RK, 31, picture & bookings editor, Farfetch

robin key farfetch

I know RK because we work together, duh. Although he stays pretty quiet in the office, you can’t help but notice his perfectly on point casual luxe look. What he does is so important that I’m not sure how we managed before he came onboard… here he tells me what his role is.

What is your job, exactly? I’m a picture and bookings editor at Farfetch. I’m responsible for the editorial imagery on the site. So that ranges from picture research to commissioning photographers, organising photoshoots. I handle the production for our shoots, so book in styling, hair and makeup, studio… everything down to the catering.

How long have you done it for and what were you doing before? About a year and a half. Before that I was working at a trend forecasting consultancy called The Future Laboratory - still as Picture Editor, but also working on trend research and presentations.

How did you do that trend research? A lot of online research, but also interviewing people, going to events, networking. It was a great way to train me to be more journalistic in my thinking and my approach to work. We had daily meetings where we’d talk about new things we’d seen - or ideas - which was great way to keep on top of things as we were basically working as a network of researchers.

What was your first job? My very first job was working in a sandwich factory in the Midlands: packing sandwiches for motorway service stations on a conveyor belt. I didn’t really learn anything at all from that. Other than I didn’t want to work in a sandwich factory.

What did you study? Did you do internships? I studied editorial photography at Brighton Uni, after I graduated I took a year off to work out what I wanted to do, then I moved to London and started an internship with the web team at Wallpaper* Magazine. I only got lunch and travel [covered] so had to work at two other jobs at the same time, but the experience was invaluable.

What did you want to be when you were a kid? When I was really little I wanted to work on a supermarket checkout. I just loved the scanning machines. Now I get to do that every day at Sainsbury’s self serve, so life goal achieved. Then I wanted to be a chef for a little while, then a musician, but I started to work it out when I was doing my A levels - then on Art Foundation I discovered photography.

Is there anything you would have done differently, given the choice? I would have loved to have known more about the industry before I graduated. I’d probably like to go back and spend my degree actually doing some work. I definitely had an amazing time at university, and would never miss out on that experience, but I could definitely have used my time more constructively. At that age it’s quite hard to be self motivated, which is what arts courses generally require.

Is there a piece of advice you would give your former self? Don’t be intimidated by people because you assume they’re terrifying.

Did you ever have a mentor? I guess my tutor on Art Foundation. He introduced me to contemporary photography, and definitely started my off on the right path. As funny as it sounds now, I didn’t really imagine it was possible to work in photography when was younger. I used to love The Face and i-D, but I never in a million years considered a job in that industry. I remember talking to him about one of my favourite shoots in The Face (which I had on my bedroom wall) and totally coincidentally, they were his pictures. He took me on a fashion shoot, pushed me to produce some work I was really proud of, and got me into university. Most importantly though, at the time I was terrified of him. In retrospect though I’m grateful that he a) pushed me to produce the work I did, and out of the small town in the midlands and b) taught me that sometimes people are just arseholes and you have to just find a way to deal with them. It’s a good lesson to learn if you’re going to work in fashion.

Do you know what you want to do later? Do you have a specific goal you have in mind? Nope, I haven’t really had a plan so far. I just prefer to see where things take me.

What is your work schedule? Do you stay late/work weekends a lot? I try not to stay in the office late, but I’m pretty much on email all the time as it’s on my phone.

Do you find it stressful or hard to stop and actually enjoy the moment when you’re off then? No, I don’t really mind. I generally enjoy my job, so replying to a few emails in the evening or at the weekend isn’t a huge deal. I do think sometimes it’s a little bit like shooting yourself in the foot: because if you’re always available, then people expect you to be always available. I do sometimes accidentally read an email I don’t want to see when I’m on a night out or worse, just before bed, and I can’t relax until I’ve done something about it.

What do you wear to work? Do you think it matters? I dress the same in work as I do out of it. I do think it matters what you wear to work, especially in fashion, but I don’t think that means you have to dress in a particular way. Just whatever you feel comfortable in.

Do you have any side projects? I still take photographs, but just personal projects.

What is the craziest thing you’ve done at a job? In my last job I got flown in a private jet to Zurich for a weekend to test drive a new Audi. The journey was amazing: there were around seven journalists on the trip and our chauffeurs drove right up to the plane door on the runway to drop us off.

When we got there I drove around lake Zurich with the PR person from Audi. She really wanted a go driving the car - she wasn’t really allowed but I convinced her - I was all like, no one will know! just chill out and do it! After about 30 seconds driving it, she crashed straight into the side of a parked car. No one was hurt so I’m allowed to admit that it was totally hilarious.

Who would should I to talk to next? My friend Thomas, a trend forecaster.