Amanda Wakeley Interview
Luminary fashion designer, Amanda Wakeley, sits down with Leo Fenwick to discuss how she started her career, where she looks to find inspiration for her collections and what is the biggest trend (or rather who) for 2019.
From effortless, refined tops and trousers to glamourous, evening cocktail dresses, discover London-based women’s fashion brand, [Amanda Wakeley](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/brands/amanda-wakeley/women/clothing). The luminary designer sits down with Fenwick’s Head of Brand, Leo Fenwick, to discuss how she started her career (New York City was involved), where she looks to find inspiration for her collections (read: influential women) and what is the biggest trend (or rather who) for 2019.
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LF: “You’re a luminary of the British fashion world. It would be great to hear how you got to this stage in your fashion career.”

AW: “I always say it started when I was very young. I had a dressing up box that my wonderful grandmothers would put their beautiful cast-off pieces into. I would spend hours and hours taking them apart, putting them back together again, trying them on. It made me realise how empowering and special you felt when you got a look right. That passion for beautiful textiles started very young. I never thought about going to fashion school - I always customised and made clothing. I would go to second hand shops and root through rails of clothing and take the pieces home I wanted to reinvent. As a teenager, I moved to America, and had the opportunity to work in different areas of the fashion world; from modelling to working wholesale for a brilliant designer. (He was like the Joseph of Manhattan.) That was a fantastic learning curve for me, but then I came back to the UK at the end of the '80s and I couldn’t find that clean, refined look from America. So, I started – in a tiny way with no real business plan – making clothes to order. Before I knew it, the late Anna Harvey (the deputy editor of Vogue at the time), who was advising the late Princess Diana on her wardrobe, she said we should meet. I had a lovely collaboration with her [Princess Diana] for a few years. It was my early celeb moment that put me out there.”

###### LF: “Was that your defining moment? The moment you thought you made it?” **AW:** “You have those as you go along – I’ve been doing this for nearly 30 years now. But that was definitely the first big moment. Princess Diana resigned from public life wearing Amanda Wakeley, and that was credit at a time where outfits were not normally credited. I just thought I had a guardian angel; but it was hugely important [to my career]." ###### LF: “What was your inspiration for your latest collection?” **AW:** “We always talk about the imaginary muse; this women for the ‘season’. That informs a lot of our design decisions. We design all of our own fabrics and prints. The collection starts with who the woman is, then we have a lovely big mood board – think Pinterest – with lots of images of what feels right for the season. You know if something feels a little bit uncomfortable, but there is a reason for that, and that means you’re onto something really right.” ###### LF: “Who is the Amanda Wakeley customer?” **AW:** “We have a very loyal customer, and we try and take her on the journey with us. She trusts me to dress her appropriately for any occasion. Our clothing is ‘trend aware’; you can buy something from an Amanda Wakeley collection that will be relevant next season. For me, timelessness in design is fundamental – especially now with over consumption. For me, it’s about making the women feel like the best version of herself. If you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, you stand an inch taller, shoulders are back, you feel confident. I really practise being kind – kind to the way we approach design. We want you to feel like our clothes make you look taller, sexier and skinner – and I don’t know any woman who doesn’t want to feel that way." ###### LF: “Is there a style that everyone is requesting or looking for right now?” **AW:** “Well, our lovely new Duchess [HRH The Duchess of Sussex] wore a bateau neckline wedding dress – there is something very graceful about it – and for me, that would be the look of the season. It’s important though, to wear what suits us. Yes, fashion and trend are important, but wear what works for you and makes you feel good. Work out what type of woman you are and build a wardrobe around your style."
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