We love talking to designers about what inspires their amazing collections. The latest in our interview series sees our Editor Natasha talk with womenswear designer Cloe Cassandro on her love of using traditional artisan methods to produce pieces that are both beautiful and timeless.
A love affair with Bali is the inspiration behind Cloe Cassandro’s brand of ethical luxury beachwear. Coming from a creative family and with a background in styling and photography, she cites her mother, Julianna Cassandro, as her main inspiration. The brand was founded in 2012 between the two as a way to support their family friends in Bali.
Cloe, please give us a little insight into your creative background.
One of my earliest creative memories is when I was about 5. I started sewing mini roses on my tutu for ballet class, and since then I have always enjoyed making clothes and jewellery. I began assisting stylists when I was 15, when I then took over my mother’s jewellery brand briefly. She was stocked in beautiful shops like Paul Smith and Liberty and worked closely with clients making bespoke, personalised jewellery. This company is now run by my brother and has recently been rebranded CASSANDRO LONDON.
Who was your influence when you started your own label?
My mother and father are one of the main inspirations behind starting my own label. When they went to Bali 15 years ago they met a tailor named Erik and they changed his life by giving him the opportunity to open a shop, which he then profited from and moved from a difficult housing situation, to a beautiful house and now has a family, without my parents help this never would have happened. It would be a dream to replicate this story.
What have been your key inspirations for your design and concepts?
I believe in classic, timeless style that doesn’t date. Staple, go to pieces in your wardrobe that you know that you can always feel comfortable in. I love heritage brands that have signature pieces, like Diane Von Furstenberg
Describe is the essence of your label?
Tell us why your brand stand out in this competitive industry?
My brand stays true and consistent to my beliefs. It’s easy to wear, and there is a shape and style for women in their 20s right up to women in their 60s.
Are there enough opportunities for emerging designers to showcase their designs and enter this competitive industry?
The opportunities are all there if you are prepared to work hard and stay focussed. Get out there and knock on doors. Be prepared to have a lot of no’s, and get back up again!
Is the fashion industry campaigning enough for boutique labels and recognising emerging talent?
I believe so, the fashion industry has changed a lot in the last few years with the rise of Instagram. This is a huge asset for any brand, I have had beautiful boutiques like PAM PAM in Sydney and Un Dimanche Paris approach me through Instagram.
Who is your ideal customer?
Anyone who believes in the same things that the brand represents: Easy, effortless style.
What has been your most memorable success to date?
I would say, in 2012, before I was even a officially a brand. I went off to Marbella with no appointments, and came back with four key stockists, such as Gomina, (who stock brands like Stella McCartney and Christian Louboutin), Elle Morgan and Puente Romano. Off the back of this I secured an appointment with Heidi Klein and have been working with them ever since.
And then in September this year, shooting in Majorca with Photographer Kate Bellm and Model Ann K. It felt like such an incredible achievement, as my brand has been totally self-funded and it was a dream to be working with such talented people in an amazing location.
What has been the most challenging stage when bringing your fashion label into the industry?
The transition from the brand being a hobby to a business. It’s hard to work out what it really means to be a brand yet also stay true to what you believe.
Describe your fashion label’s signature style?
The Andrea ‘boyfriend shirts’ and the wrap dresses have been a big hit for the last three years. If you’ve got something that works don’t let it go.
What are the key images you want to portray when people see or hear your brand name?
My SS17 look book is the perfect representation of the brand: Sunny, relaxed and natural.
British Style Society would like to thank Cloe for sharing her passion and offering an insight into the industry.