Those lovely people at Young British Designers have been very kind to secretstylist readers, knowing that you are embarking on your spring/summer wardrobes, and aware that you love unique, fabulous clothes which stand out from the usual fluff. I had a little chat with Debra, one of the founders, about YBD and how it all started, and I have picked some gorgeous pieces from the new collection which caught my eye. The 15% discount starts today, just quote the code: YBD 15GS when you make your purchase. It is available until 15 April, off full price retail items. Bingo. Stay tuned for some stunning new designers launching on their site soon: Partimi, Borne and Jade Kang.
How did it all begin? It began properly in January this year when a group of people with an idea to do something different in the tough world of fashion came together, voiced their passion for emerging designers and created Young British Designers.
In terms of who’s involved we are very lucky in having a team of people who have all given freely of their time and individual talents. Our backgrounds range from Sustainability, Global Marketing, Advertising, Design, Production and Finance. It’s a mix of old and young, experience and the desire to take a risk on something really worthwhile. It’s really hard work so we all rely on good humour and the support of our growing designer and customer base to keep us going through the tough times!
Finding new talent is just the very best bit of this whole concept. We obviously walk our legs off at London and Paris Fashion Weeks including all of the offshoot shows that take place. In addition we trawl the internet, graduation shows and very importantly we now have many hundreds of young designers writing in to us and asking to join us. Brilliant!
My 5 favourite items at the moment? The Issi Volcano Messenger Bag. Big, bold, beautiful, ethical. I am always stopped and asked about this bag (which I bought as soon as I saw it!). And when you open it the gold silk lining with silkscreen is just so uplifting!
The Eudon Choi Olga dress is definitely up there. This designer is going to be huge. He has such a wonderful boy-girl style and his quality is just amazing. Olga is a real wow dress that’s also easy to wear and a stunning mix of chiffon, silk, jersey and leather.
Fannie Shiavoni’s Cross Necklace is absolutely a future classic. Her pieces are so very smooth and tactile that they almost become part of you. It’s no wonder she’s won Newgen for the third consecutive time.
The Orphan’s Arms so very much represent what YBD is about. They’re British through and through, their brand is founded upon something very compelling and we stumbled upon them at On/Off. My favourite is the Pretty Little Gun Vest.
Jena.Theo anything and everything would be in my list. This young duo is just startling in their originality. I love each and every piece but especially the Great Coat, the Blue Black Pleated Leggings and the Rolling Drums dress....aaaah.
Likely Trends for SS11? I’m thinking lace is staying with us, moving from the black and navy to softer creams and nudes and pale greys. There’s a safari meets military direction we’ve seen coming through and my personal favourite is boy wear with pretty girl accents (look out for our new SS designer ‘Borne’).
YBD in 5 years time? Well, we have been so delighted at the unimaginable depth and breadth of design talent here in the UK that we can only see the concept growing ever forward. We do have some ambitious plans to expand the concept into other areas and are already being nagged for menswear! (We all have a very keen interest in the arts too so keep watching for progress!)
With regard to setting up a store we have never ruled this out. We can see it would make a very attractive stand alone offering or within a flagship store. However right now we are concentrating upon making the online experience the very best possible.
We are just delighted at the response from abroad. We have sold to the US, to Hong Kong, to France, Germany, The Netherlands and Slovakia. And it’s abroad that we’ve sold some of our designers’ edgier pieces too. That was somewhat of a surprise to us all.
We are definitely trying to recruit a wide range of price point designers. It’s important that emerging designers are accessible to all. Sometimes however when young designers start out it costs an absolute fortune for them to produce their first collections in minuscule numbers. So, quite often the prices seem to be on the high side. When you take into account the hours, the hand finishing, the gorgeous materials and resultant quality plus the fact you are buying a future classic the price represents really good value. As we often say: Own a Great. Before they’re famous.
Love these shorts, and the whole short suit look
Lacy lacy, love it, dress it up or down, wear with shorts above, or a blazer and jeans
A twist on the maxi, it will be big this season, why not make it a bit different?
I've gone soppy, love this chunky ring
Bold jewels are huge this season, this makes a statement, love it