Aysha Simpson knows better than anybody, that working in retail after you’ve graduated can be hard to say the least, ‘you find yourself stuck in a rut, there isn’t much room for creativity’. But being involved with FAD’s INTO Fashion program has led to Aysha securing a job with supplier Alison Hayes, where she enjoys the role of an Assistant Designer. Her story is one of perseverance, hard work and determination.
Having been involved with FAD from the age of 17, Aysha, now 24, was nearly ready to give up on fashion. Having worked in Office shoe store and then at an insurance company, she was about to embark upon the world of teaching, leaving her designing days behind her. ‘It would have been a new adventure but I would have felt so sad to say goodbye to fashion.’
It was at this point that Joanne needed somebody for an internship at Alison Hayes which eventually led to Aysha’s position with the company now. Some would call this fate, but Aysha said simply that ‘it’s about taking all the opportunities you can get’. Humble as ever, Aysha still enjoys coming to FAD workshops as they ‘keep her on her toes’ and remind her to always update her portfolio all the while meeting like-minded individuals.
We spoke about the competitive nature of the industry and how people working on the shop floor may have lost the confidence to pursue their creativity: but being proactive is key and ‘FAD gives people like me a way in’. There’s no doubt about it, Aysha’s story goes to show that if at first you don’t succeed you must try and try again. When I asked her about the importance of FAD, she reflected upon their absolute necessity to help graduates and students alike and that more organisations like FAD are needed nation-wide.
Aysha recently came back to FAD to speak at an INTOFashion masterclass –‘Meet the Desiners,’ about her experiences as an Assistant Designer. ‘It feels a bit unreal, you forget how far you’ve come, it was me sitting there not so long ago.’ Now a year in the role, Aysha reflected on what it took to get there, and how to make the most of that opportunity when you finally get your foot through the door.
We caught up with Aysha afterwards to find out exactly what she’s up to these days, and where she sees herself in a years time. ‘Its been very intense. I have my own accounts now, there’s been definite progression.’ One of the accounts Aysha is now working on is with a leading high street retailer and household name – a huge achievement in her first 12 months and testament to her work ethic.
Thinking about her future career progression Aysha is feeling very positive. ‘I want to get as much experience from Alison Hayes as I can, and hopefully they’ll get a lot more out of me, then who knows!’
If you’d like to join the INTOFashion programme, or know someone that would benefit from being involved, please get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org