Nutmeg: the value of an internship

SDC member Rebecca Diggle is a Decorative Arts graduate from Nottingham Trent University. She won the UK heat of SDC’s International Design Competition in 2013, and was runner up in the grand final which took place in Mumbai, India. Below she writes about a recent internship SDC organised for her at Nutmeg, and which was supported by an SDC bursary.

On the 20th October I started a four-week internship with Nutmeg, the children’s clothing line of Wm Morrison Supermarket. This position was organised through the SDC and Nutmeg and was a wonderful opportunity for me to experience design in a commercial situation.

nutmegFrom the outset I felt that Nutmeg would be a great company to work for: at my interview with head designer Katy and Andrea who is the babywear designer, I was made to feel welcome. Even before the internship began the company helped me; suggesting that I live in Nottingham, a city I already knew well as I studied there and had friends there, and arranging for me to join a car share, which meant that I got to know other people within the company.

On the first day of the internship I was given a tour round the company and introduced to each of the departments within Nutmeg, everyone was very welcoming and made me feel part of the team straight away. I was given a two-week project, which was to look into the emerging trends for AW 15 and then to present this at the Nutmeg team talk. This gave me a target to work towards and it was good to be working on something that I was responsible for. I enjoyed every day I worked at Nutmeg and for most of the time I was helping out the designers with making amendments, research and colour palettes as well as organising the current and past sample collections.

At Nutmeg I experienced the whole workings of a brand: sitting in on the weekly trade meetings where the rate of sales for garments and the profit margins were discussed. Learning what the roles of the merchandiser, buyer and technical developer involved as well as that of a designer. The tasks I was given involved me in designing clothes and drawing outlines for brief sheets as well as designing placement prints for children’s T-shirts.

Rebecca at the SDC International Design Competition final in Mumbai in 2013

Rebecca at the SDC International Design Competition final in Mumbai in 2013

Throughout the internship the designers made sure I was working well and that I was happy with what I was learning and in the tasks I was doing. I approached this internship with the desire to gain an understanding of the whole process of getting a collection from initial ideas to the shop floor. From my month at Nutmeg they made sure this happened, giving me explanations of each part of the company and by the end I fully understood each of the roles in bringing a design to the customer and beyond. Also I wanted to improve my Illustrator skills and for this I was given tasks on the program frequently and my proficiency on the program improved enormously.

Nutmeg is a great company to work for, the office has a lovely atmosphere and everyone is chatty but focused on bringing the best to the brand. During my month there were charity cake sales as well as Halloween celebrations with people dressing up and a pumpkin competition.

This experience has given me a great grounding in fashion and I will be taking everything I have learnt on to future roles, to grow my career.

I would like to thank everyone at Nutmeg who encouraged me within the internship and made me feel so welcome.

Katy Percival, Head of Design for Nutmeg Clothing commented: ‘part of the Nutmeg philosophy is to invest in and nurture new talent, our collaboration with the SDC has proven to be highly successful with Rebecca’s recent placement.  Rebecca fitted in to the team like a glove.  She supported us on many day to day tasks as well as creating graphics for the team and compiling brief sheets.  Her final task was to present fresh trends to everyone in Nutmeg which she did with confidence.  I would be happy to offer Rebecca a role if the opportunity arose’.

If you’re interested in an SDC internship, please email: marketing@sdc.org.uk.  There’s further information on our website if you’re interested in the SDC International Design Competition.

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