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Inside the Industry: Amanda Wakeley

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Published date 26 January 2016

Last week LCF welcomed British fashion designer Amanda Wakeley for the first Inside the Industry talk of 2016. Amanda, who is celebrating 25 years in the industry, was in conversation with Head of LCF Professor Frances Corner, discussing what inspired her to go from model to designer, and her insights about the business side of fashion.

Inside the Industry: Amanda Wakeley and Head of LCF Professor Frances Corner

Inside the Industry: Amanda Wakeley and Head of LCF Professor Frances Corner

Amanda began by telling the audience how she got into the fashion industry and what it was about clothes that interested her – she said that her fascination started when she was very young and that even as a child, she always intuitively designed clothes. Having worked as a model in New York in the 80s, Amanda returned to the UK and saw a gap in the market for what quickly became her signature classic, “clean glam” style.

“I’ve always loved how biased cutting embraces and enhances a woman’s body. In your 20s you don’t think about what you can’t do, you just do it – you’re completely passionate and I still feel it today” – Amanda Wakeley

She spoke about the fabric selection process for her collections and her love for “things to feel gorgeous”. The audience were also treated to a sneak preview of her new advertising campaigns in particular the SS16 campaign with Ella Woodward (Deliciously Ella).

“These days it’s not just about the clothes, it’s also about how you campaign around them” – Professor Frances Corner.

Inside the Industry: Amanda Wakeley and Head of LCF Professor Frances Corner

Inside the Industry: Amanda Wakeley and Head of LCF Professor Frances Corner

Amanda told the audience that she enjoyed working with Ella and wanted a ‘relatable’ woman to front the campaign. Ella’s active and entrepreneurial lifestyle also mirrors that of Amanda’s, so the campaign is also meant to act as the embodiment of Amanda’s lifestyle luxury aesthetic. In terms of social media and online marketing, Amanda highlighted that it’s really important for brands to keep pushing boundaries but always remaining true to their own ethos. 

As Professor Frances Corner commented

‘Amanda has a clear identity of what the brand stands for, and I think this is crucial in its evolution’.

An audience member raised the question of ‘fast fashion’ and what can be done to counteract this. Amanda commented that it’s important to have elements of the collection constantly evolving, instead of just coming in, and going out. Along with this were discussions about the business side of fashion – she spoke in depth about her business model and the importance of categorising her collections into their appropriate markets alongside competitor analysis. In doing so you are able to grow your brand more effectively.

On how to break into the industry as a new designer, Amanda commented on the positives of placements and internships:

“Interning is a great way into the business, and I’ve seen interns become an absolutely essential part of a team”

As part of Amanda’s 25 years in the industry she is celebrating with a new ready-to-wear store on Draycott Avenue focusing on our Luxe Essentials, a new Bridal store on Fulham Road, and the new anniversary Silver Linings Collection. This anniversary also marks a return to the London Fashion Week catwalk. It was a very insightful event and a great start to Inside the Industry 2016.