A fashionable affair
Published: 25 Sep 2015
Name: Garry James
Company: Director of Highland Fashion Week and owner of We Are Giraffe
HAVE YOU ALWAYS HAD A PASSION FOR EVENTS?
When I was little, I would help organise small parties and events for friends
and family and I also took on a lot of work experience while at school and university to get a real taste of the industry.
I was one of those kids who always wanted to get involved in everything and anything I possibly could. My personality, and ability to work well as an individual and within a team, is certainly an aspect of mine which benefits me in my line of work.
WHAT MADE YOU START YOUR OWN COMPANY?
While working at London Fashion Week in 2014, brushing shoulders with Victoria Beckham and a number of different designers, celebrities and models, I discovered a passion for fashion and a fast-paced lifestyle.
Realising that there was a huge gap in the market for quirky events in Scotland, I took the skills and contacts I had built up throughout my time in London, and decided to launch my own events company, We Are Giraffe.
To date, we have organised a number of successful events including Highland Fashion Week, Highland Bakeoff, large fashion shows, and a wide range of events for clients.
WHAT DOES YOUR JOB ENTAIL?
Phonecalls with models, casting calls, photoshoots, organising exhibitors and coming up with creative event ideas. Designing and dressing the events is a large aspect of my role as well as sourcing key individuals in the industry including make-up artists, hairdressers, fashion designers, models, publicists to exhibit and get involved in the events.
My day-to-day schedule is pretty hectic, especially in the lead up to Highland Fashion Week, when it’s all hands on deck until the final curtain closes.
WHAT IS HIGHLAND FASHION WEEK AND WHAT IS ITS AIM?
Highland Fashion Week is a range of fashion events taking place across the Highlands and will run from Wednesday, October 7, to Sunday, October 11.
It is all about getting the public to engage with Scottish fashion. Educating the public about Scottish fashion is extremely important and events like the Grace Lily Lingerie Show will inform women about the correct underwear to wear in order to complement their figure.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT THE INDUSTRY?
Every day is different and no event is ever the same.
Collaboration is huge in the fashion world and I like to think I am collaborative in the events I produce by utilising specific and tailored aspects, to bring new concepts to the events.
IT MUST BE PRETTY CHAOTIC THROUGHOUT HIGHLAND FASHION WEEK, HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR COOL?
It’s important to not lose your head – everyone is looking to me to ensure the week runs smoothly so it’s vital that I organise and prepare myself weeks in advance.
Sometimes things don’t go to plan and that’s OK, reminding yourself of the end goal and how it can be achieved is a great way to stay focused on any project.
WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
Believe it or not, it came from Katie Price. Not exactly Cara Delevingne, but I met her when I was at university and she told me to always put on a brave face, and never give up. She also added that first impressions count, so it’s important to dress to impress, and always remember to hold your head high.
DO YOU THINK SCOTTISH FASHION GETS THE RECOGNITION
IT DESERVES NATIONALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY?
The development of Scottish fashion in recent years is apparent as we now have our own official Scottish Fashion Week as well as a number of well-known designers now taking the international markets by storm.
Heritage is a huge part of Scottish culture and through different styles and trends, Scottish fashion designers are now getting the chance to showcase their work in ways never seen before. It’s a very exciting time for Scottish fashion.