ISWAI (It Starts With An Idea) is the design label with a difference.
The brain child of former Made In Chelsea star Caggie Dunlop, the brand showcases the talents of five up-and-coming designers each season, with each range centred around a specific theme.
Here, we chat to Caggie about ISWAI, Made In Chelsea and what makes a great design…
What was the idea behind ISWAI?
The idea was about flipping the way the fashion world often works on its head, and platforming young designers who struggle for exposure in a tricky industry.
Your original ‘campaign’ was Five Ways that saw the brand work with five new designers. What was the creative process like and what did it entail?
I send out themes to inspire ideas – New York, the universe, Da Vinci, rebellion, religion. These themes all have a personal connection with me.
Then, as people sent in ideas, I selected those that impressed me the most, whether that be for their design specifically, their application or their story. Then, we all got together to discuss future ambitions etc, and connect and see where we could help one another in different ways.
How can people get involved with L’Esprit de l’Escalier?
Anyone can get involved: it’s as simple as going onto the site and emailing. You don’t have to have a qualification – it’s about people that share a positivity and vision.
What do you think makes a great design?
Something that is personal and doesn’t try and fit the mould. Fashion is like art – it’s either plagiarism or revolutionary. And it’s so wonderful when occasionally it gets to be revolutionary.
Who is your favourite designer?
Mary Katrantzou. Her work has been revolutionary.
What’s next for ISWAI?
I hope to continue expanding and slowly start separately my image from it so the brand can stand alone. Denim is on the to-do list for the near future, as well as a new jewellery collection we have launching soon.
You’re also a singer/songwriter. Are there any plans to release an album soon?
An EP, which hopefully will be ready mid September – but no promises! It may be a bit longer.
How would you describe your songs?
Dark poetic pop.
Finally – you left Made In Chelsea in the last series. What’s been your favourite memory of the show?
Oooh, tricky one! Probably the country house dinner party at Jamie’s – we all laughed so much that evening.