Alan Cook

Menswear Design Specialist / Head of Design
Portfolio website

I am a very passionate, driven and creative leader with over 20 years experience in the menswear design industry. I deliver a strong vision with solid commercial understanding and I always ensure that design is at the heart of any business. I am product focused with a vast knowledge of fabric, fit and garment make up covering all product areas from tailoring to sportswear and have experienced in sourcing from China, India, Bangladesh, Turkey, Portugal, Italy and the UK. I pride myself on having achieved extensive travel to research global trends - New York, LA, Tokyo, Seoul, Stockholm, Milan and Paris. I am a team focused leader with excellent people skills. I deliver clear and strategic ways of working, ensuring individuals are challenged, inspired, nurtured and supported. Ultimately creating great team morale and a forward thinking, progressive environment where creativity and development flourish.

Previous Brands
Firetrap ( Wdt )
Fullcircle ( Wdt )
Kangol ( Big Hit Limited )
Marks and Spencer
Smith & Brooks
Work Experience
Jan ‘21 - Now
Self employed

Design Lead / Manager
Apr ‘14 - Jan ‘21
Marks and Spencer

Managed the design process for all areas of the menswear business delivering £900m of sales (2020/21) and led the design and development of over 2000 new ways for Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter 2021 across the menswear business with a team of 20 designers. Delivered significant market share gains through implementing design clarity and customer focus: Knitwear - Number 1, owning 14% of UK market share and growing 10% (2016 - 2021). Denim - Number 2, owning 8% of UK market share and growing 6% (2016 - 2021). Essentials - Number 1, owning 22% of UK market share and growing 6% (2016 - 2021). (Market share date - Kantar). Maintained M&S menswear as UK number one overall market share owning 14% (2021) Curated and directed 4 product strategy presentations per year ensuring a closer to market process detailing market trends, consumer trends, sustainability trends, colour, fabric and key items relevant to the business and M&S's core and grow customers. Presented the strategy to all key stake holders via physical and digital presentations. This ultimately delivered improved range structure, better colour delivery and re-established the importance of core ranges whilst improving M&S's style credentials by 17% - KMB Brand Tracker - January 2021. Formed strong relationships with the buying team to influence range building, line reviews and product development to ensure the product strategy was followed ready for detailed presentations to the leadership team and menswear director for final sign off. Consistently at the forefront of delivering and beating sustainability directives set by the business. Contributed to M&S menswear being the first UK retailer to use 100% BCI cotton ( Better Cotton Initiative ) beating the business target of being 85% BCI by 2020 by 2 years. Led the design team to deliver sustainable credentials for every new style designed for 2020, Implemented recycled and organic fibres, non-mulesed and 100% traceable wool, use of eco factories, and reduced and waterless processes throughout the range. Collaborated with tech teams to implement brand new PLM and 3D design software packages ahead of the industry, resulting in sample costs savings of £150k per season. Enabling a sustainable and sample-less buying process initially used for formal shirts and ties and later for active-wear and essentials ranges. Set campaign ideas and strategies for marketing, working with VM teams on in-store outfitting and layout and establishing styling and dressing principles for E.com teams. Delivered much improved e-com imagery leading to improved on-line sales of + 48% on the year ( 2019 / 2020 ).

Design Manager
Jun ‘12 - Apr ‘14

Created and implemented a new design and development process to improve ways of working for the design department in-line with the new business critical path. This ensured flexibility and speed to market for new products and ranges. Restructured the design team to ensure alignment with business needs and relevance in the changing market place leading to improved morale and productivity and established a clear handwriting and creative direction. Worked strategically with the trading director and the head of buying to re-imagine and update the BHS menswear brands through improved ranges, range structure, quality, branding and visual communications achieving improved style credentials, increased profit and reduced markdown.

Head of Design
Mar ‘02 - Feb ‘10
Fullcircle ( Wdt )

Defined the global design direction and tone for FULLCIRCLE menswear, increased menswear sales by 125% (2002 – 2008) and ensured entry into premium accounts including SELFRIDGES, HARRODS, MACY'S and LANE CRAWFORD and leading independent stores worldwide. Led, motivated and coached the design team to translate the over-arching seasonal creative concepts and briefs into four brand appropriate collections per year whilst expressing themselves and thinking non-laterally to create compelling, exciting product. Worked closely with Sales and Merchandising teams on range planning, critical paths, pricing strategy and market feedback. Presented design concepts to the WDT board for approval. Accomplished sourcing relationships with Far East, and European suppliers and worldwide travel to assess trends and market developments. Maintained an avid interest in contemporary culture and art, applying to the product and brand where appropri ate. Worked closely with the Marketing team to deliver on-brand communication e.g. advertising, look books and retail and e-tail design concepts. Creatively presented and launched new collections to fashion press, sales and retail teams via trade shows, catwalk shows and in depth product presentations.

Senior Designer
Feb ‘99 - Jul ‘01
Firetrap ( Wdt )

Multi product and full range design for leading UK denim brand.

Apr ‘96 - Feb ‘99
Kangol ( Big Hit Limited )

Licensed casual / sportswear, Outerwear design specialist.

Apr ‘93 - Apr ‘96
Smith & Brooks

Designed for key account, TOPMAN.

English - Fluent
Education & Training
Epsom School of Art & Design
‘89 - ‘92
BA Degree
Fashion Menswear
Southfields College.
‘87 - ‘89
BTEC Diploma
Fashion Design and Knitwear
London, UK