Dramatic, sculptural designs and a sustainable focus are at the heart of Georgia Hardinge’s eponymous womenswear brand.
Georgia Hardinge founded her eponymous womenswear brand in 2010, and has become known for her dramatic, three-dimensional, pleated and ruched creations. The label focuses on luxury fabrics and sustainability, and uses certified organic and recycled fabrics in its designs.
Expansion is on the horizon for the brand, as full-year turnover for 2019 is predicted to hit £250,000. In August, it opened its first-ever bricks-and-mortar store in London, which reflects the brand’s focus on sustainability, and uses salvaged building materials. Customers can watch videos showing the production processes and provenance of materials used in garments in the store.
Additionally, Hardinge is launching wholesale for the first time for spring 20. Wholesale prices range from £60 for a top to £200 for a floor-length dress.
Thanks to her sustainable focus, Georgia Hardinge has also been nominated for the Sustainability Award at this year’s Drapers Awards.
What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
I like to wake up early and go for a long walk with my dog. This helps me to clear my mind and mentally plan my day. I try not to look at my phone first thing in the morning. Once I’m on the way to work, I read my emails to check and analyse our online sales ahead of a busy day at the studio.
What was your first job?
While studying [at Parson’s School of Design in Paris], I worked in the summer at a small atelier in Portugal. I think that part-time jobs can really help introduce you to a working environment and the day-to-day running of a business. Before starting my own brand, I was sponsored by Samsung to create a collection, then I interned with various designers to build a breadth of industry knowledge.
How would you describe the brand in one sentence?
A sculptural, sustainable womenswear label that is exciting, bringing a three-dimensional approach to feminine shapes.
Where are your favourite places to shop?
I love to do my shopping abroad when I travel. It is amazing to shop items from other cultures and I treasure these pieces. When I went to Sri Lanka and Myanmar, I bought a lot of incredible furniture, which I love having in my house, as it adds character.
Last fashion purchase?
I recently bought a pleated dress from a vintage market. It was a really unique shade of blue and that’s why it caught my eye. I love to look at vintage garments, particularly if they are pleated. It’s interesting to see the techniques used in the past.
Emails or phone calls?
I prefer phone calls as it is so much more personal, and it’s more efficient when you speak to someone on the phone.
Most important lesson you’ve learned during your career?
Take a break! Be kind to yourself and make sure you don’t work too much.
Having balance keeps you fresh and motivated to create amazing things. It’s the most efficient way of working as not to drain yourself. I’ve learned to give myself the time to think, providing time to be creative with a more balanced lifestyle.
What would be your ideal office/meeting space?
In an ideal world, somewhere in the forest or by the sea. Surrounding yourself with nature can give you incredible energy.
What’s your favourite part of the creative process?
I love when the design process has taken place already and you’re on a journey building the collection from the concept you have just invented. It’s a beautiful moment of clarity and euphoria.
What has been your proudest moment since you launched?
I’ve been so lucky to have experienced so many great moments. I’ve just opened my first standalone shop in London on St Christopher’s Place, London. I have been sponsored by the British Fashion Council from the start of my career till now.
I’ve had the opportunity to exhibit my work at the V&A Museum. I’ve also worked on many exciting collaborations, such as Victoria’s Secret, Lancôme, and Universal Film Studios, to name a few.
What’s the last book you read?
I’ve been reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari.
At the start of 2019 I went to Iceland. It was incredible to visit the ice caves and glaciers. So much natural beauty!
Who in the fashion/retail industry inspires you?
I have always loved the work of [Alexander] McQueen.
What’s the biggest challenge facing fashion today?
Sustainability. The retail industry has such a negative effect on the environment so it’s important to work together to make a change.
We have gone green by collaborating with [not-for-profit organisation] The Sustainable Angle to introduce certified organic and recycled materials to our designs. We have created a store that offers customers an educational experience featuring innovative technology, allowing customers to scan a barcode, revealing a video, which showcases materials’ provenance stories, and the production processes that contribute to the creation of a garment.
The customer can engage with the garment on a deeper level: learn the story behind the design and its transparent supply chain.
The concept behind this initiative is to give customers a more conscious way of buying, helping them to appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into each unique piece. This sentimental approach is aimed to influence customers to keep their item for longer.
One piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t run. Walk.
Who do you turn to when you need advice?
I get advice from my family when I have a question. It’s amazing how much family can help emotionally and when you need business advice.
What would we find you doing at the weekend?
Nowadays I’m quieter and love my weekends away in the countryside. I work in the city, so it’s good to escape the hustle and bustle from time to time. My husband and I go to Normandy a lot with our dog. We love French wine and cheese.
What are you looking forward to most in the year ahead?
I’m looking forward to expanding the business and working on new exciting projects in the pipeline. The most important thing for the brand at the moment is to focus on being fully sustainable, thinking of ways we can help customers and suppliers to do the same.