He’s fluent in fashion, paid to buy clothes, and seeks quality well beyond the tangible.
Meet Jim Morrall, our Senior Buyer.
What does it mean when you’re a Senior Buyer?
I love this question, people ask it all the time… what can I say… I really am paid and trained to buy clothes! Incredulous as most people find that, I will say that the clothes aren’t bought with myself in mind, and that the buy involves partnership with merchandise planning, design and our partners in the factories and mills. It’s a constant negotiation and dialogue, with the end goal of developing a cool (profitable!) collection.
With fashion as an industry being in such turbulent times, can you tell us any trends that you’ve noted in the buying game?
The industry is indeed in turbulent times but the only constant in this game is the change, the turbulence. I did an inspiration shop in London in April and went to Dover Street Market in passing… What blew my socks off was seeing the opulent, indulgent, kitsch 1970s Gucci presentation placed right opposite Raf Simons and this 1990s-minimal mood. The dialogue between these two trends is fairly uncomfortable, as if they are counter movements with fairly strong opinions about each other.
What have your learnt about people through your job?
Human psychology is complicated, and that is manifested in apparel. Normally I look at our data and I see either a risk or an opportunity for the business, but every so often a little anthropological hypothesis start to form in my mind…
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What’s the most difficult thing about your job?
Switching off. Clothes and shops are EVERYWHERE.
What’s it like working in a startup compared to your previous jobs?
It’s like riding a dirt bike, as opposed to steering a cruise liner.
What interests you in fashion?
The clothes that people wear are telling of their self, their time and their place… but sometimes I check out from all that and just appreciate a print, a colour, a fabric or a silhouette. Art for art’s sake!
Can you tell us a bit about the places you’ve lived, what led you there, and how they influenced you as a person?
The universe has led me to a few places, some of which I would have hoped to predict as a kid, others were total curve balls. Geneva taught me that money can’t buy imagination. New York and Hong Kong confirmed to me that I crave constant flux. Living in Bordeaux was a very, very pleasurable lesson in l’art de vivre.
What do you look for in quality when it comes to curating your life?
I like spending quality time with quality people in quality places – eating street food in Taipei, having a pint of real ale in an old English pub. I also love buying quality things, although defining quality can be subjective. For example, I think the London Underground map is the best example of graphic design ever made so I have one on my wall. It honestly soothes me, the graphic clarity. I also have a great hand-woven Kashmiri rug with a lovely lustre that I bought in Mumbai, and the whole negotiation and ceremony of buying it was itself a quality experience.
Do have any tips for finding work / life balance? Have you found it yet?
Find a job that you love. Work smart and be nice to your team. That way, even if you don’t switch off it’s for the right reasons.