5 Minutes With… Bea Deza, Founder of Sister Jane

Sister Jane may not be a household name just yet but from where I’m sitting, that looks like it could be about to change pretty soon. Much as I dream of wearing Prada from morning ’til night, when it comes down to it, I’m a high street girl and few things excite me more than discovering a brand who’s looks I love and have some hope of actually owning. A couple of years ago I braved the Oxford Circus Topshop and, to my delight, stumbled across an adorable, frill collar blouse by Spanish brand, Sister Jane. I snapped it up in a heart beat and since then have stepped out in that preppy-chic little number on more occasions than I can even remember. So, I was thrilled when I got the chance to chat with Sister Jane’s Founder/Designer Bea Deza, AKA the woman responsible for creating one of my most-worn blouses…

Bea Deza Sister Jane

LPA: When and why did you decide to found Sister Jane?

BD: I spent three years in banking and started feeling a uncomfortable about not fulfilling my dreams and being so far from my element. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do and little by little I found that it was expressing my feelings through design that made me feel at ease. During my career in banking I had travelled the world and during that time, was lucky enough to find factories in Asia where I later started having some of my designs made. So Sister Jane started in a very organic way. It took a lot of courage to change my whole life but I think you can’t go wrong when you are true to yourself.

LPA: Tell me a little about your professional background. What did you do before Sister Jane? 

BD:I studied finance and law in Madrid then I worked in banking in New york and London. In my holidays I took some short courses in fashion design at Central St Martins.

LPA: Do you design with a specific girl, or character in mind? If so, who is she?

BD: At the very beginning I got ALL my inspiration from Florence Welch. She helped me a lot to be couragous and believe in my designs. She is probably one of the people that has inspired me most back when she started, two years ago. I also get a lot of inspiration from exhibitions, music bands and the street tribes in London.

LPA: How would you describe the Sister Jane aesthetic?

BD: I think is when excentricism meets classicism, if that makes any sense… The Sister Jane girl is an old soul but at the same time she is a rebel so all the designs have a ladylike base but with a grungy twist.

LPA: Instead of designing just one collection each season, Sister Jane stock gets updated every six weeks! Why did you make the decision to do this? And more importantly, how do you manage it?

BD: When I observe the world and our generation I see that people get tired of things very quickly and nothing lasts long. Sister Jane tries to adapt to this new world we live in. Plus, individuality has become a big value in our society so Sister Jane aims to cater to that by constantly launching new styles that no one has already. In a way, we are launching ¨limited editions¨ all the time. this seems to work very well, although we NEVER stop, we NEVER sleep, but we will when the time comes!

LPA: Fashion is an incredibly competitive business and I can imagine that running your own brand is pretty touch at times. What do you feel has been the secret to Sister Jane’s success so far? 

BD: I think that if you have a good product you can’t go wrong and the styles we launch seem to work. You have to be agile in this world we live in and flexible, and a good observer!

LPA: You’ll soon be opening your first UK standalone store in Portobello and spend a lot of your time travelling between London and Madrid. How do you feel English and Spanish style are different?

BD: I guess Spanish style represents the nostalgia of my ¨past traditions¨and the English symbolizes excenticism. I’m crazy for British exentricism! You can’t find it anywhere else in the world. Thats why Sister Jane is ultimately an English brand, she was born in London.

LPA: What advice would you give to someone hoping or planning to launch their’ own fashion brand?

BD: If you love what you do, you will succeed. Observe the world, believe in yourself and get together with a geek friend who understands numbers and can write a savvy business plan. Artists and numbers are not good friends and at the end of the day, it is a business.

LPA: What’s your ultimate aim for the Sister Jane brand?

BD: We want to inspire people to find themselves through clothes. And if we need to open stores all over the world to achieve that then we will!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Interviews 2 Comments

Johnnie Walker Whisky Launches Gold Label Reserve

You’ve got to hand it to whoever organised the Johnnie Walker Whisky bash, they’ve got a sense of humour. I mean, holding the Gold Label Reserve launch party at London’s Whisky Mist, that’s rather amusing. Even if the party had been rubbish I still would have enjoyed LOL-ing at the choice of venue, but luckily – or perhaps unluckily, given how I felt the next morning – that wasn’t the case. In honour of the brand’s new ‘Gold’ label, the club had been transformed into a bling-lovers paradise with gold drapery adorning everything from the bar to the DJ booth where, fittingly, Drum n’ Base legend Goldie was on the decks. Naturally there were a number of suitably glittering names in attendence including Mischa Barton, Henry Holland, Tolula Adeyemi, Jade Williams and Zara Martin who – possibly as a result of the lethally strong whisky cocktails on tap – let loose on the dance floor until the wee hours.

Johnnie Walker Whisky

Johnnie Walker Whisky

Johnnie Walker Whisky

Johnnie Walker Whisky

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Parties Leave a comment

La Petite Weekly Wish List, July 20th

Another week, another wish list… You’d think I’d get bored of looking at pretty clothes but yet, somehow I don’t. Bare legs + extreme rain makes for serious cashmere craving and I was just about ready to give up on Summer and make straight for the pre fall collections but then I heard a little rumour (ok, I looked at my iPhone weather app) that hot weather is set to hit London next week and all of a sudden, chunky knitwear didn’t seem so tempting.  Still, I’m not about to make the same mistake I’ve made at least ten times this season and start packing away my layers, instead here are a few choice pieces that can work with whatever the weather decides to throw at us.

wish list

1) Tibi floral print silk peplum top, £270, click here to buy
2) J Brand coated stealth skinny jeans, £230, click here to buy
3) Miu Miu Croc effect leather iPhone sleeve, £85, click here to buy
4) Lily and Lionel Bisset Aqua Scarf, £99, click here to buy
5) House of Holland for Superga leopard trainers, £55, click here to buy
6) French Sole red patent Boston crocodile pumps, £115, click here to buy
7) Whistles Fleur tote bag, £135, click here to buy
8) Mulberry metallic jacquard dress reduced from £450 to £148.50, click here to buy
9) Miu Miu glitter pumps, £420, click here to buy

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Shopping Leave a comment

More than 5 Minutes With… Stella McCartney

As you may have gathered from my extremely over excited tweets, Monday was possibly one of the best days EVER as I got the incredible opportunity to meet Stella McCartney. I was one of just 5 lucky MOP’s (that’s members of press) invited along to Stella’s recently launched Adidas store where the designer spent a good hour talking us through her AW12 performance wear, team GB collection and generally giving us the lowdown on her amazing career so far. Unsurprisingly, I was more than a little bit nervous as I awaited the arrival of the one and only Stella McCartney with my blogger buddies, Reem Kanj of Five Five Fabulous, Naomi Mdudu of The Fash Pack and Alex Vanthournout of Alex Loves. At last – we all arrived early due to nerves/excitement – Stella walked in all golden tan, glossy hair and beaming smile, an endearing combination of superhuman chicness and down-to-earth charm.

Stella McCartney & Ella Catliff

In between comparing handbags (Stella prefers the ‘lightweight’ variety), bitching about the weather and manhandling most of the new season stock, I managed sneak in more than 5 minutes worth of interview time with the multi-talented Mrs McCartney…

LPA: You’ve been working with Adidas for eight years now, how did the collaboration actually come about in the first place? Was designing a line of (very stylish) sportswear something you’d always hoped to do one day?

SM: Initially it came about because I knew someone (working) at Adidas! When I did my first solo collection after leaving Chloe I wanted to have sneakers on the runway but I didn’t really love the fashion sneakers around at the time, so I wanted to collaborate with Adidas to make them. Because of my friendship we did this one-off sneaker and then about 6 months later they came and asked if I would do the Originals line - the more casual, fashion side with no technology – and I said look, number one you do that great, you don’t need me and number two, I don’t find it exciting. I don’t want to just design tracksuits, I’d rather do a performance range… And here we are. It all came from working together on one little thing with them but it’s a really big part of our brand philosophy now, it really is part of our woman.

LPA: How greatly does the design process for your Adidas collections differ from what goes into your Stella McCartney mainline collections? 

SM: The design process isn’t completely different. I’ll always be a fashion designer first and foremost so I always start from a fashion point of view. I do the research and get inspired by a woman, that’s the same for anything I do, but then the technology does come into play. There are loads of limitations when you’re working with technology so the design process has to be led by it because of all the constraints. Some of the time we work in the same way as I would on my mainline collections but then other times the process is more technology led. For instance, if we’re working on a new sneaker it’ll be the technology that leads the actual project whereas on some of the outfits we have more freedom. Technology really drives this range so often it can be a new material that inspires the product itself.

LPA: How important do you think it is to stay chic whilst exercising? It can be pretty near impossible but when you live in a city like London, it’s hard not to want to look presentable at the gym or in the park. Do you have any top tips for sweating in style?

The starting point and the foundation of the whole collaboration (with Adidas) was, ‘why should you sacrifice your style for your sport? Why should you be embarrassed when you get caught on the way back from the gym?’ You should look as cool working out as you do in everyday life. You should be able go for a pint afterwards, you should be able to feel confident in how you look. What I found really disappointing, and still do 8 years in, is how women especially take technology less into when dressing for their sport. We so want to look good that often, a woman will just wear her favourite t-shirt to work out. You should be able to wear your favourite garment but it should have the clima cool technology in there and it should be made from a material that doesn’t sweat as much. I think those were the foundations for me in working with technology and style so I really love the whole idea of pack-away and lightweight clothes you can chuck in your bag. You want to be able to bike to work but you don’t want to carry around a load of stuff…  I think with exercise it’s really important that you should be able to bring it in to your life.

When you’re working out it’s so hard to get motivated and I think you need to feel like something’s going to take you that extra little bit. Getting dressed to work out should inspire you to work out. I think that colour has a great home in sportswear. When you start with black it’s really hard to get away from it and if you’ve just got the same old black leggings and black t-shirt on that’s not going to inspire you. Fashion’s there to inspire people and with sports, the two together takes it to a whole different level.

LPA: Stella McCartney mainline, Stella McCartney Kids, Adidas by Stella McCartney, Stella McCartney perfumes, accessories, sunglasses… How do you find the time to do so much, so successfully? 

I’m not going to pretend we’re not extremely busy. I have just one girl that I work with on Adidas so it’s a really tight team. I’m the one that has the overview of everything but that works well as I know what’s going on with kids, with Adidas, our own collection and lingerie and sunglasses… I really am the Creative Director and I think that’s good because it brings everything together in the same voice. But I have a good team. If you want to grow you have to at some stage think, right, I cannot do everything myself, I have to trust in my team and enable my talented people. I had to learn to delegate a bit more and learn to be part of the process rather than trying to control everything.

LPA: The Olympics are just days away now, how do you feel about seeing your designs on every athlete representing Great Britain? 

SM: I’m really, really excited about it. I’ve been working on it for nearly 3 years so it’s been a huge part of my life and really one of the most challenging design projects I’ve done ever without a doubt. I feel like my work is done and I can now hand it over to everyone else.

LPA: What were your main considerations while designing the kit for Team GB? 

SM: The main thing for me was working closely with the athletes and delivering on what they needed. One of my big roles was to really try and make them a team. I think they really wanted that, both when they were performing and when they weren’t, even when they’re just in the village. I thought it was funny how so many of them said ‘we want to go and get our meals together in the food hall. We all want to sit down round a table and everyone to look at us and know we’re team GB’. There in a village for two weeks and want to feel unified so I worked on the village kit very closely and wanted it to look like a famiy, one body of work.

This is the first year that a fashion designer has ever worked on the Olympic kit. It’s also the first time that an entire team’s kit has been worked on so comprehensively and more products have been introduced than ever. In previous Olympics a lot of the time women just got the men’s stuff, for instance, in the last games the women cyclists just had the men’s all-in-ones. I was outraged by that so I made a point of trying to really deliver for both sexes this time round.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Interviews 3 Comments

Jonathan Saunders Resort 2013

I’ve come to the conclusion that Jonathan Saunders can simply do no wrong. Season after season his every collection is inevitably bursting with pieces so delectable I’d do pretty much anything to own them.

Jonathan Saunders resort 2013

Jonathan Saunders resort 2013

Jonathan Saunders resort 2013

I still had yet to recover from the sheer perfection of his ladylike SS12 collection when Glasgow’s golden boy hit us with an array of print-tastic Pre Fall creations. Now, as I’m just beginning to regain my composure from their autumnal hued deliciousness Jonathan Saunders goes and serves up yet another stellar collection! Not that I’m complaining though. Even if I don’t have a hope in hell of buying so much as a t-shirt – at least not without selling a kidney that is – Saunders’ latest eye-popping confections are certainly enjoyable to look at. Think tangy citrus hues, jacquard patterns and tie die, of a distinctly non-hippy variety. The collection has a graphic, 70′s country club vide to it combining sportswear inspired separates, clashing colours and lustrous texture play.

Personally I’m lusting after those brilliant leaf prints, which look would you pick?

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Leave a comment