24 AUG - 2021
From outside the industry door, fashion can seem like a dream. The luxurious clothes and star studded events.
But when you step behind that elusive door, you realise it’s more cutting on the workroom floor than playing dress-up in the showroom.
Olivia Cashmore is on first-name basis with her studio floor, having just released her debut collection. I first caught Olivia’s collection on Instagram, as you do, but who wouldn’t when the look book is as striking as it is. I quickly fell in love with the brand’s mix of tailoring and unexpected pops of colour.
Get to know the brand that I’m sure will be taking up a lot of real estate in our wardrobes.
You started your career in fashion at Maggie Marilyn, what a dream! How did you end up working for the brand and what was your role?
Yes it was a dream and I was extremely lucky to work alongside Maggie, who is not only a wonderful leader but a great friend. Maggie and I went to university together and became
friends, once I graduated she gave me a job. I was the design and sampling manager there.
Why did you decide to break out and start your own brand?
Like a lot of others, COVID-19 made me think about my life. It was always my goal to start my own brand, however, once I started working at Maggie Marilyn, it faded away because I really stood behind the purpose there. At the end of 2020 I decided I wanted to take a break. It was my intention to have three months oﬀ. I started playing around for fun because it’s what I love, and from there, honestly, it just happened. It weirdly (during a global pandemic) felt like the right time to give it a go.
How did you land on the decision to have an eponymous label? Did you toss up between other names or was it an easy choice?
I actually tried for months to think of another name! I was adamant that I didn’t want to use my own name. I got called ‘More-Cash’ at school so I was worried my last name had a bad connotation. In the end, no other names actually felt right, so I decided to go with it!
Although Olivia Cashmore is only in its infancy, bringing a brand to life is no easy feat. What are some commercial hurdles you have encountered?
Actually, deciding to start a fashion brand was a hurdle in itself. There is already so much product on oﬀer so it was conflicting to think what I could bring to the table.
Pricing is always a diﬃcult one too! - where to place yourself in the market and who you think will be your customer.
What were the largest challenges in producing your first collection? Were their particular pieces that were more challenging than others to create?
I didn’t really have any issues - the creative process is very natural to me. I think the biggest challenge was wondering if people will actually like it and want to buy it!
Sustainability in fashion - having worked for a pioneer in fashion sustainability previously, are you bringing this mentality across to Olivia Cashmore?
Yes, deﬁnitely, there are ways you should and shouldn’t do business. Ensuring those who work for and with you, are paid fairly and looked after; using organic, recycled or deadstock fabrics... These aspects are just a part of my business. I don’t feel the need to focus or talk about it - I just do it.
You have decided to go for a pre-order model for the first season. Why did you choose this ordering system and is this something you will look to continue for the next seasons?
That’s right. The seasonal collection is based on pre-orders. There is so much product out there already, I didn’t want to just put out a whole collection and hope that it sells. I am using the pre-order model to get to know my customers -hat do they like and not like etc. This won’t be forever, just until I can be sure that styles are going to sell. The fashion industry has a massive stock issue and I didn’t want to add to this.
But I was also conscious that none of us like waiting. That’s where ‘The Trio’ Collection comes into play. More price-pointed wardrobe staples with the OC touch. These are available for purchasing now. That way people can have something now and something later.
What, to you, is the true power of fashion?
I’ve always loved the saying “look good feel better”. Being able to make people feel beautiful, strong or conﬁdent in your garments is so powerful. Clothing, I believe, really does have the power to uplift or encourage.
This is your first foray into menswear. Why was it important for you to include menswear and unisex pieces throughout the brand and was it more challenging to design for men?
I am a real tomboy myself, so designing menswear was something that came very naturally to me. I often gravitate towards menswear in my dressing because I like an oversized fit. I thought there was room for menswear, more so than women's. But I also have another side that can be feminine - I like the mix of both.
What type of woman / man do you envision wearing an Olivia Cashmore piece?
Anyone who likes the product really! Men and women who like clothes that will easily fit into their existing wardrobe. Simple yet thoughtfully designed garments that might add that little bit of texture or pop of colour.
I love the use of the mature models as part of your shoot. Why did you decide to go in this direction?
A couple of reasons. Showing the product on a range of ages and sizes is so important! Especially because I am only online for now. Seeing the clothes on a young, slim model is not always relatable. I wanted to make sure that whether you’re young or old, people can see themselves wearing OC.
Another reason is one of my brand messages is this idea of ‘ageing well’. That your clothes actually have this ability to get better with time. Being able to use my parents was not only special but is a note to this theme.
What can we expect from Olivia Cashmore in the future?
Well, you can definitely expect more clothes - I am finishing off my summer collection at the moment! Apart from that, I am someone who has big dreams and goals of where I would like this brand to go. But honestly, for now, I am just going with the flow. Trying to hold things lightly - we don’t know the future.
Quick Fire Questions:
Plain or Print?
Oh that’s hard, depends on the print so I will say plain but a colour!
Tailored or Oversized?
New or Vintage?
A bit of both
Top travel location?
I would love to go to Israel
I’d have to say my mum's kitchen. She is such an incredible cook and I am a bit of a homebody. We joke and call it the ‘Cash Cafe’.
Summer or Winter?
Are you a morning or evening person?
Best way to wind down?
A walk along the waterfront with one of my dearest friends.
Kitten heels or chunky platform?
Best app on your phone?
My Bible App
Dream fashion investment, regardless of the cost?
A Céline bag and Off-White x Woman’s Air Jordan 4 SP ‘Sail In the creamy/yellow colour.