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Work in fashion: what does a collection manager do?

By Saraï van Well

4 May 2021

A look behind the scenes of a job: Is it really as cool as it seems or are there many hidden aspects? What skills do you need and how do you get such a job? For our ongoing "Work in Fashion" series at FashionUnited, we spoke to Floor van Eekeren, collection manager at Dutch fashion house Jan Taminiau, which offers bridal and ready-to-wear as well as couture.

How did you get this job?

I studied at the TMO Fashion Business School in Doorn, the Netherlands. While looking for an internship, I ended up at Jan Taminiau. I started there as an intern in the office and at events. During my internship I helped with the execution of the fashion show The Attic. That was my first fashion show - a very special experience.

I wanted to take away as much as I could from my time at Taminiau, and in addition to my internship, I visited other colleagues. Including the couture developer who makes sure the designer's creations become reality. Three years ago, she decided to do something else, and I took over her job.

Have you always had a soft spot for fashion?

When I was thirteen, I saw an exhibition of a Dutch designer at the Rijksmuseum that really impressed me. Her creations were art in themselves. Because I was so curious about how such a creation was constructed, I knew I wanted to do something with it. In addition, my grandfather works with fabrics with his own agency. With him I went to fabric fairs in Paris and heard stories about the world of fashion. Now he is over eighty, but he still works with a lot of joy. The fact that I now also have a job in the fashion industry in a couture house, where I work with a lot of passion, is a lot of fun.

What does a day as a collection manager look like?

I start by answering emails. Jan Taminiau also produces abroad, I take care of the contact with our workshops in the Netherlands and Spain and I am in contact with the suppliers in Italy, France and India. Other work varies per week. It is possible that all the looks in a collection are discussed. Then the studio and I sit down with Jan (Taminiau) and discuss how he sees the collection. My job is to do the briefing for all the teams so they can work with Jan's idea. I'm kind of like a spider on the web.

Another task is to create and monitor the budgets for the collections and shows. I also work on that throughout the process of creating the collection. In addition, I help set up exhibitions and am regularly abroad to talk to the teams or visit studios. My work is very diverse and lasts day and night, but that also makes it very demanding.

What skills do you need to be a collection manager?

It's not necessarily a skill, but I think it's important that I dare to make mistakes so I can learn from them. In addition, an essential skill is communication, both in words and in pictures. When you're working on a look for the collection, it's important to communicate clearly with the studios about how you want something to look, for example. It's an organic process in which every link is important and must run smoothly. Teamwork is therefore very important. Skills like reading a sketch or a pattern are important for this. When Jan draws something, it's crucial to be able to follow how he envisions embroidery, for example.

What is the most difficult and what is the most fun part of the job?

Communicating is the most important thing, but also the most difficult or hardest. We are an international brand that operates in different countries, which also brings many different cultures. The Dutch are direct and that can be quite intimidating in other countries. But other than that, it's nice to get to know so many people and cultures. I enjoy being involved in creating something beautiful and thinking about details every day. At Jan Taminiau, we work with a young, well-coordinated team that wants to get to work. That makes the job inspiring.

What is the moment from the last 3.5 years in your job that you remember most?

A moment from my internship, during The Attic fashion show. When the singer Sherry Dyanne played the song 'Feeling good' during the finale, I got goosebumps. I had never experienced anything like that before. I also really enjoyed traveling to Madrid a year and a half ago to help set up the Taminiau ready-to-wear collection. At that time, I flew to Spain every week to meet with the teams there. The variety between teams gave me a lot of energy.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.NL, translated and edited to English.

Photo: Atmosphere Image The Attic © credit Reinier RVDA