Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Design

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Fashion Forum: Lewis Firth

October 20th, 2016

Graduating from Fashion Design in 2014, Lewis Firth is now the Digital Editor of Garage Magazine.  

Part of a team at the forefront of bridging the gap between print and digital media, Lewis often works with global brands to coordinate interactive cover shoots and scannable pages.

 

Last week (13th October 2016) Lewis came back onto campus to take part in our immensely popular Fashion Forum series, which invites industry experts into the School each week to impart their knowledge, tips and experiences to our fashion students

Garage Magazine, Lewis Firth, Fashion Forum, School of Design, University of Leeds

As a student, programme leader David Backhouse describes Lewis as, “incredibly focused and driven. He would often admit that he wasn’t at university to make friends, he was there to get a degree.”

It’s this frank and no-nonsense attitude which is behind everything Lewis does and which made for a very open and honest talk about his career journey, and thoughts on the fashion industry as a whole.

It was arguably a Fashion Forum he attended himself as a student that helped Lewis get his foot in the industry door, confidently enquiring about an internship after a talk from i-D Magazine.

Garage Magazine, Lewis Firth, University of Leeds, Fashion Forum, School of Designj

Soon finding himself in their office, Lewis helped with everything from writing to production, management to styling. His “Yes Man” attitude to gaining experience would see him take on jobs which he openly admits he had no prior experience in;

“I remember being asked if I could make a scale model,” he recalls.  “I just said yes. I had never made a scale model before and found myself Googling it that night. Just say yes to everything, then Google it later.”

After graduating from University of Leeds, Lewis moved into a role in the in-house magazine at Harrods, spent more time at i-D magazine and was a staff writer at Hero Magazine before taking his place within Garage.  Picking up the “Rising Star” Award at the Fashion and Beauty Monitor Journalism Awards along the way.

Garage Magazine, University of Leeds, School of Design, Digital, SnapChat, Fashion ForumBut even for someone who has packed so much into their relatively short career already, the road to success hasn’t always been a smooth one;

“Don’t think that I went straight from one job to another one,” Lewis explains. “At times I would often find myself in periods without a job, living in London and not knowing where my next job was coming from.”

However, even the high living costs of the big smoke couldn’t tempt Lewis to take jobs within companies that he didn’t personally respect, recalling offers which he turned down due to creative differences.

Holding out for jobs he could fully get on board with, his first interview for Garage was with owner of the magazine, Dasha Zhukrova at her palatial home. These surroundings were miles away from anything Lewis had experienced before, but no matter what the environment he’s never felt the need to fit in.

“It’s a completely different world from where I’m from but I didn’t change the way I spoke or dressed, or anything like that,” says Lewis, wearing a large hooded jacket.

“I think that’s really important,” he adds. “People can tell when you’re trying to put on a character. I have lots of interns trying to make out that they have worked in the art world before and have done all the posh stuff, but you can tell they are just trying to get one over on you.”

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Finishing the session on a Q & A, Lewis was quizzed about his plans for the future. Where did he see himself going now that he holds such an enviable role? His answer is simple;

“ I don’t really have a plan. I know that my plan is to be successful, I don’t have a plan of where that success will come from.”

Our next Fashion Forum speaker takes us from Lewis, a fairly new body to the world of journalism, to Eric Musgrave who has been observing and writing about the fashion business since 1980.

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