Monday, 2 August 2010

STYLISA interviews Jessica Lowe from Harvey Nichols

We were lucky enough to get five minutes with the lovely Jessica Lowe, who is the Press and Marketing Manager at Harvey Nichols in Manchester...

Jessica Lowe with shoe designer, Nicholas Kirkwood

What is your role at Harvey Nichols Manchester?
I am the Press and Marketing Manager. It is my job to think of different ways to entice new and existing customers into the store whether it be through communication about products and promotions in the local press, social media, e-newsletters or our website, arranging fabulous events for our customers or working to bring some Harvey Nichols Magic to external events, especially the charity events that we support.  In summary it is my job to spread the Harvey Nichols word!

How did you get into the world of luxury fashion?
I've always had an interest in fashion, even from an early age.  In fact when I was eight years old I came second in a competition to design a new outfit for Barbie.  I was on the Clothes Show, and even got the opportunity to meet Jeff Banks.  Whilst I studied English at the University of Manchester, I worked for Topshop and was quickly promoted to being a Style Advisor.  I also used my fashion knowledge to write for the student paper and decided to pursue a career in fashion journalism.  I spent two years as the fashion Editor at legendary Magazine (in its original incarnation) City Life, which was a great experience.   Manchester has such a great retail mix from the boutiques of the Northern Quarter to world renowned brands like Harvey Nichols and I got paid to write about it every week.  I freelanced for a number of local magazines and I have written for  My role at City life led to a number of freelance positions working with Urbis on the Little Black Dress exhibition, taking a group of home-grown designers on a selling expedition to Barcelona for the Northwest Textiles Network, as well as styling shoots and arranging fashion shows.  Then I saw the job at Harvey Nichols and it had everything I wanted, not to mention the beautiful clothes and gorgeous beauty products and scrumptious food I get to work with every day!

What is an average day with the press and marketing office?
There is no such thing as an average day in the Press and Marketing office.  One day can involve brainstorming ideas with the store management team on events, and the next day I could be running around like a loon on fashion show day, making sure the models get to hair and make-up on time, or it could just be as simple as updating our website or twitter with fabulous new products.

What are the highlights of the job?
Well the obvious perks are getting to work with, try on and sometimes buy (at a discount!) very beautiful and expensive clothes.  We also have some incredible beauty brands and I get treated to lovely facials and get to try out revolutionary new products.  But I think that the main thing that has stopped me from straying from the job over the last four years is the amazing feeling you get when you pull off a really fantastic event. Especially when I get up the next morning, and see our event on the cover of the Manchester Evening News and hear nothing but great things from our customers.

And the challenges???
Working alone on a lot of projects can be tough, as can the long hours. But it's all worth it!

Do you have a favourite designer?
I have several, and it can often change from season to season depending on the collection, but winners for me include; Marc Jacobs, whose collections are always fun, youthful and very wearable; I also adore Lanvin dresses, I love the beautiful fabrics and interesting cuts but the fact that they are slightly roughly finished just suits my personality perfectly, I don't do too polished; and Miu Miu accessories are always at the top of my wish list.

When dressing for work, do you wear purely designer clothing or do you mix your designer with high street labels?
I tend to buy what I like, regardless of the label (price permitting of course!).  I like things that are unique or that I can style in a slightly different way.  Fashion should be descriptive not prescriptive, I hate it when magazines tell us what we 'should be wearing this season'. Clothes should express who we are or what we feel on that particular day! 

What do you believe true style is?
I think that style is the ability to translate your personality through the way you dress.  If you get this right, your clothes will always suit you. You can spot it a mile away when someone isn't comfortable in what they're wearing no matter how 'This Season' it is. 

What is your top tip for spring/summer fashion?
Summer is the time to be girlie! Get our your prettiest prints and floatiest frocks and you can guarantee the weather will feel fine even if the sun doesn't have its hat on!

Finally, what advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into the world of fashion retail?
Know the business as a whole, it's an ever changing industry so always be aware of you customers, your competition and product. It's not enough to just love clothes... but it does help!

Check out Harvey Nichols Manchester here


  1. This was a really great interview. She seems to be very dedicated to her job and have a whirl doing it!

    Sarah Betty

  2. This is a fantastic interview! Thanks Stylisa!