A few weeks ago we hooked up with Sophia from style blog Girl in Menswear for a guest post on tuxedos, and our collaboration didn't end there... Sophia doesn't just write about wearing menswear, she also meets the girls who work in it, through her industry insider interviews. Cue, Jen, our Menswear Knitwear & Jersey designer. Sophia asked her what it's like working in a 'man's' world. Here's a sneak preview of the interview.

Sophia: How did your career in fashion begin – with a love of menswear or womenswear?

Jen: I began designing womenswear when I first started studying at uni but when the opportunity for a mens/womens combined group project came up I thought I’d try another discipline. I really enjoyed the different thought processes involved as a female designing menswear, I liked the challenge, so I continued along this route.

Sophia: Is it a man’s world when you work in menswear, or is being a woman an advantage?

Jen: Our team is actually an equal split of men and women so the world I work in isn’t really a man’s world in that respect.  However, I always really appreciate my male colleagues’ view points and opinions on my work as this helps to flag up anything that I might not have thought of as a female. I feel it’s an advantage being a woman working on menswear, as I can draw inspiration from a highly creative and influential womenswear world and bring this into menswear, to push boundaries and hopefully come up with some innovative ideas!

Sophia: What are the biggest challenges you face as a fashion designer?

Jen: Time/cost restrictions and a need to work within constraints relevant to the market level are always a challenge, although with the endless possibilities this is also a positive…to have some boundaries to work within! To be able to cast a critical eye over your own work and not get too personally attached to an idea is also a challenge, it’s important to remember who the customer is and what the brand is all about.

Sophia: What advice would you offer aspiring menswear designers?

Jen: The best advice I could offer is to keep your eyes and ears open! Be aware of who and what is out there, visit shops regularly, understand market levels intently and just soak it all up! I’m a magpie for images, fabric swatches, books, colours, vintage or anything that’s interesting to me, so build up an archive and see how you can bring these things into menswear to create the most innovative menswear collection you can.

Please head to Girl in Menswear to read the rest of the interview.