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Womenswear design duo Fiona Sinha and Aleksandar Stanic tell Lucie Goulet about their tie-up with etailer Oli.

Why did you team up with etailer Oli for its Oli Fusion range?
Aleksandar Stanic
We were approached by them and they were keen to work with us. We saw it as a great opportunity to work on a high street style project.

Fiona Sinha It was also a way for us to reach a younger market. We weren’t really worried that it would damage our brand image by producing cheaper product because the fabrics are different and it is for a totally different market. The collection still retains our handwriting and the products still have our signature look.

Do you find it harder to design for a different brand than your own?
It’s a very different challenge from designing our own line. For our catwalk collection we can do whatever we want, but we had to get used to working on somebody else’s terms.

FS The team at Oli were very open; they wanted us to bring our own style. For any designer, however, it’s important to understand their customers. Because the clothes were sold online, we had
to make sure they would fit as many different body shapes as possible.

Do you think there is enough support for young designers in the UK?
As a young designer you can get grants and awards but it only lasts so long. More continuous support and advice would be helpful.

FS When you’re straight out of college it’s hard to know what to do. There isn’t really any business element taught at the colleges so all designers graduating end up making the same mistakes.

What’s been the impact on your career of winning the Topshop-sponsored New Generation Award three times in a row and the British Fashion Council’s Fashion Forward Award twice?
We were awarded New Gen right when we started. We certainly wouldn’t have been able to start without that money. Fashion Forward was given to us later on and we were able to use it both to finance the show and cover our atelier expenses.

One of your dresses was worn by Kate Moss in a Rimmel advert. Did it have any influence on your business?
Not really. It certainly doesn’t have as much effect as, say, Pixie Geldof wearing one of our designs at the Harry Potter premiere. There is a bigger sales effect if a dress is worn at an awards event rather than for an advert.

AS Because the dress is not credited on the advert, its more for people in the industry who will recognise it.

Why did you decide to break free from the backing you were receiving from Italian luxury goods company Aeffe?
We got involved with Aeffe when we first started and were contracted to it for four seasons to help with production and distribution.

AS To be honest, we found it a bit restrictive. We wanted more freedom and control over how we were doing things. I’m not saying that it isn’t something we would consider doing again in the future, but for now it’s not how we see our business evolving.

Quickfire questions

Where do you like shopping? London’s Columbia Road Flower Market.

Which celebrities have been seen in your clothes? Beyoncé and Amy Winehouse are two of the biggest.

What’s your favourite item of clothing?FS At the moment I wear our Oli Fusion biker jacket all the time.

Which designer do you wish was still alive today? Cristóbal Balenciaga. He still has a big influence on our design process.

  • Fiona Sinha and Aleksandar Stanic are the founders of designer womenswear label Sinha-Stanic

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