LJ Watson is Primark’s Creative Brand Manager, she works on building creative teams for projects, managing visual communications and creative brand campaigns. She joined Primark in 2014 as Digital Content Editor, where she was tasked with building content for the launch of Primark.com and the @Primark social media channels. Prior to this LJ worked at WGSN. She joined the trend forecasting company in early 2000 and enjoyed a 13 year career at the agency, where she worked on developing youth marketing trends and insights, traveling the globe capturing street style photos for trend analysis. She then went on to set up and develop the Youth Think Tank department at WGSN focusing on future trends, creative development and insights. LJ is an LCF Fashion Communications Alumni and has also worked as a consultant for Levi’s® Europe, generating Pan-European content, as well as writing for The Face, Vogue, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent.
What was your very first job? What does it feel like to look back at it now?
My first job was in Youth Marketing at WGSN.com. I interned there while studying for my degree at LCF. After putting in the hours I was thrilled to secure a role at the company when I graduated. It was and remains to this day my dream job in many ways. It took me travelling all over the world photographing and reporting on street style, emerging creatives, designers and lifestyle trends. From underground bars in Tokyo, to music festivals across Europe and the US. Looking back I realise how fortunate I was to be able to do all of that in my 20s and gain a wealth of knowledge, experience and stamps on my passport.
Please describe, in your own words, what your current job is and what work it entails.
I currently work in Brand and Creative Communications for Primark. It was an interesting move going in-house after so many years working B2B agency side in trend forecasting and insights. It’s great to now be able to work on projects where you can see a real impact with consumers. Day-to-day I work on creative strategy for campaigns and ensure that our messaging is on brand, tells engaging stories and creates a consistent and cohesive message that speaks to our core values.
How did you discover that the creative world was right for you? Was there a time in your life that you credit to this discovery? and which train of events did bring you to where you are today?
I moved to London from Yorkshire when I was 18 to study fashion and earned a place on the Fashion Promotion BA at LCF. I think I was lucky in that I knew I wanted to work in the creative industry from a fairly young age. Visiting the Barbican Jam exhibition in 1996, the year before I moved to London to study, was a real eye opener for me. I was fascinated by the exhibition and the cut-and-paste mix of fashion, photography and music. It showcased the heart of 1990s youth culture and the work of creatives working outside the mainstream including Alexander McQueen, David Sims and Tomato.
In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how and where do you usually find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant?
Conversations with other people in the industry and being connected is where I find inspiration. As well as extensive research. I love reading about new innovations and exploring how they might become relevant to current projects. Also walking… I always seem to resolve ideas or come up with solutions when I go for a walk. Something about the rhythm of it and the fresh air maybe?!
If you had to pick one piece of work or project that you are most proud of, especially for the creative work and innovation it required rather than its recognition or industry success, what would it be?
The recent body of work we’ve undertaken at Primark to develop our customer facing creative in-line with our brand values around diversity, inclusion and a real and honest celebration of our customers. As always it’s a work in progress and continues to develop.