Beedle studied English at Sidney Sussex CollegeAmit Israeli, Wil Beedle, and Keira Quirk with permission for Varsity

Amidst what can feel like a vast sea of supervision work, internship applications, and essay deadlines; alongside anxiety over the dreaded question, “so, what are your plans after university?” the prospect of venturing down a path less trodden can be daunting. Not to mention the fact that many subjects at Cambridge don’t necessarily lend themselves to pursuing a creative career. But what happens when you take the risk, and it works?

I sat down with Wil Beedle, Cambridge alumnus, former creative director of AllSaints, and founder of eco-outerwear brand Shoreditch Ski Club to discuss all things fashion. Beedle studied English at Sidney Sussex College before breaking into the fashion industry.

“There wasn’t an obvious connection between my degree and the kind of career I wanted to explore”

After graduating from Cambridge, Beedle reflects: “I became a little heavy-hearted as I realised there wasn’t an obvious connection between my degree and the kind of career I wanted to explore.” Seeing friends around him getting office jobs caused some doubt on whether he was doing the right thing. Floating around Paris and London, selling art and making films, Beedle admits: “There was definitely a point about 2-3 years after leaving when I’d not really got it together yet … it sounds quite fun now but at the time I was more like, okay, seriously, what am I actually going to do?”

He warns me against idealising the post-uni years where you’re still in the process of “figuring things out”. It can be difficult seeing your friends embark on their careers while you’re stuck working a retail job or giving up your time for free, just to acquire the experience that others in the fashion industry seem to somehow already have.

While the move to Paris made Beedle “conscious that fashion existed as an industry, and that there were real jobs and an entire ecosystem,” he found himself drifting through the city “painting, making clothes, and wondering if it was ever going to fall into place” for him.

“Don’t worry if there isn’t always an obvious next step”

After exploring various job opportunities and grappling with concerns that he might not “make it”, things took a sudden turn. Having noticed the clothes that Beedle had made for himself, AllSaints co-founder Stuart Trevor offered Wil a job back in London. “He asked me to join the company and from there I just went for it.” Beedle spent 18 years with the brand, progressing to chief creative director, before leaving and starting his own company Shoreditch Ski Club.

Shoreditch Ski Club shoots from August and November 2023Amit Israeli with permission for Varsity

Shoreditch Ski Club was born in 2018, as an eco-outerwear brand aiming to fuse slopestyle with street-wear, producing silhouettes that have “enough bite to work in the city but enough elegance and performance to co-exist in the slopes and après ski too.” His designs have been worn by the likes of Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, and Karlie Kloss.

“There’s always the normal path if you change your mind, but you won’t”

After hearing Beedle’s journey, I ask for his advice in transitioning into the fashion industry coming from a more conventional academic background. From his time at Cambridge, he recalls: “I was supposed to be studying literature, but instead I spent a lot of my third year painting … I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that approach.” Instead, he suggests testing as many different creative avenues as possible and reassures me, “don’t worry if there isn’t always an obvious next step, appreciate the foundation and culture [of Cambridge] and use it anywhere you want and wherever it takes you.”

Asked whether Cambridge hindered or helped his creativity, Beedle replies, “My time at Cambridge gave me an underlying confidence that enabled a sharpened instinct as I began to develop a very cross-disciplinary path for myself in the creative industries, and a career that, so far, has enabled me to create a very fulfilling and rewarding body of work.” Beedle’s foundation might not have been an obviously creative one, but his experience of “reading literature and becoming comfortable with articulating [his] personal response to things” helped to fine-tune his stylistic instincts.


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Despite his success, he candidly comments: “I don’t think I’ve ever broken the age-old habit of finishing the essay five minutes before the supervision. That’s a bit harder with clothes.”

Beedle leaves me with the remark that while the fashion industry is renowned for its challenges, ultimately, “there’s always the normal path if you change your mind, but you won’t.”