StyleTails caught up with Laura Southern, Menswear Buyer at Topman with her two stunning Staffs, Bella and Rudi.
Two rather enthusiastic Staffies definitely make for a very interesting photo shoot. I caught up with the lovely Laura Southern, Menswear Buyer at Topman and her Staffies, Bella and Rudi for a hysterical shoot at the Hunter S. Pub in De Beauvoir. Full of beans, Bella and Rudi bounded into the pub, keen for hugs and vying for attention. Without much need for coercion, both happy hounds hopped up onto the sofa ready for their moment of glory.
Laura talks to StyleTails about her undying love for smiling Staffs and an unfortunate incident involving a Burberry bandana.
How did you get your start in fashion buying?
I didn’t go the traditional route through University, I actually started on the shop floor and worked my way into buying. Before Topman, I spent seven years at Asos which was really amazing being part of a company which achieved such successful growth. I recently moved to Topman to buy for concessions and brands.
Fashion buying always sounds like a dream job – getting paid to shop. Is it really all we dream of or is there plenty of hard work?
I would be lying if I said it didn’t have its perks. You get to travel and see the world, meeting amazing people along the way which makes it so much fun. It does come with stress though as you’re responsible for a large budget and you have to make the right decisions about the product you buy.
What first inspired you to go into buying?
Definitely my love of product. When I was working on the shop floor I knew I wanted to have the power to make decisions about what product was chosen for the customer. When you know a customer is happy with their purchase and keep coming back to buy again, you know you have succeeded.
What made you choose menswear over womenswear?
My love of men’s clothing and brands – they are so much cooler and men are far more brand loyal. They are also easier to buy for because I can detach myself and see it purely as a business, without taking it personally. As long as you know who your customer is, then the rest just naturally follows.
Do you buy clothes for your boyfriend?
My boyfriend has is own style, which I like. I have tried to influence him in subtle ways but he has none of it, which is one of the reasons I find him so attractive – he won’t conform for anyone.
What’s your favourite menswear trend for the coming season?
I love streetwear, always have done. It has been a focus for menswear for a long time, but now it’s so commercial. Nike Roshe Trainers teamed with a pair of shorts and a Stussy Tie Dye tee is a good look for summer.
Do you find inspiration for your own wardrobe from the menswear department?
Yes! I am quite androgynous so I’ve always veered more towards mens styling. Oversized sweats, trainers, bomber jackets, that’s all I wear at the moment.
What’s your favourite thing in your wardrobe at the moment and why?
My Lazy Oaf Skull shirt, I wear it all the time. It’s such a cool quirky brand that don’t take themselves too seriously, which is what fashion should be all about.
What’s your worst fashion faux pas?
Ha! I’ve had a lot I’m afraid. The worst was possibly the Burberry bandana phase back in the garage days.
Tell us about your gorgeous Staffies Bella & Rudi
Bella and Rudi are both are rescue dogs and the loves of my life. Bella is four and Rudi is two. I’ve had them both from puppies. They love each other so much, Bella looks after Rudi like a big sister.
What made you choose Staffies?
I chose Staffies because I wanted to rescue and so many need good homes. They have such a bad reputation and I wanted to give them a chance. After growing up with all different kinds of breeds, I have to say that Staffies are by far my favourite.
Staffies get a lot of bad press, particularly in the UK. Do you think it’s fair?
No of course not. It is totally unjustified as they are the most beautiful and gentle of breeds. There is no such thing as a bad dog but there are plenty of bad owners. It’s hard when people do not understand the breed and the benefits of owning a Staffie. They are historically known as The Nanny dog as they are so protective and loyal, especially with children.
What’s the best thing about owning Staffies?
I love the way they smile! They make you feel so loved and they are real fun, they love to play and at night all they want is a cuddle.
QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS – Bella & Rudi:
ST: Describe Rudi in 3 words
Bella: Massive cry baby
ST: Describe Bella in 3 words
Rudi: Fit, Unavailable, Cool
ST: What’s Rudi’s best feature?
Bella: His bald patch, he’s self-conscious about it but I think it adds character
ST: What’s Bella’s worst habit?
Rudi: She stares at people and makes them feel uncomfortable
ST: Who would play Rudi in a film of his life?
Bella: The one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger, strong but sensitive
ST: What would you do if you were king for a day?
Rudi: Every female would stop and pet me, not bothered about the geezers
ST: What’s on your ipod?
Bella: Dj EZ, his latest set from the Boiler Room
ST: When was the last time you cried?
Rudi: To be honest, I never stop. I cant help it