When and where did your brand GeeGee Collection begin?
I had never dreamt of owning my own fashion label until about two years ago. After I finished my studies, I started interning as a womenswear designer, first at Alexander McQueen and then at Jenny Packham, before deciding to create my own label at the end of 2019.
I started creating individual, handcrafted pieces after watching an episode of Masterclass with Diane Von Furstenburg on how to build a fashion brand. One tip I particularly took note of was to think outside the box as everything in fashion has already been done. So, living in a post-trend world I felt the need to be creatively free and to move away from the conventional models of fashion.
What inspires you and your designs?
One thing I love about being a designer is that inspiration can be drawn from anywhere in life. So, the more you live, the more creative you get – a vacation, a vintage-find, an era in time, or even a person, can give me a vision for my pieces.
How would you define the quintessential ‘GeeGee Collection’ woman?
The woman I design my pieces for is always at the forefront of my process. She is carefree, international, bohemian and individualistic.
Guided by a passion for travel and lifestyle, GeeGee Collection is conceived for strong, independent women who naturally express their bold, sensual appeal through spontaneous personalities and life's pleasures.
How long does it take to finish a product, from the initial design to the finished creation?
It really depends on how the first sample fits. If everything goes well from the first sketch to the first sample fitting, it can be done in around two weeks. But, if you need to change the pattern and make amendments, it could take up to a month.
Once you have made the perfect sample, you then need to consider the timing for fabrics, production and capacity in the factory. For myself, I need six to eight weeks lead time on the fabric as they are completely handwoven. For production, it usually takes around four to six weeks for all the samples to be finished, so I usually give myself around 12 weeks for production pieces.
How would you describe yourself and your brand?
I would describe myself and my brand as 'Gypsy Chic'. Growing up, I have lived all over the world, in Paris, Cyprus, Hong Kong and London. So, I feel my brand is an extension of my nomad personality – free-spirited, full of feelings and moments.
How do you overcome creative blocks?
Usually by taking a step back from designing and going out in search of inspiration, which often involves a trip to a few vintage stores, or Bond Street in West London.
Which part of the creative process do you enjoy the most, and the least?
The process I enjoy the most is definitely looking for inspiration, fabrics and colours. My least favourite part is waiting the time it takes for the samples to be finished!
As an independent designer, what is the most difficult aspect of running your own label?
I would say getting it started and off the ground is the most difficult part as there are so many things you don't think about until you start a business yourself. I had to find a good pattern maker and sampling studio that understands my requirements and designs, source fabrics and work out how to get the right kind of exposure to my target market.
Sustainability appears to be a very important cause to you. Why is that, and how do you implement it into your brand?
Fashion production has a huge impact on our environment, making up 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, which is why I think it is extremely important to consider the term 'sustainable' and what I can do as a business to help our environment.
It is not always easy, but some of the things I am doing to lower my brand’s carbon footprint is by ensuring all of the pieces are 100% made in the UK and having a non-seasonal approach to design and manufacturing. I also only add new pieces throughout the season, as opposed to creating new collections, and where possible only use eco-friendly and sustainable materials such as hemp and biodegradable fabrics.
Being an up-and-coming designer, what are your short-term and long-term goals for GeeGee Collection?
I usually only think about where I want to see my business going in the future. I would love to have a larger collection, expand my business into knitwear and to be known more on a global scale. I am a strong believer in manifesting your own reality and for that I think you need to work towards the bigger picture of what you want to see in your future.
What piece of advice would you give to anyone hoping to start their own fashion brand?
If starting your own fashion label is something you want to do, I would say go for it! Do your research, take your time planning, work hard at your vision and eventually all the pieces will fall into place.
I would definitely suggest gaining experience working in a fashion house before you start your own brand, to learn all the ins and outs of how to build a collection from start to finish as there is a lot more to it than you may think.
What attracted you to The Clothing Lounge?
The variety of carefully selected designers on the site and the platform it gives to independent brands looking for more exposure.
Check out GeeGee Collection on their Instagram: @thegeegeecollection