Jemma Persson

What do you do now?

I am a Newborn Graduate Designer at the Next Head Office in Leicester.Jemma Persson 2.png

I completed a First Class Honours undergraduate degree in Fashion Design and Technology at Manchester Metropolitan University. I won the Fielding and Nicholson Tailoring Competition and was an Old Navy top five finalist. I also experimented with my handwriting as a designer - I loved tailoring and sewing, but I also loved doing fun and quirky designs. During my third year I undertook a placement at Christy’s By Design, one of the UK’s biggest suppliers of dress-up and fancy dress costumes to the high street. If you get the opportunity to do a sandwich year, I recommend it! Gaining experience before completing your degree makes you more desirable to employers once you graduate.

Alongside my course I began a career as a Stylist at AllSaints, going from part-time to full-time once I finished university. I progressed to becoming a Senior Stylist at Trafford Centre AllSaints, where I was responsible for being a role model to the other stylists, managing my team and having the knowledge to inspire customers.

Then, an opportunity for me came through on LinkedIn, a role as a Newborn Designer for Next. I design all the sleepsuits and rompers, and my designs appear all over the world! I absolutely love it, and it’s been an amazing experience. My daily tasks include CAD design of costumes; working on moodboards for customer meetings, shop research, liaising with suppliers, design, preparing samples, attending meetings, reporting to the Design Manager and using Adobe Photoshop and/or Adobe Illustrator. I also recently launched my own business alongside full-time work called MollyCoddledYou, which provides clothing for dogs and their owners!

I loved South Craven, especially Sixth Form - all the tutors gave me the skills I needed to push myself and realise my dream as a Fashion Designer! I came from a creative family and my Grandma and Mum taught me how to sew at a young age. I dreamt of being a fashion designer and felt inspired during my Textiles lessons at school. I didn’t always want to be a designer, and at times I questioned which creative route I wanted to do. Once I got into sewing, I knew I wanted to do something I loved - making clothes! I got here by doing what I enjoyed doing the most, that’s the main thing.

What advice would you give your 17-year-old self?

Always be open to change!

I originally trained to be a Womenswear designer but now work in Childrenswear.

You never know where an opportunity might take you, and if you don’t like it you can always change! Don’t knock yourself down if you take a few steps back - that's what learning is!

What are you most proud of? 

Staying motivated. When you get knocked down, keep going and enjoy what you do - it will get you to somewhere you’ll love!