To celebrate international Women’s day we sat down with a well known female leader in our industry who truly empowers women. For our next edition of Mode Meets we spoke to Sarah Shotton the Creative Director at Agent Provocateur who has an inspiring story; she empowers and influences women every day through her lingerie designs. We explore her journey over the last 20 years, starting on the shop floor and progressing to Creative Director for a brand that continues to push boundaries in its product category.
Sarah grew up in County Durham, in the North East of England and then studied fashion at Central Saint Martin’s College, London. She began work as an apprentice at Agent Provocateur in 1999 and was appointed Creative Director in 2010. With over 20 years of experience within the company, she has been involved in many aspects of the business and has been integral in maintaining and evolving the brand image and philosophy. Her early experience of working on the shop floor in the Soho boutique meant that she gained a great understanding of the AP woman and her needs. Sarah is also now a mother of two young children.
How do you feel AP empowers the modern women?
Lingerie can have a real psychological effect on an individual’s mood as a garment that is so close to your body. AP truly celebrates the female form; every shape is developed to flatter and empower women. We want our products to make a woman feel confident about themselves and ultimately empowered by their sexuality.
Tell us more about your exciting new campaign launching today?
In our new spring campaign, we wanted to celebrate just how amazing women bodies are and what they can achieve. It was important to the brand to show case body diversity in a different way. Women of all shapes and sizes can express their sexuality through our designs and we have worked with some truly inspiring athletes for this campaign. We want AP to champion body positivity for all women.
What drives you?
Firstly, my amazing team. Working with such an inspiring group of people drives me to be better at what I do. I’m always looking to push the brand forward and as a Creative Director I believe you should never sit still. Evolution of a brand is key, but this always needs to be done in a suitable way.
What are your top tips to aspiring Creative Directors?
With any project have a clear vision and believe in it; believe in yourself. Don’t listen to the noise around you. Keep focused and go with your gut instincts. True creativity comes from emotion. Always work outside of your comfort zone and above all enjoy what you do.
What makes for an inspiring leader?
Somebody who is dynamic, driven and full of positive energy. An individual with a clear vision and direction for the business. As well as a strong commercial approach, it is equally important to have real empathy and be able to respond to the emotional needs of their team. I always have an open-door policy; this human side is what really makes for an impactful leader.
How have you been so successful as a Creative Director?
When I first started designing lingerie for AP I reported into Joseph Corré, the son of Vivienne Westwood, and his then-wife Serena Rees, the two original founders. Therefore, I have always designed and developed lingerie with both men and women in mind which I feel really gave the brand an edge. I’ve always been respectful of the brands heritage and to keep that essence whilst ensuring we continuously evolve as a brand. AP has continued to push boundaries, evoking humour and cheekiness; above all I want the brand to be fun and engaging.
How to be successful and climb the career ladder and a crowded market?
Be prepared to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in. Never be afraid to take on responsibilities outside of your remit. My early experience of supporting in a multitude of roles really helped me understand the business from the ground up and gave me a competitive edge. Also, to always be kind to your team and peers.
Who is the Ultimate AP women?
I feel every woman has an Agent Provocateur side. Jennifer Lawrence, Margot Robbie not forgetting to mention my favourite Miss Piggie! These are all great examples of an AP woman. They are strong, intelligent and know what they want.
MODE SEARCH LTD 2020