Global Communications Director at Ivy Park
Amie Witton-Wallace is the woman in the know. An intrinsic part of the McQueen team in it’s early days, Amie is now heading up the Communications on a Global scale for Beyoncé’s wave-making athleisure brand, Ivy Park as well as consulting for several other luxury businesses including men’s grooming business, Beast and gender fluid lounge and lingerie brand, LGLB.
What are you doing at the moment?
I’m Global Communications Director for a new joint venture between Sir Philip Green and Beyoncé, an athleisure brand that launched in 2016.
How did your career start?
I studied Fashion Marketing at Newcastle because I didn't want to do pure design or pure business. I had a third year out and I did lots of internships but my main one was at Alexander McQueen.
I started helping with the show when the company was really small and owned just by him, we were based in a basement in Hoxton Square. Myself, Sarah Burton, Katy England and a few more - it was a tiny team.
After I graduated he offered me a job as Press Assistant and I was promoted at 24 to Global Communications Director. I was there for 12 years in total.
Is that what you always wanted to do?
I grew up in the Home Counties and I was obsessed with magazines because it was the only portal into fashion and this amazing world. Vogue, The Face, i-D.… I got a Saturday job at 13 working in a tea shop with all the Sykes sisters just so I could buy them.
As in the Sykes sisters?
Yes Alice, Lucy, Plum. Alice and I did all the work because we were the younger ones and the others sat on the worktops talking about clothes, fabrics, make-up. I didn’t care because I loved listening to them! I was completely obsessed with them as the cool older girls.
They were so exotic to me, so authentic and so bohemian. They lived in a big coast house and were the real deal. They're still the same! Such an amazing family, so bright, really articulate. I just thought oh my God I want some of that.
Can you see the impact that your degree has had on your career?
At one time I didn’t. I felt like I had sorted my own internship out, I had gone out there and done it on my own. But actually having gone to university with that structure and learning how to write Marketing strategies in order to understand the market – I’m still using those skills now. And actually it took me about 15 years to think, yes – that was really useful. But before I thought I knew it all of course.
Do you think if you could go back and do it all again that there is anything you would do differently?
I always wish I’d learnt a language, because I think if you have a language, you really go to the top of the pile for employers. I even felt like that at university – I remember going to the head of the course and saying ‘I don't care about Maths. Can we learn French? Or even Italian? Can we learn something useful?’ And it just never happened, but I think if you can do that, then do it. Arm yourself, make a tool kit for yourself as early as you can. And don't just go with what they tell you, I probably should have done it myself but I was too busy knowing it all.
What do you find most rewarding about your role?
Being around amazing people. Looking around and realising there are some incredibly inspirational people in the room. I’m very open to learning new things. I don't have an ego about it. I’m not going to sit there and fight my corner about something if I don't know anything about it. I think there’s something in having the ability to listen.
Did you have any one person growing up that you looked up to as inspiration?
I had an amazing English teacher that taught me how to order my thoughts, be composed in writing and enjoy words. She always said to take a little notebook around and when you see a new word, write it in there. Which I thought was really amazing and I did it for a long time. I thought she was so clever. I think it’s important for young girls to be inspired by intellect rather than beauty at that age.
Do you think you’ve become more conscious in recent years about how you communicate to women?
Definitely. And communicating in a really genuine way, not just getting on a bandwagon to sell products. Never underestimate woman's intelligence, it’s the world’s most powerful secret weapon. They might not be buying that £5,000 jacket but they are still very intelligent. Perhaps even more so.
How do you disconnect?
Going on holiday and planning a holiday whilst I am on holiday! If you can afford to take time off and travel it enriches your life beyond anything and I truly believe the biggest luxury that anyone has these days is time.
What are your thoughts on the fashion industry achieving a good work-life balance?
At the end of each day, write yourself a list for the next morning and get at least half of it done by half past ten because you’re your most productive then; you’re never going to do your best work at four in the afternoon. But if you want to work in fashion – you’ve also got to be prepared to stay late and manage your time in a completely different way. Though there needs to be a better trust in terms of flexible working.
If you could give your former self one piece of advice…
Ignore the girls that make you feel square because they are now at home with eight kids, stuffing their faces, and watching daytime TV. Also if somebody angers you in a work scenario, never respond that day. Always sleep on it because your first answer is never going to be your best answer.
How would you summarise your job in three words?
Very exciting, structured but also unstructured and exhilarating. Oh that’s four, well... I always like to push it a bit.