What I Know About Style

Fleur b.

December
9

Fleur Bird tells us about the transition from buyer to business owner, her view on British manufacturing and what she wants for Christmas

What made you take the step from fashion buyer to business owner and designer?

As a buyer I used to travel a great deal and was always finding beautiful brands that weren’t available in the UK and from this, the idea to set up the boutique began. I also knew that I would find the inflexibility of working in a corporate environment difficult with a young family.

Where do you find inspiration for the brand?

London is a huge influence for me – I feel very connected to the city and for me design is a continuously evolving process. Something I have seen will stay with me and develop into a collection mood or theme. We are working on AW14 at the moment. The inspiration came from London’s secret gardens. I love how nature prevails in the urban environment and the theme is perfect for our feminine print and colour handwriting.

Why is British manufacturing important to you?

British manufacturing is an amazing support to small businesses like mine. If we want new independent designers to flourish then we need to make sure that these skills are maintained in this country. Ultimately it will be the consumer’s decision but I will also be proud to champion this very special industry.

Describe your personal style and how it affects the brand.

I think the designer’s personal style is always very evident in their own collections. For me fashion needs to be fast. I rely on a core collection of staples that never fail me. Simple shapes, striking prints, jackets with everything, great denim, leather separates and statement pieces of jewellery. Fleur b is a one-stop shop for this look.

Who’s your typical customer? Ever get anyone famous in your stores?

Our customer loves fashion but is not ruled by it. Fashion needs to work hard for her. She is looking for trend-inspired pieces that she can use within her own style. Both the stores are situated in great London locations so a lot of the celebrity stylists regularly use us as well as the occasional celebrity although they always prefer to keep a low profile.

Where else in London would you love to open a store?

I would love to have a store on Dover Street.

How do you find the perfect balance between work and family life?

I am very lucky to work for myself as I can prioritise my workload around the children. When you run your own business it becomes very much part of your family life but in an extremely positive way. The children know that Mummy makes clothes and they love to comment on what I am designing – it’s a great colouring exercise for them!

What can we expect from Fleur b. in the year to come?

The customer’s involvement in the collection is an integral part of the brand. We have sited our design room on our Duke Street shop floor so that customers can interact with the entire process. We are re-launching our website imminently, allowing us to share the design process with a wider audience. We are also working on a bespoke service allowing customer to choose their own colours, length etc within our collections. The collection itself keeps evolving and we have some gorgeous new leather and tailored pieces coming in.

What is your favourite brand or piece currently in store?

I can’t name just one! I love our new gem print blouse; I wear our leather trousers all the time and I would love the navy Filippa K faux fur jacket, although there are only two left!

Any hidden boutiques in west London that you love?

Iris boutique on the Ledbury Road has the very best selection of shoes.

What is your life philosophy?

In business: What doesn’t break you makes you stronger. In life: Live every day as if it is your last.

Any guilty pleasures?

Godiva, Pinot Noir and an ITV drama.

So, what’s on your Christmas wish list this year?

Santa, please bring me sparkly things…

Fleur b., 8 Elystan Street, Chelsea, London, SW3; www.fleurb.co.uk; 020 7225 3050

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