Peep Inside Whistles’ Stylish HQ

Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
Step inside Whistles’ airy, bright office and you're instantly hit by a wall of…calm. Yes, the company is in the midst of launching its first U.S. franchise with Bloomingdale's, and a brand-new menswear collection will debut in the autumn, but the men and women of Whistles go about their business as if they haven’t a care (or a deadline) in the world. And, they're doing all this in pool sliders, city shorts, and tailored tees, no less.
None of this is a real surprise though. Over the last six years, the fashion label — under the leadership of CEO Jane Shepherdson — has made a name for itself with its effortlessly cool designs. The collections have become a fixture on high street and London Fashion Week. So, we just had to catch up with the brand’s stylish workforce to talk shop and to find out what makes them tick. Day trips to Paris and birthdays off, apparently.
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
Kate Malkin, head of marketing

What do you love most about your job?
"That no two days are the same. It’s an exciting environment, with some very inspiring people."

How has working here influenced your personal style?
"Definitely. Our design director Nick Passmore — and her team — have such a great aesthetic, which has fed my penchant for clean, masculine lines and simple but clever detailing. Whistles dominates my wardrobe…"

What are your go-to pieces for work?
"Love-worn Levis, white shirts, Whistles silk bermuda shorts, and I always have a pair of heels under my desk and a tube of YSL Rouge Pur Couture 202 in my desk draw."

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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
What is your favourite part of the office?
"My desk. I'm territorial."

Do you have a style mantra?
"Keep it simple, borrow from the boys, don't try too hard."

What has been your favourite Whistles collection?
"I always fall for the very latest collection as we all get excited about something new. But, A/W '09 was a milestone for rebranding and repositioning Whistles, so I'll remember that for the images that Karim Sadli shot of Kim Noorda in our iconic leather biker jacket."

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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
What is your biggest work challenge? What is your greatest achievement?
"Challenge: Charming our finance director! Achievement: Definitely whistles.com. My team drives the content and creative direction of the site, and it’s the perfect window into our brand."

What advice would you give someone looking to work in fashion?
"For me, doing work experience and internships is important. Also, make sure your own Instagram/Tumblr/Twitter represents you well, because we will be checking them out!"
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How would you describe Whistles in five words?
"Clean, contemporary, effortless British fashion."

What has been your last big purchase at Whistles?
"The limited-edition Xenia Cube Handbag, and I'm holding out for the Hoshi Coat in blanket check from A/W'14."

What has been the biggest professional lesson you’ve learned at Whistles?
"To put the customer and the brand at the heart of every decision."
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
Tine Molberg, womenswear designer

What do you love most about your job?
"The diversity the role offers; we go from sketching and fitting samples to travelling around the world on inspirational business trips."

How has working here influenced your personal style?
"I think that as a designer the aesthetic of the brand slowly creeps in on your personal style…it's only natural."

What are your go-to pieces for work?
"Anything that feels right in the morning — I know I can always rely on my Whistles sliders to complete any outfit."

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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
What is your biggest work challenge? What is your greatest achievement?
"London Fashion Week is always a challenging time; ensuring the collection flows and that everything is ready on time definitely adds pressure, but at the same time it’s also one of my greatest achievements!"

What advice would you give someone looking to work in fashion?
"Just try. Don’t be scared of getting a name and contacting people yourself. If you got what it takes you will get there."

What is your favourite part of the office?
"The Show Room; it's light and airy with everything nicely presented and looking its best."

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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
What are your favourite in-house traditions?
"We have a few, but one of them is occasional office treats, like exhibitions or manicures, but our next one is a day in Paris…can’t wait!"

Do you have a style mantra?
"Whatever you wear should make you feel good. Never wear something that feels like it's wearing you!"

What has been your favorite Whistles collection?
"I think whatever collection you are currently working on becomes your favourite. It’s always about evolving and finding the next new thing."

How would you describe Whistles in five words?
"Effortless, stylish, modern, cool, and desirable, I would like to think."

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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
What has been your last big purchase at Whistles?
"Some of the lovely limited shoes from the spring/summer collection."

What has been the biggest professional lesson you’ve learned at Whistles?
"I have learned a huge amount at Whistles. I’ve been here from the beginning, and everything has been a fantastic learning curve, seeing the brand evolve into what is it today has been amazing."
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
Perry Byrne, finance manager

What do you love most about your job?
"The people and the environment I work in. I enjoy being able to mix my experience in finance with my love for fashion."

How has working here influenced your personal style?
"Working around so many creative people has allowed me to express my style and draw influences from others."

What are your go-to pieces for work?
"Worn-in raw denim and a sweater — comfort is key."

What advice would you give someone looking to work in fashion?
"Go for it! I wouldn’t work in any other industry!"

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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
What is your favourite part of the office?
"The picnic area, which houses the Whistles ping pong table. I spend many a lunchtime there!"

What are your favourite in-house traditions?
"Pranking — it’s not so much of a tradition but it's a frequent occurrence (especially to me). Last Christmas I turned up to work to find my whole desk, along with all my belongings, had been gift wrapped!"

Do you have a style mantra?
"Keep it classic with a nod to the past!"

What has been your favourite Whistles collection?
"I’m continually impressed with the womenswear collection, but for me it has to be the A/W '14 menswear collection, which was launched a couple of weeks ago."

What has been your last big purchase at Whistles?
"I’m holding out for when the men’s collection hits stores this September!"
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
Jane Shepherdson, CEO

What do you love most about your job?
"Fashion changes all the time. I am constantly surprised and excited by new ideas, concepts, and trends."

How has working here influenced your personal style?
"It has slightly morphed into the house style, or perhaps it’s the other way around! My personal style is now fairly synonymous with Whistles; although, I am perhaps a little more androgynous. I also never wear dresses, which are a big part of our collection."

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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
What are your go-to pieces for work?
"I’m pretty casual, so I will often wear ripped jeans with a shirt or more sculpted top, with statement shoes, or drawstring sporty trousers with heels and a sweat top."

What is your biggest work challenge? What is your greatest achievement?
"The challenge always is to ensure that the brand maintains relevance, and continues to innovate, whilst delivering a consistently strong collection that our customer expects to see from us! It is enough of an achievement that we receive the endorsement of our peers and influencers."

What advice would you give someone looking to work in fashion?
"Persevere, work hard, don’t accept the status quo, and go with your instincts."

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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
What is your favourite part of the office?
"The showroom. It's like a small pool of calm in an otherwise frantic whirl of activity."

What are your favourite in-house traditions?
"The sample sale the first Monday of each month — it's like a swarm of locusts denuding the rails in five minutes flat. The box from Able and Cole full of organic goodies...and the Whistles treat — the best was a private screening of the new Bond film with pizza and cocktails, plus a day off for your birthday."

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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
What has been your last big purchase at Whistles?
"The sheepskin biker jacket from last autumn winter — I just couldn’t resist it, and am hoping for a very cold winter this year!"

What has been the biggest professional lesson you’ve learned at Whistles?
"Running a small business is much harder than being a part of a much larger one. You have to be prepared to do everything, and learn things that you had no idea that you would need to learn. You also have to be very resilient when things don’t go exactly as planned. Finally, you are only ever as good as your brilliant team."
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
Anna Balan, menswear buying assistant

What do you love most about your job?
"Working in the buying team opens you to so many different aspects of the business. I love that I get to work with so many creative people — it’s always inspiring to hear ideas and see a project come together."

How has working here influenced your personal style?
"Since joining I've definitely become less interested in being a slave to the trends each season. Now I prefer to invest in select pieces that can be mixed and matched into my wardrobe. We all seem to dress with a similar mindset here, a bit more pared back and fuss-free."

What are your go-to pieces for work?
"Usually I like leather separates with a classic knit or shirt. At the moment, I love culottes and Bermuda shorts teamed with some slides."

What is your biggest work challenge? What is your greatest achievement?
"My biggest challenge so far has been working on menswear because we have literally had to set everything up from scratch. My greatest achievement was probably the build-up to our first press event and then seeing the collection together for the first time — that moment was definitely worth all the hard work."

What advice would you give someone looking to work in fashion?
"Intern, a lot! There are so many benefits, not just networking and gaining experience, but being able to learn what career path is right for you before committing to anything."

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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
What is your favourite part of the office?
"Probably the design area. It’s a brilliant creative space — I love seeing the fabrics, books, and inspiration boards that are always around alongside the individual pictures each designer keep on their desk."

What are your favorite in-house traditions?
"Making the morning pilgrimage to the coffee machine. It’s at the other end of the building, so we don’t go all the time but it’s become a bit of a ritual among my team."

Do you have a style mantra?
"I really don’t. I think just being yourself is most important so you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing."
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
What has been your favorite Whistles collection?
"Our first LFW show, which was the A/W '13 collection. The stylist did such an amazing job building the outfits. I was obsessed with the chunky knitwear and pale-pink ponyskin. Being a part of the whole experience is something I’ll always remember."

How would you describe Whistles in five words?
"Inspiring. Timeless. Creative. Intelligent. Evolving…it's hard to pick just five!"

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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
What has been your last big purchase at Whistles?
"A shearling biker jacket I bought just before Christmas. We did a similar one the year before, and I had kicked myself ever since for not buying it. I knew I had to get it this time around."

What has been the biggest professional lesson you’ve learned at Whistles?
"Adapting to change and keeping calm under pressure. They both go hand-in-hand I think, but in such a fast-paced environment, you learn that it’s always best to stay focused and roll with it."
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
Chi Ufodiama, PR assistant

What do you love most about your job?
"The diversity of my role. One week we're preparing for our show at London Fashion Week, then planning our menswear launch, and then planning our U.S. launch and working with an amazing blogger. It's nonstop, but I love it. It's also great working with your friends. There’s never a day without laughter."

How has working here influenced your personal style?
"I’m not sure whether my style has changed from working here or just with age. I can say that before I worked at Whistles, I was vehemently against wearing black and navy and now it’s one of my favourite colour combos. Also I’d say my style is a lot more relaxed and casual, both in and outside of work. I’ve been known to wear jersey joggers in a nightclub. They were from Whistles though, so I think that makes it okay."

What are your go-to pieces for work?
"Skirts. I wear a skirt (or dress) every day with either a plain T-shirt or a knit in the summer."

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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
What is your biggest work challenge? What is your greatest achievement?
"I’d say my biggest challenge is maintaining perspective. It’s just fashion; we’re not saving lives. That said, it is a million-dollar industry fueling the economy across the globe. Greatest achievement was probably getting a job working for one of my favourite fashion brands."

What advice would you give someone looking to work in fashion?
"The same as everyone else: lots of internships. If you can try and get as much experience across different areas in the industry, it’s really important to understand what different departments do and how you interact with them in your chosen field. Also make sure to stay in touch with everyone you meet. You never know who is going to recommend you for your dream job."

What is your favourite part of the office?
"I love our creative room. It’s located on the mezzanine away from the buzz of the main office. It’s a great place to escape with the team to brainstorm about new projects."

What are your favorite in-house traditions?
"Prosecco Fridays. That’s not a real tradition, but I wish it was."

Do you have a style mantra?
"Wear what’s clean?"
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
What has been your favourite Whistles collection?
"I might be accused of being a bit biased, but in my opinion, Whistles just improves every season. At the moment I’m obsessed about our pre-fall collection, coming out in June. I’ve got so many pieces on my wish list."

How would you describe Whistles in five words?
"Quietly confident and effortlessly chic."

What has been your last big purchase at Whistles?
"Probably my leather dungarees from S/S '13. I was obsessed with them as soon as the first sample landed in the office, so I had to have them."

What has been the biggest professional lesson you’ve learned at Whistles?
“She doesn’t hate me; she’s just really stressed.”
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