What inspired you to start your tailored fashion business?
I realized that the majority of women were never able to find clothes to fit them properly. Most women were following trends that didn’t suit them. Fashion to me is about being an individual and creating your own style: I wanted to do that and I want my clients to do that too.
How did your previous experience in design and retail help to get your idea off the ground?
You go into auto pilot when you have experience in retail, so negotiating leases, shop fitting and planning store openings was second nature to me. My passion in tailoring and being inspired by talented and experienced designers was all I needed to add to my retail background.
Where did the name ‘number 35’ come from, as that’s not the shop’s location?
This is a secret which will become apparent as the number 35 showrooms expand…
Who are your design heroes?
My fashion design heroes are Ralph Lauren for cut and simplicity of style and Vintage Balenciaga for sheer genius in the use of fabric.
And your style icons?
There is only one style icon for me: Audrey Hepburn. She was not about fashion; she was about individual style.
How would you describe your personal style?
My style is simple and understated elegance. I love strong fabrics and architectural lines. All my clothes reflect this.
What do you love most about your work?
Without a shadow of doubt, I get much pleasure from my clients letting me know how fantastic they feel when they wear my clothes and how they had never previously had so many compliments.
Not really, although sometimes maintaining two collections, running two shops and maintaining high levels of customer service can be a great deal of pressure, but we are a small team and we always get there in the end.
Who are your customers – can you name-drop any celebs?
Our clients are incredible women, mainly professional, who tend to be at the top of their chosen fields. I feel very privileged that they buy my clothes, a relatively unknown designer. We maintain a sense of loyalty with our clients.
What’s been your most unusual tailoring request?
As we produce two collections per season, the requests tend to be based on the collection, but I have taken three dresses and combined them to create one. The customer counted 15 compliments, so we obviously did something right.
What should we be wearing now?
Fashion to me is about individuality, so follow the trends very loosely, combining your style with the trends. You can’t go wrong with a great wrap camel coat and a pair of wedge boots.
What’s your current bestseller?
It has to be the bright violet wrap shirt. It fits all women whatever their shape and size and it made its first appearance at the state opening of parliament [November 2009].
What’s your personal indulgence?
Tai chi in the park every Monday morning, come rain or shine. It’s the perfect beginning to my week and I love it.
Number 35 will be made available to more women who want to develop their own sense of style. I want to enable more women to understand their own limitations and help them to adopt a style of dressing that accentuates their natural personality.