don’t receive a letter, phone them. Persistence is the key.
You also do styling as well as journalism, what advice do you have for those who would like to get in to styling?
I have always worked as a stylist and found that both jobs went hand in hand. Internships in fashion departments will help you on the styling path; mention to the Fashion Director what you are most interested in when applying.
Are there any other areas of the industry that you would like to expand in to in the future?
There are lots of exciting plans for the future but for now I am concentrating on Sarah-Hayley Freelance!
Thank-you for taking the time to talk to us. I know how busy you are and it means a lot that you’d take time to answer our questions! I can’t wait to see what you have in store for CFW and Sarah-Hayley Freelance in the coming year, good luck with it all.
All images are screenshots from the brilliant Sarahhayleyfreelance.com, follow the links to visit her website, follow her on twitter, or like her Facebook page.
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