Louise Pickles has spent over 23 years in the fashion industry before moving into education in 2003, she has worked within various levels of the market including chain store, high street and designer label.
For many years Louise was Design Director of Ladies Casual and Sportswear for the Dewhirst Group, one of the largest and most successful suppliers to Marks and Spencer. During her time there she developed many successful product ranges and was responsible for massive growth within casual and jeanswear, the company increasing it's turnover from £30 million to £90 million in the six year period from '91-'97.
Louise was headhunted whilst at Dewhirst by a large Australian fashion group and was a key player in updating young fashion chain Witchery, which won Retailer of the Year Award at Mercedes Fashion Week in Sydney in 1999. She then went on to become Design Director for Anthea Crawford, Australia - an occasionwear designer label.
Louise has traveled extensively throughout her career researching fashion trends, visiting trade fares, and developing fabrics with specialist suppliers throughout the world visiting countries and cities such as China, Hong Kong, Indionesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Korea, New York, Los Angeles, San Fransisco, Paris, Milan, Florence, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Belgium, Spain and Portugal.
She has experience of working with many different product types including ladies knitwear, sportswear, occasionwear, jeanswear, casualwear, awimwear and childrenswear, as well as a vast knowledge of the many different aspects of the fashion industry.
On returning from working overseas, Louise took on the role of Design Manager responsible for Swimwear and Underwear for the Stirling Group and left this position to join Bath Spa University.
Academically, Louise has been a speaker at conferences in Manchester and London debating the level of design education in relation to the requirements of the fashion industry, work based learning, and placements. Louise has also sat on a panel of fashion experts as part of a discussion event held at the VandA in London regarding Fashion Design education and the Fashion Industry.
Louise currently holds one External Examiner post having just completed a three-year post for the University of Hull.
Louise Pickles currently sits on the steering group of The British Fashion Council Colleges Council, an area of the British Fashion Council which aims to build and develop links between design education and the fashion industry.
Louise is also an Executive trustee of Graduate Fashion Week, the executive trustees are voted onto the committee each year by university members nationally, Louise has just been voted back onto the committee for 2013 for the fifth consecutive year
Bath in Fashion is a week long fashion festival held in Bath each year, Louise has been instrumental in raising the profile and direction of the event since its conception in 2010 and was appointed Creative Director in 2012. Louise hosts an annual event as part of Bath in Fashion called 'Fashion Your Future'. This event brings industry professionals to Bath to discuss their roles within the fashion industry to bring greater awareness as to the many career opportunities within the fashion industry. Guests have included:
- Sarah Mower re fashion journalism and emerging new talent
- Rebekah Roy, stylist
- John Walford, Show producer
- Joe Richards, Designer
- a panel including:
- menswear designer for Tom Ford
- fabric developer for Alexander McQueen
- assistant buyer at Liberty
- fashion features assistant at Vogue and
- product developer for Ben Sherman
- Roland Mouret
- David Downton
- Julie Verhoeven.
- Diploma in Fashion and Clothing Design, Medway College of Art and Design
- Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Bath Spa University.
- Diploma Membership to the SIAD.
- Attended External Examiner workshop run by Foundation Degree Forward and included on the Register of External Examiners
- External Examiner BA Fashion Retail Management, Birmingham City University
- External Examiner BA Fashion and Textiles, Doncaster University Centre, University of Hull from 2009-2012.
Other external roles
- External member of the validating panel for a new course in Fashion and Textiles at Herefordshire College of Art and Design, validated by the University of Gloucestershire
- January 2012: External Member of the re-validating panel for BA (Hons) Fashion Design, BA (Hons) Fashion and Textiles: Print, BA (Hons) Fashion Atelier for the University of the Creative Arts Rochester
- Executive Committee member Graduate Fashion Week 2008-2013
- Member of the steering committee of the British Fashion Council Colleges Council
- Creative Director, Bath in Fashion.
- Fashion reseach
- Design and development.
Recent professional updating
- Speaker at Foundation Degree Forward and Skillfast-UK Conferences during 2006.
- Development of a new Foundation Degree in Fashion and Textile Design Skills in collaboration with City of Bath College - 2006.
- Networking with industry resulting in live industry projects with Whistles and Karen Millen for Level one Fashion students. As a result of this Whistles became the industry advisors for the new Fashion and Textile Design Skills course.
- Involvement with Skillfast-UK, Mulberry and Bridgewater College regarding Leathergoods Apprenticeship schemes, and the possible future development of a Leathergoods course with Bath Spa University and Mulberry
- Freelance work for Pencarrie 2004 - Sportswear designs for range of T shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and baseball caps.
- Since 2010 member of the steering group of The British Fashion Council Colleges Council, an area of the British Fashion Council which aims to build and develop links between design education and the fashion industry
- Executive trustee of Graduate Fashion Week. The executive trustees are voted onto the committee each year by university members nationally, recently voted back onto the committee for 2012 for the fourth consecutive year.
- Bath in Fashion is a week long fashion festival held in Bath each year, Louise has been instrumental in raising the profile and direction of the event since it's conception in 2010, and has been appointed Creative Director for 2012 working alongside Iain R Webb, local business's and Bath city centre teams. Responsible for bringing London Fashion Week show producer and stylist to Bath, as well as key designers and speakers, and hosting Fashion Your Future, an event to broaden awareness of the many varied roles within the fashion industry with a panel consisting of industry professionals.