To celebrate International Women’s Day on the 8th March we caught up with Victoria Mullin Gorelik, Head of Wardrobe at Smart Works to discuss how Smart Works helps thousands of women across the country providing high quality, professional interview clothes and interview training to unemployed women in need.

At Thought, we have been partnered with Smart Works for over five years and love to see how many inspiring women are given much needed opportunity by Victoria and her team of dressers. Keep reading to discover how she helps women gain confidence through fashion, creates a timeless wardrobe and shops sustainably.

How did you get your start with Smart Works?
I began my career in New York working with small independent accessory designers helping them to build their businesses.  After moving to the UK, I was faced with the question of continue the same path or force myself out of my comfort zone?  I love fashion and everything that it entails but I knew I also wanted to do something with a bit more scope, so I found Smart Works and became a volunteer dresser

How would you describe your role?
I am the UK Head of Wardrobe at Smart Works.  Within my role I oversee all incoming donations, curate the selection on offer to our clients and work with our retail and corporate partners to ensure we have everything we need for our clients to have the best possible experience when they come to see us.

What is a typical day like for you?
There is never a typical day at Smart Works!  We are constantly receiving amazing donations, working with wonderful partners and meeting the incredible woman who come through our door, so every day is different.

How can people who are interested get involved with Smart Works?

You can find all the different ways to get involved here or join our annual Spin For Smart Works fundraising event which is on right now! If you are interested in becoming a dresser or interview trainer, you can find out more information here.

What was your first experience with ethical fashion?
One of my best friends is an extremely talented jewellery designer back in New York and a lot of what she does is taking beautifully made antique and vintage jewellery and reworking it into modern elegant pieces. I loved that she was making these beautiful collections out of things that would have otherwise gone overlooked, she was giving them another life.

Where do you think the future of closing the fashion loop is going in relation to the wider fashion industry?
For the first time in history consumers are more aware of what they are buying, it’s not all about chasing the latest fad or trend and the fashion industry is having to adapt.  Designers and retailers need to be more conscious of offering pieces which are meant to last and don’t have a one season life span.

How do you make sure you shop, wear and live ethically?
Investing in quality pieces that I love really helps me to live more ethically.  I’m always conscious of how new pieces will fit into my existing wardrobe and how they can be worn styled differently throughout the year to ensure that they are seasonless.

What small changes have you made in your day to day life that have made a big difference?
Having two small boys has really made me take accountability for my actions.  It’s important to me that I show them that it is up to every individual to be responsible for our planet.  We are always discussing recycling, passing clothes and toys down to younger cousins and friends, and of course being thoughtful about what we do buy.

Want to learn more about our partnership? Click here to discover why we love to work with Smart Works.