Emilia Wickstead, fashion’s darling

Article by Fashion Quarterly

Emilia Wickstead

Since shooting to prominence when Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, wore her eponymous label, the designer’s sphere of influence continues to reign supreme.

FQ: What’s in store for the rest of 2016?
Emilia Wickstead: We are really focusing on streamlining and growing the brand, which means more collections. It’s going to be a very exciting year.

Earlier this year you showed your AW16 collection at London Fashion Week. What do you remember most about that day?
The day goes in such a blur, you are often working on just a couple of hours sleep. But the most memorable moment is that line up just before the girls go out – it’s when you really see how all your hard work has come together.

You first showed at LFW in 2012 – has putting a collection on the runway become any easier?
I have a lot more support now which is a massive help in terms of allowing me to focus in areas that I’m needed most. It’s still always nerve-wracking though, especially because the more successful you become and the more you grow, the more pressure there is to be better next time.

What has been your career highlight to date?
There have been so many – opening my store, showing at London Fashion Week, and hiring a CEO. We’ve also just renovated the Sloane Street store so it’s now a true reflection of the Emilia Wickstead aesthetic, and this is something I am very proud of.

Emilia Wickstead with Alexa Chung at a dinner hosted by the model in London.

Emilia with Poppy Delevingne at the 2015 British Fashion Awards.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
Balancing family and home life with a busy, growing business – both need your full, undivided attention.

Your celebrity clientele ranges from the very conservative (Kate Middleton and Samantha Cameron) to the very cool (Alexa Chung and Gigi Hadid). What’s the key to designing clothes that appeal to such a cross-section of women?
I’m always designing for the most modern woman in her circle. She will always lead a good and successful life because it is the life she knows she wants to make for herself. You’ll covet her vocation as much as her clothes.

What are your fashion essentials?
A polo neck, a white T-shirt, a pair of tailored trousers and an amazing, loud coat.

What was your last purchase?
I’m actually terrible at buying clothes – I usually just wear my own designs – so my last actual purchase was some vintage plates from a street market.

The designer takes to the catwalk at the close of her AW16 show at London Fashion Week.

Being as busy as you are, what’s a non-negotiable indulgence or ritual that keeps you sane?
I think it’s really important to exercise so I try to go to the gym when I can. I also truly believe in treating your skin well, eating well and sleeping.

You were back in New Zealand earlier this year as the international guest of iD Dunedin Fashion Week. What’s the best piece of advice you can give to the next generation of fashion graduates?
Keep evolving your designs. Find an aesthetic and stay true to it, but make sure you are always striving to make it modern and fresh. I would also say never be afraid of failure and always accept help when it is offered.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Never, ever give up.

You’ve lived all over the world – where do you feel most at home?
I feel at home where my family is – at the moment that’s London, where I started my brand. I must admit that whenever I go back to New Zealand I do get homesick, though.

What’s the most New Zealand thing about you?

Words: Phoebe Watt
Photos: Getty Images/Supplied