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Inspirational Women with Emilia Wickstead

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Alexandra Fullerton talks to Emilia Wickstead about the women who guide her, the uplifting nature of fashion and why you should never give up

8 March 2024

Alexandra Fullerton is a stylist, writer, fashion consultant and founder of shopping platform Formerly Fashion Director-at large of Glamour UK and Fashion Director at Stylist magazine, she contributes to Sunday Times Style, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia and The Telegraph. Her best-selling book How to Dress has just been reprinted. We asked her to interview award-winning fashion designer Emilia Wickstead in celebration of International Women’s Day. 

It’s still puzzling that in 2024, when inclusivity and diversity are industry buzzwords, so many creative director roles at major fashion houses – employed to create clothes for women – are filled by men… While their visions are valid, sometimes exceptional, there is something magical when a female fashion designer brings her womenswear ideas to life and creates a widely acclaimed business at the same time. Emilia Wickstead is one of London Fashion Week’s hottest tickets as she has distilled the myriad facets of womanhood through the lens of practicality and devastating chic. While eminently elegant design is in Wickstead’s DNA, her collections are never staid and have come to represent exactly what strong and successful women desire to wear today.

Here, the London-based New Zealand-born fashion designer with a flagship boutique on Sloane Street talks about the women who most inspire her, what she wishes she’d known when starting her business and how she keeps balance in her busy life.

Who have been the biggest female inspirations?

The first woman to inspire me was my mother. She balanced a career with motherhood, with modernity and creativity. She ran her own made-to-measure clothing line in New Zealand. 

Observing her in fittings was the best education I could have asked for. Her taste level and exacting nature, as well as how she treated the women who would visit her had an enormous impact on my career. 

The second woman to inspire me was my grandmother, who helped raise me. I would like to hope that I’m raising my daughter with their legacy in mind.

I am lucky enough to have been guided by incredible women in the industry who were early supporters of Emilia Wickstead. It’s so important to give back time to the next generation of female creatives and businesswomen.

Every day, I’m inspired by my team at Emilia Wickstead. Our staff is 95% female, and I am proud to have an all-female design team that truly shares my vision that good design can be empowering and uplifting for all women. 

How do you balance having an eponymous brand with your own personal life?

Balancing work and personal life is a constant work in progress. I am lucky enough to have a husband who is endlessly supportive, and this is one of the secrets to my success.

What do you wish you had known when you were starting out in business?

One piece of advice that my mother always taught me when growing up was to “never, never give up.” This is a mantra that I have carried throughout my entrepreneurial journey. You have to be thick-skinned and resilient and work hard. I always tell my daughter that you don’t have to be the smartest woman in the room but you do have to work the hardest. I would also add that hiring the right people can have an enormous impact on the success of your business. 

Who have you been most proud to create looks for? 

I’m lucky enough to have designed for some of the world’s most influential women but, in truth, it’s an honour to be given the privilege to dress all women, whether they are in the public eye or not. 

Some of my proudest career moments have been seeing women I don’t know personally in the street or in a restaurant wearing my designs. I once went to a coat check and saw three women with Emilia Wickstead coats. That was a career highlight for me.

What will you be doing this International Women’s Day?

I will be in the office for the morning, working alongside my design department on our next collection and a creative campaign shoot we have next week. Then, I will spend the afternoon with my daughter, Mercedes Amalia.

You’ve just shown your autumn/winter 2024 at London Fashion Week – what do you do immediately post-show?

A glass of champagne with the Emilia Wickstead team, followed by lunch with my mother and my closest girlfriends before heading home to rest.


Discover the world of Emilia Wickstead, including one-of-a-kind services in an inspiring and relaxed environment, at 152-153 Sloane Street 

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