Hi, Ayesha! Some of our visitors might remember you from July's Perfect Pitch programme - but could you introduce yourself again?
Hi! I am the founder and designer of the brand Little Wardrobe London. For the past three years I have immersed myself in the word of children's fashion and design, starting by creating clothes for my own three children.
When, where and why did you decide to launch your own children's clothing brand?
I was born and brought up in London. From the earliest memories I have of my childhood - the fairytales my mother read to me, to the books I grew up reading, to the productions I would see at the theatre - all these things shaped my perception of British culture. It was a culture I loved, and wanted my own children to experience. I first realised when my twins were very young that there was a vast market in childrenswear, ranging from Gap to Gucci - from the every-day rough-and-tumble kind of clothes, to occassionwear, and opulent, exquisite designer-wear. But within this huge spectrum of choice, there was very little that I felt represented the culture I had grown up with; the fairytales and books that had been so influential throughout my childhood. So, it was then that I set about creating a clothing line to celebrate Britain's heritage, eccentricity and individuality.
The brand name was inspired by one of my favourite childhood stories, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, by C.S Lewis. I loved the idea of going through the wardrobe and entering a whole new world. It is also one of the most important elements of the brand - namely, that we capture and ignite the imagination of children through the clothing. In the same way that the shoes we wear inform the way we walk, I believe that clothes can inform expression, inspire playfulness, and create the most magical of stories.
What challenges did you face when launching Little Wardrobe London?
There were challenges that arose when launching the brand - mainly that of manufacture. The ambition was to create a brand that was authentically British, which meant not only British design and influence, but also British manufacture. I had a lot of people telling me no; that it wasn't financially feasible, that it just couldn't be done here. Ultimately, I chose to side-step all the no's and spent a long time building up a network of contacts, as well as sourcing the right people who shared my vision.
What inspires your clothing? What is your design process?
Sometimes when it comes to design it starts with the silhouette; I see the shape of the garment, and the details follow. But, more often than not, it starts with the fabric itself. What seems to come through unconsciously is the influence of the wonderful fairytales, stories and theatre inspired by our British culture.
Tell us more about your mission to be a truly home-grown brand...
In order to be a true British brand we believed that not only did our clothing have to be designed here, but it should be made here too. We've gone a step further and are actually having them manufactured in London, to really live up to the brand name. On a practical level, having the garments made here also allows us to stay on top of the quality and craftsmanship of our clothes.
How was your first edition of Bubble London?
Bubble is an interesting show as everyone really puts a lot of effort into their stands and communicating their brand's message. We wanted to make sure our stand represented our brand and showed off the garments as well as possible. The highlight was being nominated as a finalist for the Rising Star award.
What's next for Little Wardrobe London?
We've had a lot of global interest and global orders, and our new collection for Spring/Summer 2016 will hopefully make a big impact next year. We are already busy developing our Autumn/Winter 2016 collection, and look forward to showing it at Bubble early next year.
Fancy joining our A/W16 show? You can apply for a stand here...