This week we caught up with childrenswear designer Amanda Rabor – the brain behind the globally conscious label for little ones, Isossy Children, which makes cool, printed garments for girls, boys and babies.
Read on to find out more about Amanda’s brand, her recent “Little Sapeurs” collection (which you can view here) and how creativity flows through her family tree…
Hi Amanda! We’re so pleased to introduce you to our readers! Can you please tell us a little bit about you and your journey into fashion?
Thank you for this opportunity. I was born in London and started my trans-atlantic childhood at the tender age of 1. My mother was and is a very progressive woman, and back in the 50’s she had her sights set on America, but her father told her that she had to go to America with qualifications. My mom had creative interests like textiles and she was an amazing fashionista in her heyday, whilst my dad was actually an ink manufacturer in the 70’s in NY; that made him a ‘colours’ man. My sister is a make-up artist and with all the creatively that flows in my blood line, I suppose that’s how I fell into fashion.
Isossy is a brilliant children’s brand. When was it founded and how would you describe your role and the label?
Thank you so much. I launched Isossy online in 2010 – an idea I had when my son was a baby – and I had a burning desire to bring it back after I finished my psychology degree. Our aesthetic is simplistic yet bold, colourful, innovative and unique.
My role is creative, practical and motivational. Generally, as a business owner, my role has to be diverse and my skills are numerous. I love collaborating with people and building relationships because that’s what drives the business forward as well.
What’s your daily grind like (in 3 words)?
Peaceful, varied and busy.
What’s the most standout piece of feedback you’ve ever received from a customer or the press?
We have been very fortunate to receive some awesome feedback from the press and customers, but one my favourites is from the fashion journalist Deccie, who wrote about us for Vogue Bambini as ‘one of the freshest kidswear brands of the moment.’
We absolutely love your Little Sapeurs collection – what lead you to create it?
I wanted to create a collection for boys that was dynamic and full of print and colour. I love boys in suits and it will remain a key feature in the collections. I was influenced by images of the Sapeurs in the 80’s when I first discovered them, as well as my parents’ album covers from the 70’s and 80’s.
I love clothes that can help define your personality, and I really love the way the pieces can be styled individually, so you don’t have to wear them as a suit: The Junior Magazine styling was amazing. But most of all I love the attitude that they imply – it’s like saying ‘I’m possible.’
Which has been the most popular piece so far?
In the Summer range, it’s the “Lulu Dress” and “Lila Dress.” And the most popular occasion wear pieces have been the “Glitter Dress” and the “Butterfly Dress.”
You use a lot of print in your pieces – where do you source your fabrics?
I try to choose fabrics that are child-friendly prints yet dynamic is some way. I use a lot of African ankara designs from West Africa and I also use batiks from Thailand and India.
I love using Indian silks for Isossy Occasion which is our dress up line, and I use jerseys for our A/W collections; I’m really loving the jersey influence. One of the things that makes us so unique is the fact that we do limited edition print pieces on our website.
So why children’s wear and how did you move into designing for kids?
Quite simply, it’s all about the children for me – they are our future and if we don’t invest in creating positive experiences and identifications socially and culturally, that are different to how we grew up, then things will always remain the same. I do this to make a difference to their experience and however subtle it may be, I believe it will. I’m planting the seeds and I’m waiting for the rest of the world to catch up.
Who do you prefer designing for: boys, girls or babies?
Now I enjoy designing for them all, but boys and babies were challenging for me at first.
Do you design with your own children in mind?
My son is at university now, but it’s funny – I have pictures in mind of him and his cousins in the 90’s, when I first did this.
In your opinion, the epitome of a stylish little one is…?
Style is subjective and kids often know what they like, so any child who is able to express their personality through their clothes (of course age dependent) is stylish. My friend and stylist’s son Louie has style and he’s only 10!
Whose child would you love to see wearing Isossy, if contacts were limitless?
Ultimately, I really love real kids wearing our clothes, but if we are talking about celebrity children there are so many: The Obama’s, Solange’s son, Thandie Newton’s children, Idris’s new baby, Simon Cowell’s daughter, Aleysia Dixon’s, Jamelia’s daughters and Omotola’s son in an Isossy suit. The list goes on.
Are there any brands/creatives in your field that have your attention atm?
There’s a brand out there that’s making some amazing culturally contemporary clothing for kids. I think it’s called Isossy Children. 🙂
Are there any African brands/designers/professionals you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
Watch this space…
What will the rest of 2014 hold for you and Isossy, and what can we look forward to from your next collection?
Really pushing the brand out into the world and exploring what casual looks like for Isossy.
Lastly, what is the most pressing item on your to-do list?