The founder of lingerie brands Mimi Holliday and Damaris tells Amethyst Wang what inspires her lingerie designs.
What encouraged you to launch your own lingerie label?
I felt there was a gap in the market for high fashion lingerie. I come from a long line of artists and I like to think outside the box, so it came naturally. I studied fashion print design at Central Saint Martins College, and for my final show I designed lingerie to match all of the models’ outfits. Although the pieces weren’t seen, I loved knowing the girls had amazing lingerie on underneath their outfits.
You collaborated with designer Roksanda Illincic for spring 09 – how did that come about? Roksanda and I are old friends and had wanted to do a project together for years. On a trip to Ibiza we decided to stop procrastinating and just do it. It’s a limited edition collection of five lingerie sets, in just seven stockists, including independent Apartment C in London.
Do you have plans for any more collaborations?
Another great friend of mine, illustrator Daisy de Villeneuve, and I have wanted to do a project together for more than 10 years, but just haven’t decided what to do yet, so that might be the next one. When I was at university I spent my year out at tailoring brand Favourbrook. We launched a collection of party pieces under the name Violet-Favourbrook. It only lasted a couple of years and it was from there I went on to launch Damaris.
Have you had to adapt your business to the recession?
We are coping with it in quite the opposite way – we have had to increase our team to cover growth as our sales keep rising across both brands. Mimi Holliday flies out of stores as it is everyday lingerie for everybody, while Damaris is for special occasions and for high fashion lovers. The different markets mean neither has significantly better sales than the other.
What do you think are the key challenges facing the UK lingerie industry at the moment? The competition. There are so many lovely new brands continually entering the market that it really does keep me on my toes when it comes to design.
What does the future hold for the brands?
We are looking into opening a flagship store in London that would carry both brands as well as the new Mimi Holliday swimwear range, which has launched for spring 10. However, it is a big undertaking and we have to get the right team together first before we start working on the project.
Where do you find your design inspiration?
I don’t actively seek out design inspiration. I suppose I pick up most of my ideas through travelling and just absorbing what I see. I have been abroad 30 times this year, and have just come back from India where I went for the first time, which was incredibly inspirational.
Is there a favourite lingerie item you love to design?
Bras drive me insane. They are so time-consuming to make, it can take nine hours to make one sample, and that’s without any alterations. These days I enjoy working on more simple, less fancy pieces.
What is the most treasured item in your wardrobe?
My mother’s wedding dress.
Who is your favourite designer?
My best friend Roksanda Illincic. I think she is by far the best designer showing in the UK at the moment.
Which is your favourite city to shop in?
I love shopping in Paris, just because it is so amazingly chic to walk around. It feels so wonderful and exciting to shop there.
Who is your style icon? The Catherine Tramell character played by Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct.
- Damaris Evans is founder and designer of lingerie brands Damaris and Mimi Holliday