Emma Barclay (née Hallett) (2006)
Emma discusses her work in events at Vivienne Westwood and fondly remembers the annual school concerts
My most recent role as Head of the Events Department at Vivienne Westwood has been the most exciting of my career to date. I was responsible for setting, planning and delivering the international events calendar which included biannual Fashion Shows in London and Paris; managing special projects such as brand expansion in the US; alongside press and retail events in existing and emerging markets.
I loved the thrill and excitement of the role – working in a world with huge characters, fabulous fashionistas, international travel, A-list celebrities attending the events, press & papparazi in tow and delivering events in the knowledge that Shows were being watched live by a global audience. For me, being able to deliver an event successfully, after sometimes months of planning, has always been a fun, rewarding and exhilarating experience.
However, more importantly, nestled amongst all this fashion noise are Vivienne’s core values and campaigns that are close to my own heart. Some of these focus around, ‘save the rainforest’, ‘save the arctic’, ‘stop climate change’, ‘anti-fracking’ and promoting ethical fashion. Being given the opportunity to work on a global platform to raise awareness and support for campaigns such as these, through events, was the most rewarding part of the role for me.
Working in the events industry requires you to have a whole host of skills. A logical, analytical and practical mind is key, as are strong numeracy skills and an artistic eye. Core in this role is communication as you act as the project manager bringing a host of different elements together all at once.
One of my favourite things about St. James was the annual school concerts where Mrs. Gorman somehow managed to unite us all, singers and non-singers, into a cohesive super-sounding assembly. Despite being a particularly quiet, probably off-key soprano, usually placed far to the back I loved the build-up and the anticipation of all our collaborative hard work finally coming off. I also remember being involved in delivering, perfectly planned-out and spectacularly beautiful dinners at Art in Action and the Art of Hospitality, which offered an insight to the beauty, effort and discipline it takes to deliver a successful event. And whilst not directly related to my career, I have always enjoyed having the awesome fact up my sleeve that I have a GCSE in Sanskrit!
After over ten years working in London across multiple event industries, my journey has taken me from small private dinners to Royal Ascot, the 2012 Olympics and to NY & Paris Fashion Weeks. My next steps take me to Cape Town, where plans are underway to launch an events business of my own - something that has always been a personal goal of mine. Please look me up if you are in town!