Stephanie, you’re the buyer at Grand Frank, can you tell us what your role entails day to day?
Most of my time is spent sourcing fabrics and materials, online, over the phone and by visiting factories. I get samples made, and then review them with the rest of the Grand Frank design team. The samples are never right the first time! My role is really all about communication. We’re trying to translate a design into a physical product and so we need to be able to communicate our ideas clearly through every stage of the manufacturing process. This is much easier to do in person so taking the time to visit the factories and cloth mills is so important.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job, and what do you find the most challenging?
I like being involved in the process from concept to the finished article, bringing an idea to life. I’m a very social person, I love meeting people and travelling, and this industry is all about relationships so it suits me that I get to travel often, experience different cultures and learn a lot. I trained in textile technology so I enjoy the nerdy aspect of seeing production facilities and could spend hours just watching a loom do its thing.
The most challenging aspect of my job is establishing those relationships. A supplier has to be more than a business contact, it helps when they’re a friend, someone you can work with on a human level. That can be difficult in an international industry with language barriers. From a technical perspective colours are particularly hard to get consistent, from a sketch, to an on-screen image, to a raw material, spun fabric, and finally the finished article.
The travelling sounds exciting is there anywhere you’re particularly longing to visit?
I want to visit the south of England, Cornwall and Devon, and try afternoon tea! For work I want to visit all the Italian cloth mills, I love the history, and how entwined the factories are with their regions - it’s something lacking from Sweden.
Obviously being female you don't wear Grand Frank designs every day, so how would you describe your own personal style?
I’ve got quite a classic feminine style, my friends describe me as a modern grandma. I’m attracted to small details such as a fabric’s texture rather than bold colour blocking. I always seek out quality materials, and pure, natural fibres where possible.
Grand Frank defines itself as a menswear brand with a focus on style rather than fashion, so what would you say marks a man out as having good style?
I love it when a man has the courage to dress however he likes, rather than how the current trend dictates, and when he dares to stand out a little. Dressing confidently is a very attractive trait.
Is there anyone who inspires you style wise and why?
There’s not really a specific person, but old Chinese films and martial arts films inspire me. I find the flowing layers of fabric and movement in the outfits so captivating. It’s hard to wear in Sweden but it is beautiful!
I also love the Advanced Style blog. It’s a style blog of older men and women who have a real confidence that comes with age. They’ve developed their own style over the years and don’t give a shit about trends.