We all got out day started bright and early at Harrods before the doors were open to the public. We received a very informative guide that gave us a brief history of Harrods before she walked us through the store for our tour. Harrods was founded in 1834 by Charles Harrod and has grown to become one of the world’s largest department stores. The store occupies four and a half acres of land and has over one million square feet of selling space over seven floors. It also contains seven floors below ground that are used for storage. And just to get a picture of how large the building really is, on average there are 3,000 light bulbs changed a day!
Harrods currently has 330 departments and is known for carrying exclusive brands. For example they are the only retailer that offers Louis Vuitton merchandise outside one of their free-standing stores. Harrod’s currently employs over 5,000 people and caters to the upscale customer. Just recently they have added a room especially for those who have made an appointment for a personal shopper. A fact that I found interesting was that designers have a say in where their collection is put, for example who it is to be put next to or who not to be next to. This was by far the largest retail establishment I have ever witnessed first hand and would love to visit again and have the entire day to admire not only the merchandise but the layout and design of the store itself.
Later that evening we received a lecture from Prudence who is a hat designer for Vivienne Westwood. She has also designed hats for YSL, Gucci, and Lacoste. She explained how she broke into the industry as a hat designer and how she learned the art of designing a hat. She said to completely learn all the concepts and to understand the details of hat design it took her seven years. She then showed us a video of a Vivienne Westwood cowboy themed fashion show from only a few weeks beforehand, which of course included hats she had designed. Afterwards she gave us the chance to ask her any questions we had about the industry and gave us answers and advice on how to get started with our own future careers.