Backstage

  • <i><i>Yasmin Sewell</i></i>
  • <i><i>Yasmin Sewell wearing her collaboration collection with Barneys New York</i></i>
  • <i><i>être cécile's Spring/Summer 2015 collection</i></i>
  • <i><i>être cécile's Spring/Summer 2015 collection</i></i>
  • <i><i>être cécile's Spring/Summer 2015 collection</i></i>
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Yasmin Sewell

Yasmin Sewell wasn’t always aware that she had a genuine interest in fashion. Born in Australia and now based in London, Sewell grew up thinking she would follow the footsteps of her mom, who owns a hair salon, and pursue hairdressing. But with a resume that boasts titles like “shop owner,” “buyer” and “founder” of a successful fashion consulting company and casual apparel brand, along with a recent collaboration with Barneys New York, you can say that fashion runs through Sewell’s veins. “Now that I look back, I can say that I always had a natural interest in clothes,” mentioned Sewell. “Friends tell me stories about how I would style them at age eight. So there was something in me—I just wasn’t aware of it yet!” We spoke with Sewell about her favorite trends for next year, the up-and-coming designers she has her eye on and how she maintains her signature curly bob.

How do you manage to hone your creative eye for each of your consulting company’s clients and your own fashion brand?

It’s definitely about being in tune with the industry and with your client, and knowing how to apply relevant knowledge and insight to any project. I find that in my work, I really have to have a very broad awareness of the goings-on of the industry, and not just in one specific area, in many areas.

With my own brand, être cécile, we wanted to create something with a really strong identity and personality, and I feel so invested in it. In a way, it’s a part of me. We founded the brand because there was a real gap in the market for casual pieces that would sit comfortably in a designer wardrobe, yet be cool in their own right—and wouldn’t cost you £800 a pop. Our design process is constant and collaborative, and I definitely have a specific creative eye dedicated to être cécile.

Tell us about your collection with Barneys New York.

Tomoko Ogura, the senior fashion director of Barneys New York, called me up one day and said she was interested in getting together and doing something. Having been a buyer for so many years, it’s part of my job to be able to know what women want, so I was so excited to have the opportunity to create that from scratch myself. It was about building the “ultimate wardrobe.” Of course I wanted to reference trends and inject colors and fabrics that I was really feeling, but in terms of shape, I intentionally kept it quite classic. I really wanted to offer pieces that people could not only love now, but love for a long time. When you’re buying that level of quality, it’s nice to know that you’re investing in something that can be a real staple in your wardrobe.

What do you most look forward to wearing right now?

It’s all about the coat. Especially as I’m so heavily pregnant, the area that I can easily make a statement with is outerwear. Having launched the Barneys collection, I’m really lucky that I now have three amazing new coats in my wardrobe for the autumn and winter seasons. The aqua alpaca self-stripe number is a personal favorite. It’s definitely not a subtle look.

What trends are you excited about for Spring/Summer 2015?

I’m loving suede, polo shirts, square necklines, bootcut trousers and what I’m calling the new skirt length, which hits just above the knee. Nicolas Ghesquière did this so well at Louis Vuitton.

You have a knack for spotting the next big designer name. What catches your eye?

It’s very much about the individual designer and the way he or she thinks. It’s not just about being able to produce pieces that look beautiful. These days, designers have to be really clever. If you think about the creative directors of some of the best fashion houses or the coolest brands, they’re not just sitting in their studio spending all their time in a creative headspace. They have to think about commerciality, sales, marketing and PR, even if they have a support system to take care of these things. They have to have an overall awareness because all of these things are affected by their designs and vice versa.

I’m also always interested to gauge their vision of the future. Sometimes I’ll encounter designers who are so ahead of the game in the way that they’re thinking, and you just know they’re destined for success.

Who are some designers we should keep on our radar right now?

Some designers to watch include Ryan Lo, Marques Almeida, Simone Rocha and Sandy Liang.

Describe your haircare routine.

It’s all about a good haircut with curly hair. Every six weeks, I need to cut it and thin it out a little so that my curls aren’t so out of control. Then it’s about not too much maintenance but very good products. Oribe Signature Shampoo and Conditioner are some of the most beautiful products I’ve ever used. I use a little bit of anti-frizz oil, a really good anti-frizz serum and any sort of balm that would smooth down my hair and then leave it to air-dry. If I need to add a bit of body and texture before I go out, I’ll spray it with Dry Texturizing Spray. I’m fortunate that I’m not the girl who has to get their hair blow-dried or done. The more “done” my hair is, the worse it looks on me!

How do you think hair can enhance an outfit?

For me, my haircut has sort of defined my style. Because I’ve had a curly bob at different lengths and shapes for almost 15 years now, I can quite easily wear masculine clothes and oversized clothes. As long as my neck and jawline are exposed, they all can work quite well. I still love wearing beautiful feminine dresses, but my haircut does mean that I can be quite versatile. I had a shaved head for four years in my early 20s, and that was a tad more limiting. I couldn’t quite pull off an oversized tracksuit in those days!

If you were to design a T-shirt specifically for hairdressers, what would it look like?

The first thing I think of is growing up in my mum’s hair salon, which is where I pretty much spent every afternoon after school, hanging out with her and her customers and watching it all happen. My mum always had T-shirts made for the staff in this very bright yellow color with the name of the salon in black writing on the front. I think I’d replicate those for the sake of nostalgia.

What's your go-to, no-fail outfit?

My style fluctuates between something bordering on teenage boy to a total proper lady look. I love tailoring, so when it comes to a go-to look, it’s probably something that sits between the extremes of my two aesthetics. It would likely involve a man-style blazer over an être cécile T-shirt, a great pair of mom-style jeans and maybe a really amazing loafer-style shoe or pump.

When you're not working in fashion, what do you like to do?

Holistic wellness is a huge passion of mine. If I wasn’t working in fashion, I would definitely be working in that field somehow. I fantasize about it sometimes! When I’m not in the office, I love to spend time with my husband and my son. Three-year-old boys are endless sources of entertainment.

What are some upcoming projects or plans that you'd like to share with us?

A really exciting unexpected collaboration for être cécile with a luxury brand that we can’t announce just yet!
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