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What I Know About Style

Amanda Wakeley

August
9

British designer Amanda Wakeley (OBE!) on getting into the fashion industry and romantic meals in west London

Why did you choose South Kensington for your store?

I chose this area for my flagship store because it is a great visible corner. The store is in the heart of where a majority of the customers live and makes it more convenient for them.

You’ve worked with many celebrities in the past. Which one have you enjoyed working with the most and why?

They’re all great women and very focused on their work and how they look. I love seeing Scarlett Johansson in my clothes. She is a wonderful, stylish and contemporary Hollywood woman.

Who or what has been your inspiration?

There have been many sources of inspiration including exhibitions, films, paintings and photography. I have been inspired by Madam Grey and by the concept behind women designing for women.

When did you start designing?

When I was tiny. I was barely the height of reaching a sewing machine when I began taking an interest in designing clothes – it has always been an innate passion.

What has been your greatest challenge?

Fashion designing is a complex business with many obstacles in the way. But what has made all the difference is my love for my work and my enjoyment behind it. It hasn’t just been a matter of designing the final products but rather a long process of crafting and fabrication. I admire my work and that’s what makes it easy for me.

What do you do in your free time?

The privileges of living in London are the parks. I love to go to the park every morning and exercise with my dog. During the summer I go water skiing.

How do you feel about the recent OBE you received?

It was a wonderful surprise and is a formal pat on the back. Being a part of the fashion industry has given me the opportunity to support causes such as breast cancer awareness and contribute by helping raise £10m. It is a privilege and I am encouraged to put in even more hard work.

If there was one thing you could change in your life, what would that be?

I would buy myself more time!

Which is the most romantic restaurant in west London?

Harry’s Bar [www.harrysbar.co.uk/home; 26 South Audley Street, W1K] always has a real sense of occasion and a special feeling attached to it.

What is your earliest London memory?

I was very little and had a picture taken with a pigeon on my head in Trafalgar Square. I look at it now and can hardly believe my eyes because those creatures do really scare me.

What’s on your iPod?

It is a total cross section of music, ranging from The Black Eyed Peas to chill out lounge.

What is your advice to young designers today?

My advice is to go out and get as much experience as possible and a real feel of the industry. The fashion industry is complex and every role is highly respected, so knowing what you want to do is very important.

What is the craziest thing you’ve done in your life?

Followed my partner down a mountain and probably getting into the fashion business!

When is your next holiday?

I’ll soon go cruising off the coast of Corsica.

What is your motto in life?

Life every day to the fullest – time is very precious.

How exclusive is your brand?

It is an aspirational brand that is sometimes perceived to be more expensive than it actually is. We have invested a lot in our flagship store to help customers in browsing freely through our items and spend as much time in deciding what they want to buy. Additionally, our website is very user-friendly which allows viewers to see items closely. We have recently launched an Amanda Wakeley Wedding Planner iPhone application that helps brides and grooms in budgeting. It also includes recommendations of my personal favourites!

Amanda Wakeley, 80 Fulham Road, London, SW3; www.amandawakeley.com; 020 7590 9105

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