We talk to renowned British fashion designer Amanda Wakeley on where she sourced her inspiration for her A/W15 collection, her career highlights to date and the one item of clothing she just couldn’t live without.
Q:You launched your label in 1990, what was the motivation behind making the transition from fashion model to designer?
Ever since I could reach the sewing machine, I was customizing or making my own garments. When I moved to London after my time in New York; more and more people were asking what I was wearing and they were my own designs. The transition to designer was the next logical step.
Q:How has Amanda Wakeley as a brand grown over the past two decades? And how was this changed you as a person?
The Amanda Wakeley brand is now an all-encompassing lifestyle brand. We offer bespoke bridal gowns to pet accessories, to scrumptious knitwear and our ready-to-wear collection. I’ve been fortunate enough to grow my brand from a small studio to what it has now become, this has undoubtedly changed me for the better.
Q:You’re known for your understated yet incredibly glamorous designs, when designing a new collection where do you source inspiration?
I am a visual person. I draw my inspiration from imagery more than literature. I am always researching and I constantly absorb and source inspiration from various facets; from my travels, conversations with friends and from contemporaries, art and of course, nature.
Q:You have dressed some of the world’s most beautiful and famous women such as Angelina Jolie and most recently Jennifer Lopez at the 2015 Golden Globes, who has been your favourite person to dress and if you could see anyone wear one of your designs who would it be?
I derive great pleasure in seeing my designs worn by strong women. I hope wearing my visions allow them to feel empowered and great in their own skin. To me, the Duchess of Cambridge embodies the Amanda Wakeley woman. I enjoyed a great relationship with Princess Diana and I like to dress both mothers and daughters!
Q:You were honoured with an OBE in 2010 for your outstanding contribution to British fashion, would you say this has been the highlight of your career to date?
It is definitely one of my proudest moments. The award is special to me because it is also recognition of the talented and committed teams that I am fortunate to work with both in my own business and at Fashion Targets Breast Cancer.
Q:What is the inspiration behind your A/W 15 collection?
I drew influence from the Mongolian subarctic Taiga. The textural layering of the nomadic tribes people and the extremities inspired me to create this collection. The voluminous layers and degradé wool allows the Amanda Wakeley woman to wrap up warm for the oncoming winter.
Q:Your flagship store is in Mayfair, London does this area hold a particular significance to you?
Well, it helps that my friend Mark Hix has his fabulous restaurant right opposite! A most fabulous place for lunch. Jokes aside, I feel that our flagship store on Albemarle Street is the perfect embodiment of the Amanda Wakeley brand. The townhouse is warm and inviting and the informal setting allows women to feel comfortable and have fun whilst they shop.
Q:Where is your favourite travel destination?
So far it would have to be the scrumptious colours of India but for somewhere I’ve yet to go, I’d love to visit Brazil.
Q:What is your motto for life?
I am who I am.
Q:What is your most treasured possession?
If my loved ones (human and animal) were safe; it would have to be my black and white photos. They’re my real memories.
Q:What is the one item in your wardrobe you couldn’t live without?
My Amanda Wakeley boyfriend jumper. It’s my personal cocoon.
See the A/W15 collection here