Member of the Month: May 2014
A one-time GYP quizmaster, Alan runs his own award-winning fashion label, ten30, and he recently help set up a pop-up shop in Princes Square which showcased his work alongside other Scottish designers. Read on to find out about a man with a passion for fashion!
What’s your background?
I was born and raised in Clarkston in the south side of Glasgow, although my grandmother has always lived in the Townhead area of the city, so I’ve always felt a connection with the city centre. I was accepted into Glasgow School of Art with my high school folio, where I gained a BA(HONS) Degree in textile design. The four years I spent at art school were some of the best of my life: the way of thinking and teaching at GSA is entirely unique, and has contributed greatly to the way I have gone into business and how I continue to work as a professional.
Tell us about your company.
I am the sole director and designer of the fashion brand, ten30. The company was started in 2011, 2 years after I graduated, and has seen many changes, ups and downs, successes and failures. My job at the label includes everything from designing the collection, sourcing the raw materials, dealing with the manufacturers, building the brand, marketing and sales to book keeping, website analytics, social media and everything else in between.
Starting a company on my own was a natural progression and an inevitability. Having worked at other labels in the past and at various levels within the fashion industry, I had my own ideas as to what works and what doesn’t, where companies were going wrong and how to fix problems that arose. I am stubborn and usually think my way of doing things is better than everyone else’s, so I decided to stop moaning about other people’s failures and do it myself. The journey has been long and hard, physically, emotionally and financially, but I have a huge network of friends and family who have always stuck by me and reminded me not to give up, and for that I am eternally grateful.
Working in the creative industries is tough, and it’s hard to make money. But as a creative individual, the most rewarding part of the job isn’t the bonus at the end of the year, or the targets that you hit; it’s the feeling that someone appreciates your creations so much that they’re willing to part with their money for it. There is no better feeling than knowing that someone desires what you have made or created, for someone to save money to buy your concept because they want it so much they don’t care how much it costs. In fashion, there is a real sense of satisfaction around seeing people being made happy, purely because of what they’re wearing, and a sense of accomplishment when that garment was designed or made by you.
If money and time were no object, what would you do?
I’d take some time off, I rarely do and I regret the fact that sometimes I neglect the people closest to me because I work so much. In saying that, I’d still continue with the label (and I don’t mean that in the same way that lottery winners, who work in the post office or ASDA keep working to maintain some normality and routine in their lives!). ten30 has grown from an idea and a concept into a brand; we’ve had ups and downs, but I believe it has the potential to continue to grow into a major company and I want to be part of that journey, taking the rough with the smooth and coming out at the other end better off. I want the brand to grow and to inspire others: our ethos of locally sourced raw materials and Scottish manufacturing has been our mantra from the beginning, and I’d like to think that we champion this idea and inspire other new brands to think the same way.
When you’re not working what do you enjoy doing?
In my spare time I do a lot of embroidery. I studied embroidery at art school and I don’t really get to incorporate it into my work right now, so at the moment it’s more of a hobby. Embroidery is great as I can completely switch off and forget about work for a few hours. I love getting away from the city, and when we can, my girlfriend and I will go somewhere like Oban for a few days and do nothing but eat good food and drink good wine. I’m also a bit of a geek and read a lot of comic books.
Book – Not recently but one I’ve read many times and one of my favourites – Jonathan Livingston: Seagull.
Cinema/theatre – Not seen a film or show in ages unfortunately, the last film I saw was Star Trek: Into Darkness at the Imax, which I thought was visually awesome (although the same cannot be said for the film content).
Why did you join GYP? Any advice for new members or those thinking about coming to their first event?
I liked the atmosphere and felt very welcome at the first event I attended. I joined as I felt that GYP has a great ethos of networking and community support. One thing that appealed to me was that, despite the diversity of the industries represented within the GYP, I felt a shared attitude amongst its members. The benefit of having such a diverse range of people is that the networking potential and longevity is unrivalled by things like corporate networking events. My advice for any new members or anyone thinking of attending a GYP event would be to be open, don’t look at it as a “networking” event, just go along and talk to people – you never know what might come from a conversation.
What has been your favourite GYP event and why?
The James Bond themed quiz night was fantastic. I felt it was executed well and was a great idea.
Which upcoming GYP event are you most looking forward to and why? Are there any events you would like to see us run?
The monthly drinks are always good fun to attend: they’re in a beautiful setting, the atmosphere is very relaxed and makes for a great evening. I’d like to see more events that centre round a speaker or industry expert, something that people can attend not only to network with peers, but to learn from people that they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to speak to.