jilla ad final

What I Know About Style

Sophia Cartwright

February
1

Beachwear designer Sophia Cartwright shares her fashion tips and the inspiration behind her coveted designs

How would you describe your brand, Sophia Alexia London?

Sophia Alexia is a colourful resortwear brand with a touch of luxury. My customers like to buy something that makes them stand out from the crowd – they are looking for that special item to help them look and feel gorgeous on holiday. My pieces flatter a variety of body shapes and can be dressed up or down in a matter of seconds so are very versatile. They are also very light, making them easy to pack and care for.

How did you first come up with the idea for your label and was it difficult to launch?

Since I can remember I have always had a strong interest in fashion, design and travel and I always dreamt that one day I would have my own resortwear label, but it was actually my mother who initiated the idea to launch it after I graduated from London College of Fashion in 2014 – without her it may still have been a pipe dream. It was a challenge though and, with no business background at all, I really did throw myself in at the deep end. I began by selling silk scarves and sarongs, produced here in England. Five years on, I am so glad that I chose this path. I feel very fortunate to be doing something I love and I have met so many inspiring people along the way, not least all my amazing customers who encourage me with their enthusiasm for my brand.

Who are your biggest fashion icons?

I love Sienna Miller’s boho chic style and how it seems so effortlessly put together. For citywear inspiration I look to Olivia Palermo – she always looks so polished and well-presented.

Your collection is available online and from boutiques around the UK, including at Boho Beach Fest in Wimbledon. What are your favourite west London shops?

If I’m planning a shopping trip my first port of call is the Kings Road in Chelsea. I find it much easier to navigate than the likes of Oxford Street, and the selection of shops is spot on. I particularly love Maje and Ba&sh, and never miss a quick trip to Anthropology – I find it impossible to leave empty handed. There is also, in my opinion, the best Zara in London located in the Duke of York Square. It’s huge and always seems to have the best selection of new styles.

Your dresses are also stocked in a handful of European locations and chic resorts in the Caribbean. Where did your last holiday take you?

I recently visited Tulum in Mexico. It was absolutely beautiful and felt like an enchanted dreamland. The resort I stayed at, Nomade Tulum, was just breathtaking and I cannot recommend it enough. I went with my sister and our best friend but it is definitely somewhere to go with your partner as it is so romantic!

Describe your perfect weekend.

At this time of year my perfect weekend would begin at a nice tasty brunch spot such as The Pear Tree Cafe in Battersea Park, followed by a nice long walk through the park, stopping for tea at a Maître Choux in Chelsea, where they have the most amazing éclairs. To end the day it would have to be a delicious roast dinner, followed by a movie, snuggled up on the sofa with my gorgeous cat, Boo.

What are your favourite places in London and why?

I love Hyde Park. I used to live very close by and spent a lot of time there when I first moved to London so it always brings back a lot of lovely memories. It is beautiful and you can easily get lost in your thoughts, wandering beneath the wonderful old trees.

Best night out in London?

I discovered BYOC (Bring Your Own Cocktail) in Soho on a friend’s birthday night out and think it’s a great concept. Catching up with friends while trying new and delicious cocktails makes for a memorable night and one I would highly recommend!

What are your top style tips when packing for a beach holiday?

I always try to plan my outfits and accessories in advance and aim for a capsule holiday wardrobe in a colour palette of a few shades, including a few staple pieces in neutral colours, so that I can mix and match the items. It also prevents me from over packing, which I’m guilty of doing from time to time! Another tip is to pack a portable steamer – I love mine and take it everywhere. It saves me looking like a crinkled mess when heading out.

What’s the most treasured item in your wardrobe?

My most treasured item would have to be my black suede knee-length Vera Wang boots which I got while interning at Vera Wang in New York. They go with pretty much everything and have sentimental value as I feel they have been on a bit of a journey with me.

Apart from beautiful beachwear, you also design scarves and clutch bags – are there plans for other product launches soon?

Yes, we will be launching our first ever jumpsuit which I am pretty sure I’ll be living in this summer as it is so comfortable and easy to wear. We will also be introducing some lovely new prints to help keep the collection fresh and on trend, and are working on a collaboration with Aspiga to produce some exclusive prints for them in some of our current popular styles – make sure you keep an eye out for those!

www.sophia-alexia.com

Loading Flickr slideshow...

Juliet Travers

September
28

We catch up with interior designer, Juliet Travers on her collaboration with renowned children’s furniture brand Dragons of Walton Street, how it all began and the inspiration behind her work

Tell us about your journey into wallpaper design? How did it all begin?

I gained experience with a range of different wallpaper and fabric companies who are renowned in the industry such as Fox Linton, Cole and Son and Colefax and Fowler, while I was studying, which was hugely beneficial to me for understanding… Read more →

Ashley Pearce

August
11

Milliner and designer Ashley Pearce on fairytale fantasy, commissions for Strictly Come Dancing and the power of puppy-dog eyes

How did your journey into the fashion industry start?

My journey must have really begun way back as a toddler, doing the rounds of the local craft fair circuit with my mother. She’s a jewellery designer, so I also decided to design and make things to sell, from fairies in jars and magic wands to full-size… Read more →