Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

The Elle team hits Ireland

Yesterday morning I headed along to Urban Outfitters in Temple Bar to meet the Elle magazine team, who were in Ireland for the day to scout for their From Shopgirl to Stylist competition. The idea behind the competition is to …

Thu, May 27, 2010, 12:00

   

Yesterday morning I headed along to Urban Outfitters in Temple Bar to meet the Elle magazine team, who were in Ireland for the day to scout for their From Shopgirl to Stylist competition. The idea behind the competition is to recognise the talent – and hard work – in sales assistants who really have the job of styling the nation, from, to a certain extent, behind the scenes.

High street stores now do so much more than provide clothes; we’ve all been into a store at some stage and begged the sales assistants to dress us. The chats you have in the changing rooms – “I’m going to a birthday and I want something cool but that I’ll wear again . . .” – that often end with you buying an item that you would never have thought of, but you love. Sales assistants, if you treat them right, can be your own personal shoppers – and Elle‘s idea is to recognise this and hire one as an intern to work with them in their London offices.

Image by the really talented Eimear Fitzmaurice, who seems to be involved in some new creative project every time I meet her.

The workshop in Urban yesterday morning was a quick challenge for the employees, to style mannequins (in teams), which were then assessed by Donna Wallace, accessories editor at Elle, before a winning group was decided upon, who would all win subscriptions to Elle. (So a pretty decent prize that works both ways – magazines for the competitors, brand awareness and, possibly, loyalty, for the company.)

I was really impressed with what the folks in Urban (from Dundrum and Temple Bar) put together; kooky, current looks that weren’t too trendy (which is always the fear with somewhere like Urban). They were all really perfect for summer, too, and not that Riviera summer we dream of and never get, but an Irish summer where you might need a cardigan, would probably carry a scarf, and would be just as likely to be wearing casual trousers as you would short shorts.

Image by Eimear Fitzmaurice

The ladies from Elle were also really friendly, professional, and so happy to answer all of our questions – and, despite the fact that the competition on the day was a little like an episode of America’s Next Top Model, but with less crying and running around, it was nothing like The Hills: not a bitchy upper East-sider in sight.

Eimear was also good enough to take some snaps of the Urban staff dressed up in what I was about to call their finery (because I’m turning into their mother) but it would probably be more accurate to call it their everyday garb, more’s the pity (for me), and I’ll be posting those tomorrow. A really great morning – and the best news is that the competition is open until next Friday, June 4th. Take it from me, if you work in retail and dream of styling glory, you do not want to miss out on it.

See details here and tell your friends. (Did you know, as an aside, that The Irish Times is looking for interns? See here.) And AND, Eimear also blogs here, and will put your musical collection to shame.

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