Designer, aged 26
Sophie Hulme graduated from Kingston University in 2007, yet she is already a veteran of London Fashion Week’s static exhibition, selling her first collection to Selfridges in autumn 08. Now into her seventh collection, Hulme has some 30 accounts internationally and will be stocked by London’s Dover Street Market for spring 11.
How has she done it? With some money borrowed from her family and strict rules about producing to order only, by insisting on deposits with all orders, shunning the expense of a catwalk, and signing a shrewd collaboration with Asos in autumn 09.
“I make small collections. There are no basics, and while the prices are premium, they are not too expensive,” she explains. “I am lucky in terms of the Asos collaboration, but also in that my collections were already selling before I was noticed by the press.”
Mathew Dixon, director of recruitment firm Hudson Walker, says: “Sophie is a composed individual and focused on the goals of her business. She is very professional in her business dealings and deliveries. Her brand is already profitable and she possesses that very rare mix of creative passion combined with a sharp business brain. Her brand is on the cusp of rapidgrowth and will soon be picked up by more of the world’s prestigious department stores.”
And next on the agenda for Hulme are more high-profile collaborations - she is already working with watch brand Casio on a watch and with sportswear giant Nike - as well as continuing to work on her own label to gain more recognition.