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Close-Up Preview: Q&A with Roksanda Ilincic

Drapers gives you an exclusive sneak-peek of our Close-Up interview designer Roksanda Ilincic, ahead of the full interview in this weekend’s edition.

Define “luxury”?

Luxury is about creating a product so desirable that people don’t mind spending that money, and they know that it’s money well spent. That’s where all the magic is. Hermès bags cost a lot of money but they’re good value for money.

You’ve won awards, support and backing throughout your career – how important is it to the success of a designer?

The support that the industry gives you is very important and in the beginning it’s almost essential. It does give you not just financial backing but also a certain credibility which is an important part of those awards. It’s even more important that you aren’t just selected but that people believe you are someone that they should come to see.

Where does retail feature in your business’ future?

Retail is expensive but it’s important to do it at the right time. It brings a completely different knowledge of the brand and the idea. The message of what you’re trying to say isn’t just in the shows anymore, they’re there in your shop as well. The multichannel way of expanding a wholesale business into retail is growing the business to a completely different level. It’s a very exciting step.

And your take on e-commerce?

We all know that e-commerce is such an important part of everybody’s business and it has such a global reach that it is the present of what shopping is. There were problems at the beginning when people were afraid to shop but then people became more sophisticated in talking to customers and I don’t think they’re issues any more.

You introduced swimwear in 2010 – how did you approach it?

What I wanted to do with swim is really link it to what I do with the main [collection]. The dresses are always special dresses and it’s the same with swim. It’s more one-pieces that are quite special, almost like a sunsuit, but mine are designed to swim in.

What have you learnt from your collaborations with Aldo, Debenhams and Whistles?

I like to do the things that maybe at the time are more risky. I like to try new things and test them. The first one I did was with Whistles that was something that hadn’t happened before on that level. It was really exciting to bring in that younger customer who couldn’t necessarily afford my dresses. The brand awareness is really important. I look for people who are on the same wavelength [to collaborate with].

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