Combining her commercial and academic experience, Lesley leads Re:So, the University's student-staffed and stocked store, which gives students the opportunity to work in and develop the business, as well as to test out their products in a real-life retail store.
Lesley is a lecturer on the fashion undergraduate courses' work-based learning unit, which has close associations with Re:So, as many students choose to take on roles at the store as their final-year 100-hour placement. Modules across the faculties in the University are linked to the store, and students work with Lesley and her store team to understand the business and create product and research/marketing related outcomes, some of which are then adopted by the store in real life. The store is now heading into its next phase of development.
Lesley has presented at Interior Educators and Advance HE conferences in the UK. In 2018-19, she led an outward-facing project for Crawley Town Council as a collaboration with the Chichester College group, giving students the opportunity to work as researchers and trainers to small businesses in the town over a six month period.
Lesley worked in creative industries for over 25 years covering fashion and lifestyle visual merchandising, as well as crossing over to business-to-business and business-to-consumer in design and print. Alongside lecturing, she has run her own commercial interior styling company (Gloss Interior Styling Ltd) specialising in hotels, bars and other commercial interiors projects, since 2003.
Lesley has been lecturing since 2006, starting in London, by utilising her industry experience on vocational courses. As a freelance lecturer, Lesley worked with a close group of colleagues in London, teaching many short courses in fashion retail, interior styling and visual merchandising for Central St Martins, Istituto Marangoni and London College of Fashion.
Lesley worked as a visual merchandising trainer and judge for the World Skills competition and has travelled to Spain to train international visual merchandisers at Inditex head office. In 2017, she wrote and delivered a bespoke training course for Harrods' personal interiors shopping team, responding to a brief that requested interior theory, vocabulary and space planning methodologies. This was delivered at Central Saint Martins for two consecutive years.
She joined Solent in 2007 as an associate lecturer and became a senior lecturer in 2018. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has an MA in Interior Design with Distinction.
Lesley's research interests lie in visual presentation of retail discounting and making and unmaking in spatial design processes.
Online Bloomsbury Fashion Business Cases:
Lesley is working on a joint chapter authorship.
Chapter title: Designing and supporting extraordinary work experience
Book title: Applied pedagogies in higher education. Real-world learning and innovation across the curriculum (publisher: Palgrave Macmillan)
Case study of Re:So as a real-world learning environment.
Written with Dr Dawn A Morley RN SFHEA.