Friday, March 27, 2009

Sophie Gittins Builds Her Business

When you see a flash of red on the sole of a heel, you think Louboutin. When you see a bumblebee, you should think Sophie Gittins. The designer's ladylike shoes won the favour of Vogue before her first fashion week - but all that training at Chloe and a strong sense of business savvy probably helped.

A month after London took down its fashion-week catwalks, the up-and-coming designer tells us what she's been up to and why Thandie Newton should come calling.

What type of woman wears Sophie Gittins shoes? What celebrity or fashion icon could you see in them?
The shoes are classically feminine with an edge, and so they tend to appeal to women who are not necessarily doggedly trend led but who are always current. I would love to see Thandie Newton in them as she’s able to veer between cutting edge and classic elegance whilst maintaining a strong sense of femininity, which is a chameleon quality I admire.

What was a typical day like during fashion week?
Much of my time was spent at the main tents exploring all the other stands. Obviously from a design point of view, it’s interesting to see what trends are emerging and how your collection sits amongst the others, but it’s also fun to build an extended mental ‘wish list’ for the forthcoming season!

What type of response have you been getting?
As I was showing my first collection it was very much an unknown quantity what reaction would be, but the response has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s given me the opportunity to gain advice from so many respected people that I can take forward and apply entering my second season, so I really couldn’t ask for more.

Did you do anything to celebrate your first fashion week?
I moved house and studio just before fashion week so I invited my friends over for a grand unveiling. It was lovely and low key and just what the doctor ordered after the chaos of fashion week!

Post-fashion week, what have you been doing?
The momentum has really kept up since fashion week, which of course is fantastic, but I’m starting to focus on Spring/Summer 2010 now. My favourite part of the whole cycle is the research, so I’m looking forward to things easing off so I can concentrate fully on that in the coming weeks.

As a young designer, what's been surprising you about the business side of having your own line?
I’ve always understood the importance of not neglecting the business side in favour of the creative side if you want the company to progress, but it’s surprised me how much help there is available with that side of things if you seek it out. In London especially, there’s a real sense of priority given to nurturing young designers in the early stages of business. I think perhaps this has been heightened by the tough economic times, as there is an understanding that fewer people are likely to strike out on their own, and so those who do need direction and support wherever possible.

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