For many young creatives, a career in fashion is the dream. With the world of blogging growing constantly, entry into the relatively cutthroat industry is much more realistic than it has been traditionally. Amongst the world populated by thousands of fashionable individuals with a good eye for Instagram, very few emerge to the top of the pack. In the case of LOVE TWAIN, they’ve done just that. Two friends with very different backgrounds came together to combine their skills and their mutual love of fashion to create a business with a strong ethos they work hard to uphold.
There is so much more to LOVE TWAIN than just an online store. The talented individuals have a unique and considerate perspective of the fashion industry, and are passionate about educating people about the quality of designer fashion. Very few of us say no to chain store clothing once in a while (or all the time), it's cheap and easy and makes it easy to be on trend. But we tend to forget that most of it is copied from designers who create their clothing like works of art. For any aspiring young creatives and bloggers in particular, I recommend taking note from these ladies. This is the story of two of Adelaide’s most promising creatives, Ena and Ash aka LOVE TWAIN.
How did you meet each other?
We went to high school together and we really began to bond during our uni days over our shared interest in PR, Marketing and the world of fashion. It was more than discussing what dress we would be wearing over the weekend, but more of a desire to know everything that happened behind the scenes; trend forecasts, design concepts, getting to know the designer and what pushed them, seasonal drops, advertising campaigns… We wanted to know it all.
How did you both find yourself in the fashion industry?
Before LOVE TWAIN neither of us had exposure to the industry, which worked in our favour. Each decision made was based entirely on our belief in labels we took on board and how they fit the story we wanted to create. If something wasn’t working we moved onto the next thing. We also hit the ground running and approached some big names for guidance very early on. If we are really being honest, had we known then what we know now about how cutthroat the industry really is we probably never would have started. Luckily for us the gamble paid off and we have been fortunate enough to be embraced by some really talented designers and businesses
So what is LOVE TWAIN?
LOVE TWAIN is a style HQ- a 'go to' place for all things fashion, beauty and lifestyle. One part an e-boutique stocking both national and international labels and one part an interactive blog, opening the doors to an all encompassing and alluring world of fashion.
How have your personal styles developed? Surely you had an awkward Supre phase like the rest of us?
Oh we all go through that stage, right!? It wasn’t until we started earning our own money that we could really truly choose where we shopped. Our styles have developed with age – now in our mid-late twenties its quality over quantity. We don’t need a new outfit for every occasion. Instead we invest wisely in the key pieces that are going to sit in our wardrobes. We now have access to all LOVE TWAIN labels, so our wardrobes are filled with pieces we sell. After all, we wouldn’t sell something we wouldn’t wear!
What kind of outfit makes you feel best?
Ash: A new outfit always makes me feel special. Something I haven’t worn before – there’s nothing quite like that feeling!
Ena: A good quality one. My grandma was a dressmaker so from a very early age it was like having my own quality control following me around. When I would visit her back home in Europe she would look at the seams of my clothing so I have always been one to save for weeks on end for that quality dress as opposed to having a new outfit every weekend. One should never compromise on coats, jackets, jeans and shoes.
Whilst our styles are different we do share some style icons (obsessions) … fine line really…. Margaret Zhang and her innate ability to layer clothes most people wouldn’t even consider. There are hundreds of street style blogger’s that layer now but most make it look like they picked up everything that was on their bedroom floor and threw it on. It’s about making a well-planned outfit not look contrived.
Caroline de Maigret has an effortless Parisian vibe that has us stalking her all day long. That hair and those blazer combinations, what is there not to love? Jenna Lyons is another favourite of ours. We love her ability to inject a touch of masculinity into all her ensembles.
How do you think Adelaide’s fashion scene fairs? Do we have a legitimate fashion culture?
In terms of appreciating quality over quantity and supporting ‘designers’ in their truest sense of form – Adelaide isn’t quite there (yet!). There aren’t many Adelaide labels who produce in Australia – something that we are both avid supporters of. If we can keep production on shore (as much as possible) – we are supporting the local economy and keeping jobs here in Australia. It’s also about supporting talent and educating women on what buying a copy does to the original designer. It’s a topic we are really passionate about.
But is designer fashion really accessible to everyone?
Fashion should be accessible to all, and whilst lower price point labels have a place in the market they should not exist at the detriment of other designers. Consumers have a responsibility to know what they are purchasing and what role they play in this. Think about the Josh Goot scenario. His designs have always been fresh and original and next to none when it comes to quality. However they get copied, he loses out on sales and people wonder why designers face financial troubles. We are hoping to change that! Women should know exactly why they are paying $800 for a Christopher Esber dress, much like an artwork it has a story to tell.
What is a misconception people may have about your jobs?
Our job comes with many stresses that you don’t get when working for someone else. In the first 12 months we hardly slept or socialised. It was all about setting ourselves up, developing our image and brand. We are comfortable now with where we are at, but the word ‘relaxed’ no longer exists. You can never fully switch off …
Most glamorous fashion experience you’ve had?
Walking into the studio of Steven Khalil to interview this couture genius! We sifted through his racks and literally ran our fingers across every dress and looked at every detail. That was pretty surreal as we’re both huge fans of his work.
Favourite South Australian labels?
Couture Love Madness -Cristina Tridente is going from strength to strength. We were blown away with her latest collection and it’s so wonderful to see how much exposure and attention the label is getting in China at the present time – it is well deserved after Cristina’s hard work! It also helps that she is just one of the nicest girls around.
What’s your best advice for budding bloggers?
Blogging in itself is not a job and never will be. A lot of girls forget this. Margaret Zhang is a photographer and creative director not a blogger. So if you start it by thinking you can throw on an outfit and get followers you are bound to fail. Ask yourself why am I trying to push my name out there; what do I have to offer? Find your niche and if you are going to get in touch with a shop asking to collaborate be ready to provide your websites statistics. Shops are catching on that a few thousand followers on Instagram don’t mean a collaboration will be worth it.
How do you set yourselves apart in a world of hundreds of thousands of girls wanting to be fashion bloggers?
I think it goes back to basics and why you started to begin with. EVERYONE is a blogger these days and there are some insanely talented people out there, stylists, photographers and models who have used it as a platform to get their name out. However they all had a niche or end goal to begin with.
The shop will always be our first priority. That is why we pass on media releases, collaborations and events on a weekly basis. If it’s not on brand or doesn’t fit within our vision we say no. For us, it’s about interviewing the right industry insiders, asking the right questions, doing it for the love of the industry and connecting it back to the shop.
All images courtesy of LOVE TWAIN