One of the highlights of iD Fashion Week was sitting in on a Q&A with Emilia Wickstead. As charming as she is talented, Emilia has dressed everyone from Kate Middleton to Gwyneth Paltrow, and counts Alexa Chung as a dear friend. Born in Auckland, Wickstead moved to Milan at the age of fourteen and began interning at sixteen. The London-based designer shares what it takes to make it in the fashion industry and why she once pretended to be her own assistant.
“Selling clothes is just as important as being creative and living in your fantasy world,” Emilia shares. Her mother advised her to study both fashion and marketing in order to learn the business side of things. And that’s what Wickstead did, enrolling in a highly competitive program at prestigious Central Saint Martins.
For those interested in gaining experience in the fashion industry, she suggests interning. “Internships are where you learn street skills and how to be in a work environment.”
She also stresses the importance of feigning confidence at the beginning. When she first started out at 23, she called British Vogue. “I literally picked up the phone, called British Vogue and pretended I was my own assistant called Leila. I said ‘Have you heard of the designer Emilia Wickstead? I would really like to show you her collection online’.” She was speaking to fashion features editor Sarah Harris, (who’s now a good friend) and as a result, got a half-page feature in the magazine.
While the company enlisted in the help of a PR team a year ago, Emilia still runs her own Instagram account. “We have no digital strategy at present, but I love interacting directly with my customers.” She says Instagram is her favourite place to get inspired.
At iD, Emilia sat on the panel of judges for the Emerging Designers competition. She also showed her on spring/summer 2016 collection, her favourite to date.