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Marks & Spencer Q&A with Jo Hornsby - Best children's fashion department 2014 - HIGHLY COMMENDED

We meet the designer behind the 2014 Junior Design Award-winning entry




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What is your name and job title?

Jo Hornsby, Design Lead Childrenswear

What did you love to wear as a child?

I loved designing from an early age and my mum’s best friend was a dress maker so was able to indulge me and make outfits I’d designed.  We made lots of variations of ra-ra skirts. My favourite piece was a dogtooth full circle skirt with netted lining. I carried a little sketchbook everywhere and loved shopping especially when we hit the rag market (in Birmingham where I grew up) to buy fabric lengths to make our creations.

What’s so great about children’s fashion?

It’s full of personality, fun, innovative, imaginative and diverse. Colour is one of the greatest things about childrenswear and one of the things I love most.

What are the highlights of your autumn winter 2014 collections?

We love our new winter collections that will be landing across all daywear departments. They’re perfect for layering up and getting ready for the colder winter months. Cosy layers, bold graphics and winter prints are key to this season.

We pick up with our girls trekking from Mongolia through Russia and on into Arctic blizzards. ‘Mongolian Nomad’ is a winter folk story, crafted and embellished details are key to this look. From cosy knits, brushed check, and embroidered trophy pieces – your little nomad will be warm this season.

In boys, an outdoor trip across the Canadian Arctic, this little ‘Inuit’ explorer is full of adventure. Garments offer protection from the environment; warm and textured – updated with modern tweaks. Colour crafted in classic tones from oxford stone to chestnut brown, while rich burgundy and marine blues bring depth

Not forgetting our fantastic autograph range.  For boys a sartorial little gent look adding quirky twists and a touch of humour through the detailing and the graphics. For girls autograph we offer two ranges the first is rich and opulent colour combined with sumptuous night garden florals and velvets, for a decadent introduction to the season. In contrast to this our second range is all about frosted shades of pale blush and winter white working together with scenic sketchy prints and silhouette blooms. Soft sparkle adds pretty twinkle throughout.

How important is it to keep up with changing fashion trends?

It’s so important to keep up with emerging trends. From travel, catwalk to bloggers and watching out for any new mainline designers branching into kidswear.  

How does it feel when you see a child wearing your stores’ designs?

It’s one of those feeling’s that you never get bored of.  It’s lovely and you know the complete story/journey of that piece from concept to wear!

Why do you think parents are increasingly more interested in what their children are wearing? 

Parents are happy to indulge, if they want their kids to be stylish. They’re in touch constantly with social media trends and it’s almost as important as the catwalk itself to know what the celebrity kid set is wearing.

Why should parents shop for children’s fashion in department stores?

We think about the outfit as much as we do the importance of the one iconic must have item.  We think of the solutions for the parent and we help build the accessories and footwear around those items.

Why did you enter the Junior Design Awards?

It’s a great award and we’d love to raise the awareness of our M&S Kids fashion ranges.

What do you predict for the future of children’s fashion?

The future of M&S kids see’s the launch of Babyworld this autumn. It’s all about enhancing the lives of the kids/parents for everyday by providing fashion, style, fun and innovative solutions. These are embedded throughout our ranges.

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