Thursday, 25 November 2010

Sarah Hutton-Joel - Graduate student

After completing her HND in Fashion Business at Adam Smith College, Sarah Hutton-Joel is doing well . . .

Congratulations on the recent birth of Maisie, a wee sister for Finlay. Could you outline your current position in the Next Buying Department for us?

At present I am on maternity leave from Next where I am based in their head office in Leicester. I am a trainee buyer working in the Baby Girls Woven Department in Childrenswear. Products covered by our team are jackets, dresses, trousers, skirts, shorts, blouses and knitwear from 3-6 months to 4-5 years. I have completed my 18 month probationary period and hope to be promoted to Assistant Buyer upon my return.

After Adam Smith College, what did you do next?

After high school, I spent a few years drifting as I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do career-wise. I had my son and worked in retail whilst looking after him. When he started primary school, I enrolled at Adam Smith on the HND Fashion Business course. I had been working in Next for several years and loved the brand and how customers felt transformed by the clothing. Little did I know how the course would transorm my life. The tutors encouraged and believed in me. This motivated me and gave me the confidence to follow my dreams. In my first year I was fortunate enough to receive a Russell Trust Scholarship that funded some essential books, stationary, PC supplies. At the end of that year, my garment was photographed in the college fashion show and made the Glasgow Herald and The Courier. I had never considered myself to be 'arty' so this made me understand that I could realise my potential.

I was lucky enough to be offered 5 places on different University courses and I accepted BA(Hons) International Fashion Business at Nottingham, Trent University. This was the right choice for me because it involved working on 'live' fashion projects with industry, a dissertation, trip to Florence and many guest speakers. One live project involved presenting a fashion forecast to a prediction agency that resulted in 2 students offered placements on completion of their degree at their London HQ. Students also had the responsibility of contacting and organising our own guest speakers which meant learning how to sell ourselves. We met lots of very interesting contacts. Did I mention that this course is only open to 10 students in the whole of the UK per year? We were selected on commitment, experience and on what we could contribute to the course. A further 10 students are from overseas so it was a truly international experience. This was a final year top up degree centred around others already doing fashion courses at NTU. Coming from an HND and a sleepy town like Kirkcaldy made me feel fortunate and privilged just to even be there but it just shows what you can do after Adam Smith College if you try and shows how good the courses are there. It was very hard work but extremely rewarding and I had an honours degree after one year. This was important for me as a mature student and a single mother I was eager to begin my career. I also didn't want to rack up more student debt than I needed to. Nottingham was a huge draw in itself as an inspiring place to study and historically important to the fashion industry.

More from Sarah soon . . .


  1. What a wonderful endorsement of the good work you all do at Adam Smith College!