We’re huge fans of Nicki Macfarlane children’s occasionwear here at My Baba, so it was fantastic to finally chat to Nicki about the magic behind her success. We found out how her business got started, what it felt like to have the Duchess of Cambridge as a client, and what a typical day looks like working as part of the award-winning occasionwear brand.
How did the business start off and what was your original vision?
The business grew from a passion; dressmaking was something I loved to do from a very young age. When my daughters where born I began designing and making dresses for them and then in turn for family and friends. It wasn’t until I was commissioned to make 20 dresses for a single wedding that I thought it was time to expand the business and bring my designs to a wider audience. Our vision has always been to create outfits that are unique and special with personal touches that the wearer will love.
Why did you specifically choose occasion wear? Why not the everyday?
There is something rather magical about designing outfits for special occasions and events that people are going to remember for a long time. I felt there was a gap in the market for quality children’s occasionwear and a lack of brands that go that extra mile to make the wearer feel truly special. It is our aim to make every effort to ensure that each design is finished to the highest standard with some extra special details, including having the name of the wearer hand embroidered inside each bespoke made garment. It’s these things that make it feel so rewarding and exciting to be involved with compared to every day clothing.
As a brand Nicki Macfarlane seems to encompass this beautiful fairytale-esque and magical feel, what do you think the key to this is, and why is this such a special part of the brand?
We pride ourselves on elegant, ready-to-wear and bespoke British made dresses, that little princesses will love. We aim to add that extra special something to any special occasion by making sure little girls are dressed in pieces that fit well, look incredible and are fun to wear. Luxurious fabrics and embellishments are lovingly selected by the team with full petticoat skirts and beautiful trimmings helping bring to life any fairy-tale occasion.
What’s your typical day at the office?
Happily, I can say two days are rarely the same! A normal week is a whirlwind combination of visiting stockists and suppliers, designing new pieces and planning our collections and bespoke orders. We are usually between our workshop and the Chelsea boutique where we hold our consultations and client meetings, so lots of new designs and show planning is usually done on-the-go.
The booking of the royal wedding must have been one of the highlights of your career. Did you receive a positive reaction? Did business go crazy afterwards?
We had such overwhelming support following the royal wedding – it was really incredible. It holds such a special place in our hearts and it made a huge difference to our business and the interest generated. We were very lucky to be part of such a monumental occasion in UK history.
How would you describe the brand in one sentence?
Designers of stunning, timelessly elegant children’s outfits for every occasion.
What’s next? Have you got anything exciting in the works?
We’ve got a very busy couple of months on the horizon with The White Gallery show just around the corner as well as the release of our AW17 collection later in the year. 2017 has been a whirlwind so far but it’s been an exciting start to the year and we are looking forward to the rest of what 2017 holds.
What’s different about your newest collection? Can we see any underlying themes throughout?
Our latest collection for AW17, is focused on luscious materials such as rich velvets and embroidered tulles with metallic and berry tones dominating the colour palettes. We can’t wait for everyone to see it!
What are your mental processes whilst trying to create such beautiful outfits? Do you have a system or do you just let the creativity take over?
It all depends on the project and what we are trying to achieve. If it is a new boutique collection, we like to take inspiration from current fashion and wedding trends and run with those in our own way, adding some of our traditional and elegant trademarks to the designs. If it is for a client, then we start the process by sitting down with them and discussing ideas and themes that they are looking for and how the outfits will fit into their big day. We then build on those until we find something that works and start to play with fabrics and colours, looking at different options and ideas until something special emerges.
Can you pinpoint the highlight of your career so far?
The royal wedding was obviously a huge moment for us and a definite highlight of our career. But, personally, opening our first boutique last year was an important milestone and something that I am very proud of.
Check out Nicki’s latest collections over on her website Nicki Macfarlane London.