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; and for 2013 will host 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. Other guests throughout the week include Roland Mouret, David Downton and Julie Verhoeven.