Emma Willis has designed and launched a clothing collection with Next, a Spring/Summer 2019 edit featuring beachwear, nightwear and tailoring. She has shared her thoughts on being a career woman, stepping out of her comfort zone and how she never thought she’d try her hand at design.
“It’s a very different project. ‘Delivering babies’* has been absolutely a dream come true but designing clothes I suppose was initially something I never thought I would do as I didn’t train in that field. I didn’t go to design school and I am not naturally gifted with a pen and a piece of paper.”
From working as a presenter to training as an MCA, Emma’s career has been exciting and unusual. She shows that a professional trajectory doesn’t have to be linear; if you are passionate about a particular subject (whether that’s midwifery or design for example) there’s no reason why you shouldn’t pursue such avenues.
Although design wasn’t a field Emma had previously considered, she admits that her collection was fuelled by frustration at not having the pieces she wanted already in her wardrobe. “You can look in your wardrobe and go, “I love that”, but just wish that it was a little bit different,” she adds.
*In ‘Emma Willis: Delivering Babies’ television presenter and mother of three Emma Willis trains for three months at Princess Alexandra Hospital’s busy maternity ward in Essex as a Maternity Care Assistant, working four eight-to-thirteen hour shifts a week
“I like new projects [though], I like to keep busy and try new things and always try to push myself. I don’t like to get complacent and I like to be scared in a good way.”
Emma also recognises that career comfort zones are there to be explored and expanded. Taking on new projects can be scary and daunting, but the TV presenter admits that stepping out of one’s comfort zone is vital for personal growth. “It was quite daunting in the beginning as I’d never done anything like that before,” she adds.
“It was really exciting to watch how the designers at Next work. It was a real learning experience.”
Emma also proves it’s never too late to learn new skills. The mother of three claims she learned a lot from switching fields and observing the design process first-hand.
“I work really closely with my stylist and have done for a long time and she is like a wizard with clothes.”
When it comes to trying new things and venturing down new career paths, teamwork is also important. Emma recognises that transitioning to the role of designer for a brief period was made smoother with the help of her stylist.
“Of course, there were designers too and we had to take a steer from them, as they know exactly what they’re doing and what their customer likes.”
Emma highlights the importance of being a team player and sharing ideas. When taking on new projects, it’s important to pay attention to other colleagues’ ways of working as a lot can be learnt from them. She points out that her input in designing and injecting her personality into the new collection was extensive – “it was a really equal collaboration, which was really nice.”