Roksanda Ilincic has been showing her collections at London Fashion Week since 2005. Her signature take on shape and her bold use of colour have become popular with women seeking effortless day and eveningwear, and an unmistakably modern approach to fashion. She has a growing international customer base and a loyal VIP following. The label is currently stocked in over 40 countries worldwide at influential retailers including Net-a-Porter, Selfridges, Hudson’s Bay and Joyce. In 2008, Ilincic was invited by the Victoria & Albert Museum to participate in their Fashion in Motion series, and in 2013 collaborated with the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation to design a capsule collection inspired by the artist. She is currently working in collaboration with Studio Voltaire and sculptural artist Eva Rothschild. She has won a number of notable accolades including the BFC Fashion Forward Award, the BFC New Generation Award, and the Red Carpet Fashion Award at the 2013 Elle Style Awards. Ilincic opened her first store at 9 Mount Street, London in 2014.
Portrait by Harry Carr
Why do you dress the way you do?
I perceive clothing as something that expresses our personality but at the same time something that should protect us and make us feel comfortable. The way I dress is a result from those things.
How did you first become interested in fashion design?
I think I was always interested in fashion from an early age, even if this was subconsciously. I grew up in Belgrade around my mum’s incredible wardrobe which was so colourful and vivid, so in turn, I loved experimenting with clothes, customising them, changing them in a way which would make me stand out.
Do you have a preference for particular shapes, colours, fabrics or textures?
Wearing my own designs usually means a very colourful palette. I tend to wear full or midi length skirts and dresses more than anything else.
When did you become aware of fashion?
I've always had a keen interest in style which was inherited from my mother, but I probably wasn't aware of 'fashion' until a bit later.
What are you specifically doing for women in terms of the suggestions you make in your shoe collections?
I like to think I am offering women a fun and exciting alternative, something that should definitely lift their spirit once they put it on.
How do you want women to feel when they wear your designs?
I want women to feel comfortable, confident and elegant. I think if you wear something you understand and you believe in the design, you will always look your best.
Does fashion empower you? What outfit would most empower you and why?
I think getting dressed every day is like putting on armour, what you wear serves as your statement to the rest of the world about your taste and style.
When did your love for colour begin?
As well as my mums wardrobe, the city we lived in was also vibrant and the sunny climate always saturated the colours to make them look even brighter. I think that is why now I feel so comfortable and familiar with colour.
How has your design education and background influenced your career?
I studied architecture and fashion simultaneously at university in Belgrade. I am still influenced by my training in applied arts and architecture not only visually, but also in a way that I compose my designs, drawing and draping fabrics to build my own shapes and structures, also using interesting fabrics, textures and surface designs.
What inspires you the most about design?
The fact that you can create possibility out of impossibility and beauty out of the ordinary.
Where do you draw inspiration for your work?
I draw it from life itself: rom the people that surround me, artists I meet discover and rediscover, books, exhibitions but also culture and social references because fashion and what we wear is so connected to the times and social climates we live in.
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
I have been lucky enough to achieve many of my goals, it would be hard to choose just one. Opening my first store on Mount Street and working with architect David Adjaye to design it was a big moment for me. Winning Designer of The Year, and seeing all the women who I admire so much wearing my designs have also been highlights