There's so much more to a brand than simply the products themselves. The process and journey to the final collection are often just as fascinating and important as the end product. We spoke to creative director and founder of Amishi London, Amishi Dhanuka, about her experience in running her own fashion line.
When and where did you first begin?
My cousin was looking for a red clutch for her bachelorette party around 8 years ago. We went around London and 4000 calories and 8 hours later came back with nothing! I could see my cousin sinking into an abyss of depression, doing the 4000-calorie routine every day, and I thought since I was a bridesmaid, I would have to help her pull up her dress zip on D-day! So, in a moment of madness, I offered to design and make her a red bag. I love design but have not studied it (I am a student of English Literature!) and hadn't a clue where to start, but I sat at my drawing board waiting for that ‘a ha’ moment. Well, it came and my cousin wore the bag to the party. Her friends loved it and I was flooded with orders!
My brand really just stemmed from a hobby which transitioned to a business. I had no business plan, just private clients. I then made a small capsule collection of 12 bags and sent an email to Harrods and heard back from them. The buyers wanted to see the collection and insisted they come to my office (which I didn’t have!) I offered to take the samples over to them and they said no. So, not wanting to pretend to be someone I wasn’t, I invited them over to my flat. The most gorgeous, 6ft tall blonde arrived, took off her heels, sat on my rug, saw my samples and gave me my first order! And that’s where it all began!
Where does your design inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from extensive travel, natural forms and colour. I grew up in India so this heritage and ancestry is also an influential force behind my eye for design and entrepreneurial spirit.
Describe your brand in 3 words.
CONFIDENT, FEMININE, UNIQUE.
What is the most difficult aspect of running your own label?
Throughout my journey of launching and running my business, there have been obstacles and challenges but I really try to view each one as a learning opportunity. It’s important for me to get back up on my feet and remember that I am involved in creating something greater than me, myself and I!
Which part of the creative process do you enjoy most, and least?
I most enjoy being on the factory floor, where all the magic happens, and seeing my thoughts turn to become reality. The part I enjoy least would have to be the admin!
Do you have a mentor?
I don’t have a mentor as such but every day, I am inspired by the style of iconic women such as Lady Diana. This sense of timeless elegance and beauty, has influenced generations!
How long did your latest collection take to create?
Over a year.
What are your future plans?
To grow Amishi London into a global brand without losing our brand essence and ethos of giving women pieces that allow them to feel confident, express themselves and be the best version of themselves.
Which pieces do you think everyone should have in their wardrobe?
A timeless, statement scarf which can be worn all year round and passed down the generations.
What attracted you to The Clothing Lounge?
I love the mix of independent, emerging talent on The Clothing Lounge and the fact that products are so different to what you find on the high-street. I think we fit well with the ethos of The Clothing Lounge with our unique product range.