SJP Posted This Skirt On Instagram And It Sold Out In Under 30 Minutes – But The Brand Has Restocked

O Pioneers made the skirt especially for the actor.

sarah jessica parker skirt

by Hannah Banks-Walker |
Updated on

Sarah Jessica Parker's sartorial influence is stronger than ever. Not only did the actor's outfits in And Just Like That inspire thousands of sales, a recent Instagram post prompted a major sell-out success for independent British label O Pioneers.

If you're not familiar with the brand, it's best known for its cottagecore dresses but everything is made from deadstock fabrics and repurposed Liberty prints. Founded by Clara Francis (who is also an actor) and Tania Hindmarch, the two wanted to create practical, pretty pieces with a vintage feel that make the everyday a bit more beautiful. Many pieces are made-to-order and the amount made of each design is very small, which is also good news if you don't like to bump into every other woman on the street wearing the same dress as you.

If you bump into SJP, however, you may find that you're wearing the same O Pioneers skirt. As she was in London recently performing in Plaza Suite with Matthew Broderick, her husband, Francis and Hindmarch made it their mission to put their small business on her radar. 'We absolutely knew in our hearts that Sarah would love what we do here at OP and knew that whilst she was in London performing we had to get into her orbit,' the duo tells me. 'So, we poured over images of her personal looks, and chose something from our current collection that we knew she’d love. As Clara has a theatre background she knew the ways of the theatre and that you can often simply drop something off at a stage door in the daytime and the chances are that Sarah would receive it that evening. Much simpler than getting correct addresses and sending to PA’s and stylists in the hope it will actually, possibly get into her hands. She received it and emailed immediately. She loved it, our brand ethos and our very particular aesthetic – and unbeknownst to us, she is a huge Liberty Print fan.

'So, a couple of weeks later she came to visit us in our Marylebone Store, was there for a good couple of hours, was absolutely wonderful, tried on lots of bits and it was then we talked about customising our ‘Joan’ skirt specifically for her in the clashing liberty prints. One in a light fabric and one in a dark. Once it was made we sent her images and she loved it so much she gave us her blessing to go into production on them. It was all incredibly organic - we’re not big planners and this is very much how we work as a brand anyway. We had no idea she would post about us on her main Insta feed . We had kept the whole meeting with her on the down low out of respect for her. So her posting about us is incredibly generous and kind. She must know the power she has as an individual on a brand like ours. It’s the ultimate endorsement.'

Designed especially for SJP, you could wear this anywhere. Pair with slouchy knits while it's still cold and swap for a tank top when the summer finally arrives. You could even dress up with heels and a silk cami top for weddings and more formal events.

Indeed, SJP's praise on Instagram was enthusiastic, as she wrote: Ohhhhh!!!! @o_pioneersuk !!! I haven’t worn a skirt in forever. I opened the parcel, received in London and last evening called for her charm. Oh she was wonderful and I promenaded up 7th ave and think I had the prettiest frock for blocks. Thank you, I love what you do.' Subsequently, the skirt sold out within 30 minutes, prompting Francis and Hindmarch to organise a second drop, which is now available for pre-order.

Tania Hindmarch in the SJP skirt
Tania Hindmarch in the SJP skirt

Patchworked by hand, it's no surprise these skirts will take six weeks to arrive from the point of order. What a lovely antidote to the immediacy of fast fashion which, as we all know, is putting so much strain on our planet. It also feels like a real joy to own a piece imbued with meaning; O Pioneers uses a community of highly-skilled women to create these pieces, which are made to last a lifetime. As Francis and Hindmarch say: 'The patchwork on the skirt is made individually by our wonderful local patchworker Dorothy and we've enlisted a few of her patchworking friends now too to cope with demand. It is created using smaller offcuts of Liberty prints left over from our main production. These then get sent to our London-based atelier who make the skirt itself. It's all very local, using individual craftspeople and independent, female run manufacturers.'

Clara Francis in the SJP skirt
Clara Francis in the SJP skirt

As the run is typically small, you'll need to pre-order quickly if you don't want to miss out. That's the beauty of O Pioneers – once something is sold out, it's gone forever. It means that the pieces crafted by the brand are rare and considered – they're not catering to transient trends which generate fleeting hype. 'We all know how damaging fast fashion is - not just to the environment but also the way in which it exploits the real stars - the makers,' say Francis and Hindmarch. 'We have always tried to do the opposite - we write the name of the maker on the label of every item we make. We know all of our makers and we have great working relationships with them. Our approach has always been about the clothes and the relationships (with our customers, our makers and the amazing people who work with us) rather than the bottom line. When companies are focused purely on money it's often at the expense of someone or something somewhere. We never set out to do that - for us it was simply about making beautifully-crafted and locally-made clothes in smaller runs that could be worn and enjoyed for many years. True 'Forever dresses'.'

It's about time we learned to treasure our clothes again, and this is one brand trying to help us do just that.

Also available in this darker floral print, you'll find this works for all seasons. Add tights and boots in autumn/winter and wear with flat sandals and cropped jackets for spring.

Hannah Banks-Walker is Grazia's head of fashion commerce. She has previously written for the likes of Harper's Bazaar, The Financial Times Glamour, Stylist, The Telegraph, Red, i-D and The Pool on everything from fashion to curly hair (hi!) to the patriarchy. Not necessarily in that order. Find her on Instagram and Twitter. But please don't look for her MySpace profile, which until now was the last time she wrote about herself in the third person.

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