Chat with Rebecca Tay

Head of Fashion Marketing Content at NET-A-PORTER

We chat to former Head of Fashion Marketing Content at NET-A-PORTER, editorial Director at the OUTNET and our favourite fashion girl Rebecca Tay, who shares her experience working in digital fashion and the joys of buying fashion at auction…

Lot 560. Chanel White Boucle Suit, lot 448. Chanel Orange Tweed Full Length Coat and lot 541. Chanel Beige Crossbody Small Flap Bag, c. 2003-04 in our Designer Handbag & Fashion sale, 27 Nov


Lot 598. Chanel Black and White Terrycloth Ensemble, c. 1991, lot 661. Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Leather Skirt Suit, 1980s and lot 705. Karl Lagerfeld Halterneck Dress, 1980s in our Designer Handbags & Fashion sale, 27 Nov


Did you study fashion?

No, I grew up at a time when working in fashion seemed unrealistic; I just didn’t realise there were jobs in fashion. I am originally from Canada where  fashion jobs are scarce!  I went down the conventional route and studied social sciences and then I did a Law degree. I was brought up by traditional Chinese/Canadian parents, who wanted me to do something academic. I quickly learned that I did not want to go into Law, so I got an internship at a fashion magazine, which lead to a full time job.


How did you end up working for the Net-A-Porter group?

I moved to London in 2011 after working for the fashion magazine for 6 years. Net-A-Porter was becoming more popular and gaining traction, particularly in Canada and the U.S., so I had it in my head that I wanted to work for them. After a year of reaching out to them and networking, a job eventually came up with the (sister site to Net-A-Porter) and that’s how I joined the group.


How has digital content changed we shop for fashion?

It totally shapes how we shop and discover new brands as content in anything that touches the customer, both literally and figuratively, and digital content is particularly important in accommodating the way we now all live and interact with technology. Digital content is how we as consumers develop a relationship with a brand, rather than through a printed catalogue or a salesperson.

Chiswick Auctions: I suppose digital has ‘democratized’ luxury fashion?

Rebecca Tay: Yes completely, it’s open for everybody, not just for the elite.


How did you discover Chiswick Auctions' fashion dept?

About 3 years ago my then boyfriend was dealing with Asian Art and would regularly view the Asian Art department at Chiswick and I was amazed when I realised you guys also had a handbags and designer department

Chiswick Auctions: Were we your best kept fashion secret??

Rebecca Tay: Oh yes!! Probably not-so-secret now!


What is different about buying at auction compared to traditional methods?

For me, buying at auction feels more like a ‘find’; it’s exciting to discover that one-off piece, it totally gives you a competitive side! I’m also an advocate of recycling and sustainability, which is something the fashion industry is paying more attention to. I read an article somewhere that said you should change your fashion wardrobe every 9 months.

Chiswick Auctions: 9 months? Can you imagine the landfill?

Rebecca Tay: Which is crazy, right? Think of the environmental impact.


Which leads me to….vintage or new?

Urm…. (looking pensive) I would have to say vintage, if I can find it. I prefer vintage - some older things are just made better.


Best buy at Chiswick auctions?

Oh that is sooo hard…. There have been many! I will say the Louis Vuitton Safari Trench Coat I got from one of your sales last year as I get so many compliments whenever I wear it.


Louis Vuitton Khaki Coat, with brown wool details to the collar and back



Best designer brand comeback?

Oh… that’s hard to answer, but I would say Dior is having a huge moment right now. Gucci has had a comeback for the past 5 years and last year it was Fendi having a huge resurgence.

Chiswick Auctions: It’s funny you should mention those brands, as we have seen a rise in popularity, and prices, for them at auction

Rebecca Tay: These brands are combing their ‘90s archive right now...for example, Prada is re-releasing their Nylon range, which was huge for them in the early 90s.


What are your top tips for the getting into the fashion industry?

I would say just get involved! Go to networking events, panel discussions, anything to do with the fashion industry as it’s a great chance to interact with likeminded people. Events can help you to figure out which area you want to work in, as there are so many different sides to the industry like buying, merchandising, styling, writing…

Chiswick Auctions: …content creation like yourself!

Rebecca Tay: Exactly! Once you have found what you like, network and try and get onto an internship.


Finally…Team Kaia Gerber or Cindy Crawford?

Oh that’s a tough question….I would say Team Cindy, without Cindy there would be no Kaia!


View Catalogue: Designer Handbags & Fashion, 27 November 2pm.

Follow Rebecca at @rebeccatay