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DelValle heads for a career in fashion trend forecasting

In the third of a series on young Bermudians making their way in business overseas, ALEX WRIGHT catches up with fashionista Chan DelValle as she embarks on her trend forecasting career in London.

A young Bermudian is making her way in the world of fashion after landing an internship with a top London trend forecast company.

Chan DelValle is currently working for Trendstop.com as a womenswear research intern analysing the latest developments in fashion covering everything from organised and managing schedules and meetings for London Fashion Week to photographing street shots of individuals.

On her graduation from college in 2012, she plans to get a job with a major design house, trend forecasting company or established brand to help inspire or identify the next social, cultural, ethical or environmental trend that will have an impact on consumer behaviour.

Having attended Bermuda High School for Girls between September 2002 and 2005 where she received eight GCSE certificates, Ms DelValle completed her sixth form studies at Mandeville, Jamaica and attained four A Levels and a graduation certificate.

Deciding to take a gap year and focus on what she wanted to study and what best suited her future career, she attended American Intercontinental University in London from July 2008 to July 2009 where she read a BA Honours Degree in Fashion Marketing.

In September 2009, Ms DelValle was accepted to the University of East London and she is now in her senior year studying a BA Honours Degree in Fashion Trendforecasting and Predictions and will be graduating next year.

The 22-year-old from St George's developed her initial interest in fashion during her gap year in 2007 when she was employed by Honburg Calypso Ltd working at United Colors of Benetton.

“Bermuda I believe is quite limited with eccentric and outlandish apparel and I had to produce a different outfit every day for a five-day work shift to stand out,” she said. “So that's where I believe my fashion juices started to kick in and that's when I started to take inspiration from fashion magazines and fashion blogs.

“Working in the retail environment allowed me to tap into my creative and hands on skills and I took note and questioned for quite some time if Fashion was my purpose and passion to pursue. My mother also pursued a career in fashion in New York when she was my age so I took it as a sign and I'm been a fashion fanatic ever since taking the fashion industry by storm.”

Ms DelValle applied for a placement with Trendstop Ltd on the University of the Arts' creative opportunities website, was interviewed and hired all within the space of one week.

During her six months at the company, she has been part of a team analysing information on current and emerging trends from around the world, which are distilled into key themes and presented on its client site as visual-based forecast stories that are backed up with comprehensive supporting images and analysis.

No two days are the same and among her tasks and responsibilities have been uploading trend analysis, photography and catwalk shows onto the company website, formatting, editing and photoshopping images, text and data prior to publication, and researching womenswear trends, colour stories, retail reports and future trends to help initiate ideas and contributions towards the website.

Ms DelValle has also been involved in attending, photographing and documented press day events, assisting on the database system of the Trendstop Trendtracker App for Iphones, and liaising with press and potential clients.

“Trendstop has quite a small trend team which I absolutely loved because no one ever had the identity of being referred as an 'intern' or 'senior editor' - despite everyone's individual responsibilities and titles I was treated equally to the team,” she said.

“My opportunity as a research intern was limitless and I was mostly involved in many of the duties the editors partook in. My favourite two months at Trendstop was attending the Vauxhall Fashion Scout shows at London Fashion Week, Graduate Fashion Week and attending, photographing and documenting every Press Day Trendstop was invited to.

“Press days are hosted by the design houses which feature their season collections right off the catwalk shows to fashion editors, bloggers and freelance artists and writers to view, photograph and write about the clothing in first-hand. I attended press days from Lulu Guinness, Alexander McQueen, Moschino, Diesel, Topshop, Asos and many more.

“I honestly have never disliked anything from my internship other than the long days walking the city streets of London in heels and having to soak my feet in a warm bath to stop the numbness. I really felt welcomed and appreciated and never felt at any moment I was just another intern passing through.”

Citing learning the way a fashion forecasting company can predict trends which have manifested themselves on the global runways and at retail 12, 18 and 24 months after publication as one of the most eye-opening parts of the job, she said that acquiring the skills and techniques which she has explored through fieldwork, social observation, or just by utilising her imagination to envision future scenarios has been key to her role.

Singling her parents out as a guiding light throughout her life, Ms DelValle said that she has a lot to thank them for for getting where she is today.

“Not particularly in the field of fashion because most times they are quite confused on my fashion choices or I'm schooling them on the new fashion trends but they have been my biggest support system,” she said.

“As a small island girl living in a big city trying to break through such a competitive and cut-throat industry it gets quite tough and my parents have always strongly believed in my passion and always pushed me to break through barriers I thought I never could. So when or if I ever get famous my parents will be the first to get their 10 percent!”

Seeing herself in a career in trend forecasting, she believes that the opportunities are limitless with the ability to think five to 10 years ahead of time.

“In today's society everyone is always concerned about the here and now, they forever fail to see the new and next,” she said.

“They 'do' without thinking, and what thinking they do is done without imagination. So the best advice I could give is think the unthinkable, do the impossible and know the unknown because being an excellent fashion trend forecaster is envisioning the future and projecting the visible and transparent to less observant people.”

Are you a Bermudian student working abroad with a tale to tell? If so, contact the business desk at business@royalgazette.bm

Chan DelValle

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Published August 23, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated August 23, 2011 at 9:58 am)

DelValle heads for a career in fashion trend forecasting

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