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Sarah Hayes

Name: Sarah Hayes
Age: 26
Education: BA in Fashion Design at the Limerick School of Art and Design, Ireland.

Hi, who are you?
I grew up in the middle of the countryside in Ireland and moved to Stockholm with my boyfriend three years ago to work for H&M. I started as an Assistant Patternmaker, working first at ladies wear with blouses and dresses, and then I moved to the party collection which was really fun and it was great experience to work with a full collection. About a year ago I became a Pattern Maker at the Ladies Trend department working with dresses and jumpsuits.

I’m into nature and I love to cultivate my little garden. I like to go to exhibitions in Stockholm during the weekends, and enjoy exploring creativity in different ways, through baking, knitting, redesigning second-hand clothes and I like to visit my boyfriend at his ceramic studio.

What attracted you to H&M?
When I read about all the sustainability work H&M are doing I wanted to learn more about it which inspired me to apply for a job. I was also attracted by the opportunity to grow and develop within H&M.

Tell us more about your everyday life at the office?
I start the day by having a morning tea together with my assistant. In the morning we often have meetings to discuss the collection and our working agenda. Once a week we go through the selling reports. A lot of the day is spent developing new styles. As the Pattern Maker I discuss every new sketch with the Designer, resolving and fine tuning as the pattern is developed. We often do paper mock ups when reviewing the initial pattern, and we sew up toiles in our sewing studio in-house when working on more complicated garments. Afternoons are usually booked with fittings where we review the samples together with the whole team. The rest of the afternoon is spent working on the pattern amendments. On Friday afternoons we always have a ‘fika’! (swedish word for a social coffee break.) It’s a great opportunity to catch-up with the team.

Why did you choose to become a Pattern Maker?
While I was studying I became really interested in design through creative pattern construction and through draping. For me pattern making is a very creative process, and you are always learning new ways to construct shapes or exploring new silhouettes.

What’s the best thing about being a Pattern Maker at H&M?
At H&M there is a lot of opportunity to grow within your role and to move around internally to work with different customer or product groups. The opportunities are there as long as you have initiative and are eager to develop. It’s up to you. H&M has a value driven culture and there is a strong belief in people. There is a friendly and supportive environment and everyone learns from each other which I think is quite valuable. Also there is room for mistakes because that is how you learn. I am also very excited about the sustainability work H&M is doing on a large scale and I can now understand the impact of these different actions. Overall I find the H&M office to be a very positive workplace.

What advice would you give to someone interested in the Pattern Maker role at H&M?
As H&M have such a strong focus on people it’s important to feel you can be yourself. You are given a lot of responsibility from day one so it’s necessary to have an education and some experience with pattern making. It runs at a fast pace here, with a lot going on at the same time, so it’s important to be able to prioritize tasks and to have developed time management skills. Take the opportunity to learn from other team members. It’s good to know that you are not on your own as decisions are taken as a team.