Fashion From the Dark Side

Ms Porter's Hats - Earl Piggot Smith

You wouldn’t think that fashion designing and banking would mix. The two worlds only seem to meet on on a place like Bond Street, where glistening Louis Vuitton and Prada bags try to lure you in as you walk past shop windows.

Behind the facade of smiling sales assistants’ faces and chinking of the tills as your platinum card takes its latest hit - have you ever wondered what really goes on?

Maybe with your love of fashion you have secretly wondered: what if I gave all this up and worked with what I love? Think of all the fashion freebies I could get. I would never have to pay full price for couture again!

Take it from one who has seen both sides of the coin. It's not pretty. We think that competing for jobs in the City is hard. You go to a good university, get a good grades, take the exams, dress ‘posh’ to impress the boss, and bingo - you're in.

Spare a thought for the fashion interns. They go to a good university get a good grades and then have to offer their services for free for as long as it takes to get a job that pays not a lot more than minimum wage...if they are lucky. They also work all hours for bosses who will call them at 4am to demand their services. The Devil wears Prada was a kind version of what really goes on in the fashion industry. It really is a life of blood sweat and tears, not so different from us so it would seem.

When my budding City career path took a twist a few years ago, I changed my out-of-office focus from chasing guys to becoming a becoming a couture designer. I began working at an investment bank with nice buildings, nice work, and nice people. I couldn’t ask for much more - until a few months ago. I got a call from a fashion journalist who had decided to set up a catwalk fashion house, The London Catwalk Club, to showcase young designers alongside established couture fashion week designers, and raise money for Charity whilst doing so. Couture with a conscience, as we like to call it.

I'm now a resident designer for the house, and the events are great fun. In my last show I sent the the girls out wearing big white City-boy shirts, high heels and couture hats. As the papers state (well, the Sunday Times at least), the sex bomb is back. Sizzling and spot on. With lots of alcohol, great bands, and male models that are so hot you go funny all over just thinking about them, I'm already looking forward to our next show later this month.

But I appreciate that I am one of the lucky ones. So next time you think about giving up your City job to pursue your dream, try looking at it practically. Maybe you can do both, just remember you are probably in a great place right where you are now.

The next London Catwalk Club will be a Celebrity Special Bash fashion show the end of the month at Movida, and will include VIP entrance at the club. The one following will be at The Collection on Brompton Road on the 20th of December, and will be a Hollywood Bollywood Charity Benefit Ball. For more details, along with the charities that will be supported, please email

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