Posted by Rebekah Roy on April 17th, 2009
I recently came across the label e.g. launched by Emma Grifiths, a Westminster University graduate, and Jeanpierre Kalebic (an ex-estate agent). They’re based in East London.
I’m always interested in new designers - they are never really all that new and have usually been sewing and designing most of their lives before setting up their own label. When I first looked at the colIection I loved e.g.’s blue dress. It’s very strong and you could imagine using it in a shoot. I also liked that they used a model of colour. (It shouldn’t be noteworthy and maybe it shouldn’t matter but it does.)
Could you tell me your fashion background?
EG - I studied at Westminster University, where I was taught by Zowie Broach (founder of Boudicca) and I worked with Alexander McQueen. Following that I opened a small boutique in Clerkenwell, where I designed and made clothes for the stylish local ladies. My partner and I then set up e.g… at the beginning of this year.
Did your mum or grandmother sew?
EG - Yes, both. A lot of my clothes were made for me when growing up, which was nice because it gave me an understanding of where clothes came from. Nowadays kids don’t really have any inkling that their clothes are actually made by someone; ask them where a potato comes from and they will more than likely say Tescos.
What inspired your collection?
EG - I wanted to question woman’s place in a male dominated world and hopefully instill confidence in our clients. The cardinal skirts and tops for instance, I’ve taken aspects of the Roman Catholic Church, a male hegemony, and used them to make strong, confident ladies’ clothes. There are aspects of the 80s in there too, big shoulders, defined shapes all help the wearer to feel bigger and stronger than perhaps they are, like a suit of armour.
How many pieces are in the collection?
EG - We have about 30 at the moment but we intend adding 1 or 2 garments a week over the next few months to keep it fresh..
What piece/garment most represents your collection?
EG - I will have to say the ribbon jacket. (It’s the jacket in the image below.) It is the strongest, piece and really stands out as something special.
What advice would you have for someone starting an on-line business?
EG - The website has to look perfect. It doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive, our site for instance is quite basic in terms of functionality, but it looks good. No spelling or grammatical errors, clean and easy to navigate, informative. Then get out there and tell people about it, get in touch with everyone you know and tell them to tell their friends, get in touch with as many relevant blogs and online magazines, and of course try and get some editorial in newspapers and magazines.
What is the most important thing you wanted to achieve when designing your site?
EG - It had to look clean, crisp and structured, like our clothes.
What has been the most challenging aspect of starting a new business?
EG - The hardest part is the set up, money goes out at an alarming rate but nothing comes back in, its quite scary!
Will you be doing a show at London Fashion Week Sept 09?
EG - Not Sure yet, we are looking at the possibility of getting some funding.
Tea or Coffee?
EG - 2 cups of tea when I wake up, a cup of coffee following that, followed by another cup of coffee and then generally tea for the rest of the day (it has to be Yorkshire tea).
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