Name: Sue Barrett
Daily work: Creative Consultant in Trend Forecasting, Denim + Marketing
Who are you and what are you doing within the denim industry?
I think it’s fair to say that I’m a bit of an omlet! Or in other words a creative consultant who operates in the fields of Trend Forecasting / Marketing Consultancy / Denim + Casualwear Consultancy / Social Media strategies / Lecturing / Life Coaching / Public Speaking.
Essentially I look for the catalyst that make things stand out and yet also fit in for the perfect mix.
With a background in design and trend forecasting, I work with companies and individuals in a number of different ways. I’m happiest when concept building and working out strategies on how to deliver new products and mapping the big big ideas. It’s like storytelling and mentoring rolled into one.
What are you currently working on?
I exist to inspire beautiful products and meaningful content; whether that’s for companies, individuals or colleges.
What is the biggest achievement so far in your career?
Friendships and experiences are what always stay with me. It may not be everyone’s idea of achievement but then not everyone shares the same values of ‘what is success’ for example.
I am really fortunate for all the great research trips. Working at WGSN there were so many funny moments doing street shots. I mean, being on your knees in a nightclub in Ibiza photographing summer denim shorts and travelling around the festivals and high streets shooting cool people in their denim and streetwear. Perfect mix of tiring and fun. It felt like we were always on the road and heading to another airport.
I dearly treasure the great friendships I’ve made along the way. The unique thing about staying in an industry like the denim industry is the enduring friendships that remain and grow season after season.
What is/are your favorite denim brand(s), and why?
I confess I’m not very brand loyal. I lean towards vintage mixed in with an enduring love of Swedish and Japanese brands. Somewhere between Swedish minimal street style and Japanese repro culture mixed in with LA vintage. And just add sunshine. Though living in the UK makes that difficult :-)
I get excited by great fabric sourcing from brands like Our Legacy and denim from OrSlow. Both reflect to me the richness and quality in vintage fabrics.
Typical eclectic British mash-up!?
What is your favorite denim store, and why?
What thrills me is how things are combined and curated in stores.Combining unusual and surprising flavours. One of my go to stores for inspiration who do that do that really are Garbstore + The Couverture + Goodhood.
I was once told my style was basically Japanese mens streetwear. I’m still both confused and flattered. So for inspiration I gravitate between stores that curate vintage, vintage repro style and streetwear.
What do you think we can expect in the (near) future of denim developments as it
comes to sustainability?
“Make denim great again” is what we’ve all hoped for. Quality products, made to fall in love with and evolve to reflect our own personal uniqueness. A keeper’s mindset. Let’s keep the intention to make that happen!
Amazing to watch to growth of premium vintage. I’ll never forget when I was at Wrangler Europe in the 90’s. We were introducing a new laundered denim line that was 5years, 10 years and 15 years washed. We were really excited but an Italian sales person in the group was frantic, saying “only poor people and students buy second hand, so why would anyone want to buy those washes?” And now look. Yes, it’s huge for the youth market with the boom in Depop but I think fashion vintage will stay for all market levels. To create those beautiful fades with great character that can be handed down generations needs quality denim, not disposable denim.
What is the most valuable lesson your have learned during your work?
To always look for the soul in products, companies and people.
If you could be someone else for one day, who would you be, and why?
What’s that great quote that says something like, “Be careful who you pretend to be, you might forget who you are”?
It’s a waste of time is trying to compare yourself to others. And to change yourself to suit their needs. Much better to focus on being the best version of oneself.
Being someone else and trying to be something you’re not just isn’t what we’re here for.
Can you describe your ultimate pair of jeans?
I was just reading this question outlaid and my ten year old son looked over at me and said, “Mum, just tell them what you always tell me. That the older and more worn in the jeans, the more character and more stories they have lived”.
I’m proud to have passed on that mindset and passion for storytelling to a new generation.
Do you have a life slogan, or one that inspires you?
Can I have two? The fridge magnets of my life are pretty much…
“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything”.
And also …
“It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years”.