We chat to Sales Associate and creator of the Cape Drape Omar as his first collection for Liberty hits the shop floor.
If you watched Liberty of London on Channel 4 last November, you’re sure to remember Womenswear Sales Associate Omar. Creator of the Cape Drape, Omar’s talent was spotted during filming of the show, and his collection was quickly snapped up by Managing director Ed Burstell, and Buyer Stephen Ayers.
Here’s how this fledgling designer went from shop floor to stockist and meeting Adele in a mere six months. . .
How did it feel when Ed and Stephen told you they wanted to stock the Cape Drape?
It was so weird – on the day it was filmed the production crew just told me they just wanted to talk about windows, then Stephen and Ed came down. When they told me they were buying the Cape Drape the only three words I could get out of my mouth were oh my god. I was hyperventilating in the corner – it was so surreal. But amazing!
I’m still working on the shop floor, I’m training people on the cape drape in the morning, selling through the day and looking after my own brand. I straighten my rail every five seconds!
How does it feel to have the moment immortalised on TV?
I’ve watched it back once, at that moment in time it didn’t feel real. It was only while I was sewing the garments that it started to sink in, even last week it was so surreal saying the labels are here, or it’s launching tomorrow and I have to put signage out.
Did you come across any challenges in production?
The original Cape Drape was just made as an out-there piece for me, so I needed to bring it to a point where it was more wearable. I had to adapt the original to perfect things like the arm holes, it was just me having a vision and trying to put it across.
My university (LCF) were incredible, they let me use their facilities to produce the collection. I’m really grateful for them! Each Cape Drape is handmade, every little piece!
Do you have any advice for aspiring designers?
I would say stick to your guns, try not to doubt yourself and always strive for the best. If you envision something, make sure what you produce is what you had in mind.
What’s been the highlight so far?
Adele bought the first Cape Drape in the first hour of them being on the shop floor. She was just casually shopping, what are the chances??
What’s next for your label?
I’m looking to go into easy-to-wear dresses, along the same unfussy lines. I like the idea of shift dresses, that kind of thing.
Coming to Liberty.co.uk very soon, the Cape Drape is now available in-store.
Celebrate Nike Air Max Day 26.3.15 with Liberty
Shop Air Max at Liberty and share your favourite pair using #AIRMAX
Introducing our latest design collaboration with global accessories brand Herschel Supply, perfectly combining our floral prints with the brand’s practical elegance in three design-driven women’s backpacks.
The collection features three covetable Herschel Supply silhouettes. The Ware and Hanson, with their clean, cylindrical shapes and cinch closures, and the uniquely styled Dawson, boasting multiple strap detailed compartments with a zippered interior and side-access sleeves. Crafted from lightweight, soft-touch fabrics with slender adjustable straps, the bags are detailed with traditional vegetable tanned leather and polished silver-tone hardware.
Herschel Supply carefully selected prints from the Liberty archive to use for the collaboration. Donna Leigh – inspired by a design from the late 1700s, combining a rich background with contrasting watercolour painted flowers – and Deborah – an Art Nouveau print inspired by an early Merton Abbey Mills pattern book.
Each backpack design comes in two options: a print combination of Donna Leigh Tana Lawn and Deborah Tana Lawn, or solid navy accented with tactile Donna Leigh print cord. Each bag is finished with a custom Liberty woven label.
The Herschel Supply for Liberty collection will be exclusively available in-store and online at liberty.co.uk from Monday 23 March.
Introducing Thierry Lasry’s collaboration with Fendi – exclusive to Liberty for one month.
Thierry Lasry has collaborated with Fendi on an avant-garde-meets-luxury collaboration this spring. The bold yet elegant frames take inspiration from the colourful Fendi archives, along with prints and images from Fendi’s previous campaigns. Featuring bright, geometric patterns inspired by Cubism and Kinetic art, the collection offers a combination of vintage inspiration and experimental design.
Snap up your favourite pair here >
As the exclusive new Aromatherapy Associates Renewing Rose Body Velvet cream arrives at Liberty, we caught up with the brand’s founder Geraldine Howard.
You tried your hand at biochemistry before transitioning to cosmetic science, what first encouraged you to start blending essential oils?
I studied cosmetic science at the London College of Fashion and that set my love for cosmetics. Then went on to work for Micheline Arcier, who worked with Dr Valnet, and they trained me in using essential oils. From my first day I fell in love with aromatherapy and went on just about every course and read every book to learn as much as possible. When I started to blend essential oils for my clients I learnt how powerful aromatherapy is at helping to transform our mood and help our general well-being. I think that is something we all need a little help with in our lives!
Tell us about your new product, Renewing Rose Body Velvet, and why you chose Liberty for its exclusive launch?
To celebrate Aromatherapy Associates’ 30th anniversary I wanted to make a special body cream that not only nourished the skin and smelt good, but also helped to keep the skin young looking. Our Rose body cream has always been one of our most popular products and this is really a super version of it with additional actives to help the skin retain moisture and stimulate collagen production. I wanted something to spoil and indulge the skin on our bodies and leave it feeling wonderfully smooth. We chose Liberty for the exclusive because we love working with the store and have a very loyal client base – it’s the perfect partnership to celebrate our anniversary with.
You’re well known for one of our best selling oils, Inner Strength, which came about from dark times you experienced. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind Rose Body Velvet?
The idea behind creating any new product always comes from either a need of my own, as in the case of Inner Strength, or the needs of a client or friend. As I get older I realise that the skin on our bodies requires more attention to keep it supple and healthy. We tend to look after our facial skin more than our body, so I wanted to make a cream that was really special for the body and in effect a ‘treatment’ each time you apply it.
What are your three key Aromatherapy Associates essentials or favourites?
1. Renewing Rose Body Oil – I love using oils under body creams or facial moisturisers to give the skin a real treat and this would be my desert island product as it is so versatile and can be used for hands, nails, hair… Plus, it smells wonderful and makes you feel good.
2. Overnight Repair Mask – I find it can transform my skin overnight, I wake up looking firm and smooth. It is so much easier than sitting with a mask and it saves time, too!
3. Inner Strength Bath and Shower Oil – it really did help me at a tough time in my life and continues to do so whenever I feel low.
What products would we always find in your handbag?
Pure Essential Oil Of Frankincense, Moisturising Lip Balm and Breathe Essence.
What are your top tips and products for unwinding after work?
If I am home late after a long working day I soak in a bath with our Deep Relax Bath and Shower Oil and then drop into a deep sleep. If I need to relax and enjoy an evening with family or friends then I go for a shower with our Light Relax Bath and Shower Oil. I also switch the electric room fragrancer on with the Relaxing Room Fragrance and enjoy the atmosphere it creates.
Why do you love Liberty?
I have always loved Liberty and actually bought my wedding dress in the store many years ago! I love the Liberty prints and used to buy lots of material, when I had time to do dress making. Now I just go to the scarves and bags to find beautiful prints.
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