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Zoe Jordan: From the trading floor to Somerset House

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Thanks to a very kind introduction from Irish jewellery designer Maria Collins, we found ourselves in the designer show rooms, talking to Zoe Jordan from Irwin & Jordan. Most of the designers exhibiting at LFW studied fashion but Zoe’s first career was in finance – she traded bonds and equities at HSBC and Credit Suisse before deciding to leave the City behind and found Irwin & Jordan with her friend, brand consultant Georgia Irwin. We asked her what the experience has been like making the move from the trading floor to a fashion design studio in Mayfair. “I’m not going to lie to you – it’s been quite hard,” she exclaims. “Not having a design background, it’s taken a while to get the style just so, to the stage I’m happy with it.”

A hint of the suited-and-booted style prevalent in the City can be seen in the palette of collection – there are lots of muted blues and grays which convey a classiness that sits nicely in the stately surroundings of Somerset House. “Very classic and traditional but with a bit of a twist,” is how Zoe describes it. “Our signature look is heavily influenced by Savile Row-style men’s tailoring. The fabrics are a mix of Italian sand-washed silks and jerseys, with houndstooth, birds’ eyes and herringbones. We also use jersey mixed with lace or sequins, taking something that’s quite dressy and making it more casual and throw-on, with lots of draping – more nonchalant, quite ‘London’ in its look. It’s got that tomboy glamour to it – quite transeasonal, day-to-night, bridging a few gaps.”

Overall, it comes across as a strong, coherent collection which isn’t really all that surprising, given that traders are known for their strong characters and attention to detail. Commercial awareness is also evident when speaking with Zoe – a lot of effort has been put into ensuring that the quality is up to scratch. “There’s no point in going for the big guys unless you’ve got the production right and you know it works,” Zoe told us. “And then it’s building up the press so that someone’s going to come and buy your stuff rather than the label next door that they don’t know.”

Some of that press is already on its way – fashion trade weekly Drapers selected Irwin & Jordan as one of their “Six of the Best” from the Exhibition at LFW. We look forward to catching up with Zoe once the dust has settled on LFW to find out how the week went and what’s next for I&J.

Written by Myles

February 25th, 2010 at 10:05 pm

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