london's female designers shaping the industry: part three
London has the highest number of female designers in fashion, with women leading the charge at some of the most successful and forward-thinking labels and fashion houses in the world. With London Fashion Week underway, we team up with Sarah Mower, MBE...
What are the advantages of women making women's clothes? The obvious answer is that they might not romanticize about women. They are more familiar with their needs. I don't necessarily think it's important for women to design for women, though. Men can do it just as well. Which woman in fashion has been the most instrumental in your career? In the early 80s Liz Tilberis was Fashion Assistant at British Vogue and she took my clothes along to Bruce Weber shoots. They took brilliant photographs that appeared in the magazine. As for inspiration, I am more inspired by women in other fields of art and design rather than fashion, e.g. Charlotte Perriand, Barbara Hepworth, Patti Smith. What advice would you give young girls hoping to follow in your footsteps? Trust your own judgment, work hard, and don't give up.
Why is London a hotbed for female talent? It's great that so many women in London can rise creatively both in design and business. There is so much attention on gender and equality within all its different forms, which is a fantastic progression. Which woman in fashion has been most instrumental in your career? Women designers of the 60s, Barbara Hulanicki and Mary Quant, who helped shape a completely new way of dressing for women that felt young, empowered, free, and political. London's female designers are... vocal about family and femininity. You would think that in something like fashion it would hardly be a problem, but fundamental things like having a family were hardly talked about until recently. I just hope enough girls from less privileged backgrounds will still be able to enter the industry now even higher tuition fees are being pushed through by the new government.
Why is London a hotbed of female creativity? London is is one of the most forward-thinking environments and women are the future of the world. Which woman in fashion has been most instrumental in your career? Louise Wilson. She prepared us for fashion, but she also prepared us for life. She was a truly awesome human being. What are the advantages of women making women's clothes? What is important is that we have a voice and a presence in an industry that has tended to be 'man-heavy' within its leading roles.
London's female designers have... good style and they're not afraid to use it. What advice would you give young girls hoping to follow in your footsteps? Believe in yourself or why should anyone else? Learn to deal with criticism and remember you are only as good as the team that surrounds you — no woman is an island.
Photography and artwork Quentin Jones
Hair Kei Terada using Bumble and bumble at Julian Watson Agency. Make-up Rebecca Wordingham at Saint Luke's using H&M Beauty. Photography assistance Gareth Horton. Digital technician Tanya Houghton, Morgan Brown. Hair assistance Issey Hyde and Ami Fujita. Make-up assistance Gareth Harris, Holly Reza and Molly Nicholas. Designers Amie Robertson. Anna Laub. Ashley Williams. Astrid Andersen. Caitlin Price. Claire Barrow. Cozette McCreery. Danielle Romeril. Faustine Steinmetz. Fran Stringer. Hannah Weilland. Helen Lawrence. Holly Fulton. Luella Bartley. Margaret Howell. Marta Almeida. Marta Jakubowski. Martine Rose. Mimi Wade. Molly Goddard. Pam Hogg. Phoebe English. Roksanda Ilincic. Sam McCoach. Simone Rocha. Sophia Webster. Thea Bregazzi.