Meet The Brand Loyalists, The Women Who Have Found The Label Equivalent Of A Life Partner

For these women, one label seems to encapsulate their entire raison d'être when it comes to getting dressed.

brand loyalists

by Natalie Hammond |
Updated on

In a time when nothing feels predictable, there’s a certain appeal in turning to a favourite designer’s work over and over again. Meet the women who have found the fashion equivalent of a life partner, the one label that makes them feel powerful and, just as importantly, like themselves. Whether they’re looking for comfort, sex appeal, sophistication or, simply, great design, these are the labels they keep reaching for.

Caroline Issa, chief executive and fashion director at Tank

Caroline Issa
©Ed Miles

How does the fashion crowd do power dressing? Not with shoulder pads and pencil skirts, but with Roksanda. Just ask Caroline Issa, who’s able to summarise its appeal in three sentences. ‘Roksanda is a polished brand, you never feel scruffy. It’s the antithesis to streetwear and yet is extremely comfortable. That is the secret to why so many women love wearing her things.’

Caroline started noticing the brand eight years ago, although it seems like much longer – ‘I feel like I’ve known her forever and have known her brand forever’ – and in a normal year would be wearing her dresses and carrying her fabulous bags to a roster of fashion parties and gallery openings. ‘When you put something of hers on, you feel so much artier and more sophisticated than you probably are,’ she says, noting that the designer’s passion for artists and architecture is what gives her pieces that extra point of interest. ‘The way she approaches the cut of a jacket, or even the way a blouse is draped, is very sculptural. You feel like you could accomplish anything wearing one of her pieces,’ says Caroline. ‘And that’s a very powerful thing.’

Otegha Uwagba, author and founder of Women Who

Otega Uwagba
©Ed Miles

Although Otegha Uwagba doesn’t class herself as a ‘loyalist’ when it comes to brands, the one she keeps repeatedly ‘ogling over’ is Rejina Pyo. She remembers calling store after store to track down a belted camel coat a few years ago – ‘I was like, “I have to have it”’ – and has a particular fondness for the designer’s colour palette. ‘The shades she picks are really specific,’ she says. ‘You feel like you can wear them for several seasons because they’re not the trending colour.’ Rejina’s classic-with-a-twist aesthetic also appeals. ‘I don’t like buying “It” items,’ says Otegha. ‘I kind of want things to slip into my wardrobe quietly.’ The final reason why she always gravitates towards Rejina? ‘I think she makes clothes that women wear for the benefit of other women. She might disagree, but that is how I feel about her clothes and is definitely how I dress.’

Katie Ruensumran, fashion creative consultant and art director

Katie Ruensumram
©Ed Miles

Katie Ruensumran, whose signature bow hairband is a firm fixture on London Fashion Week’s street-style scene, has an encyclopedic knowledge of Simone Rocha shows. The woman popularly known as Katie Monster is an avid collector, with more than 50 garments hanging in her wardrobe. She’s followed the designer since she graduated. ‘Her first runway was with Fashion East,’ she remembers, ‘and she used lots of neon colours, patterned lace, perspex shoes and miniskirts.’ As Simone developed more voluminous silhouettes and became stocked at Dover Street Market, Katie fell even more in love. ‘Simone Rocha has something in common with Comme des Garçons,’ she says. ‘She makes clothes for women of all shapes and sizes. Everyone can wear it.’ She finds the shows incredibly emotional. ‘Sometimes, I almost cry,’ she admits, and selects spring/summer 2018 as a personal favourite. ‘She used lots of tulle, lots of lace, lots of creamy colours. Everything represented something girly, but I think it’s more about motherhood and the modern woman. It’s very powerful.’

Charlotte Mensah, hair artist and founder of Manketti Oil Haircare

Charlotte Mensah
©Photograph: Ed Miles; Make-up: Claire De-Graft

‘In a league of its own,’ is how Charlotte Mensah describes Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, the label she’s loved since discovering its boutique in the late ’90s. ‘There’s this amazing arcade on Portobello Road, and they had a tiny little shop. I remember going in and just being in awe, thinking, “Look at these guys, it’s so innovative what they’ve done with prints.” It had a punky feel to it, and a real London vibe.’ She made her first purchase – a leopard-print shirtdress with a white collar – in the early noughties and has since gone ‘crazy’, filling her wardrobe with more than 17 pieces in shades of tangerine, emerald and turquoise. ‘All over my Instagram, every dress is Preen. All my fancy events, it’s Preen. If I see people wearing Preen, I’m like, “You shouldn’t be wearing it. I discovered it first!”’ she laughs. As well as suiting her effortless approach to grooming and getting dressed – ‘Every time I wear my dresses, I just have my watch and wedding band on. They’re saying so much, you don’t want to make it messy’ – Charlotte also likes the universal nature of a Preen dress. ‘Anyone can wear them. My friend could wear the size 6, I could wear the size 14 or 16, and we both look amazing.’

Tiffany Hsu, fashion buying director at MyTheresa

Tiffany Hsu
©Tiffany Hsu

Simon porte jacquemus, the 30-year- old Frenchman behind Jacquemus, has an almost alchemic ability to make hits. Remember his collection, La Bomba, which featured a straw hat as huge as a beach umbrella, or the itty-bitty Le Chiquito, a bag just big enough for a credit card? For Tiffany Hsu, it was a jacket fastened, or more like festooned, with oversized bows that first caught her eye. ‘Jacquemus was just really different,’ she remembers thinking four years ago. ‘There wasn’t anything like it [in Paris].’ Ever since, she’s been a super-fan of the brand’s sexy and sun-soaked holiday aesthetic. ‘It was [displayed] in a very cold showroom with one zig-zag rack and that’s when we first started buying it.’ That was then. In July, Jacquemus transported its guests to a catwalk that snaked through corn sheaves in the French countryside. ‘They’re getting more and more magical,’ says Tiffany, who attended his lavender field show. ‘It was very special, very dreamy. You feel like you’re supporting a friend rather than a brand,’ she says. What does she have her eye on for autumn? ‘Like, everything!’ she laughs, admitting that a few boxes have just arrived containing little cardigans and a very special minidress. And how will she feel wearing them? ‘I think they make you feel happy and chilled, like you’re on holiday even though you’re just working.’


SHOP: The Key Pieces

Jacquemus, La Veste Estelle Cotton Jacket, £441 at MyTheresa1 of 10

Jacquemus, La Veste Estelle Cotton Jacket, £441 at MyTheresa

Jacquemus, La Maille Risoul Merino Wool Sweater, £5102 of 10

Jacquemus, La Maille Risoul Merino Wool Sweater, £510

Roksanda, Blaise Waist-Sash Cotton-Poplin Dress, £850 at Matches Fashion3 of 10

Roksanda, Blaise Waist-Sash Cotton-Poplin Dress, £850 at Matches Fashion

Roksanda, Dance Print Tibi Dress, £1,4954 of 10

Roksanda, Dance Print Tibi Dress, £1,495

Rejina Pyo, Paloma Dress Knit Jacquard Flower Mocha Orange, £7255 of 10

Rejina Pyo, Paloma Dress Knit Jacquard Flower Mocha Orange, £725

Rejina Pyo, Charlie Coat Wool Boucle Brown, £9256 of 10

Rejina Pyo, Charlie Coat Wool Boucle Brown, £925

Simone Rocha, Floral-Embroidered Cotton-Poplin Shirt Dress, £6957 of 10

Simone Rocha, Floral-Embroidered Cotton-Poplin Shirt Dress, £695 at Matches Fashion

Simone Rocha, Gathered Floral Dress, £8958 of 10

Simone Rocha, Gathered Floral Dress, £895 at Matches Fashion

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, Meggy Pleat Floral Dress, £1,080 at Browns9 of 10

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, Meggy Pleat Floral Dress, £1,080 at Browns

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, Jayda Puff-Sleeved Dress, £1,430 at Browns10 of 10

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, Jayda Puff-Sleeved Dress, £1,430 at Browns

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