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Continuing his quest for the best of the best at this year's Vancouver Fashion Week, Jamil had the great fortune of scoring an interview with LIRA "Designer of the Year" Lisa Jayne Dann. Labelled the “Queen of Leeds Independent Fashion" her designs are best known for their use of sumptuous colors and their classic yet unique vintage appeal.

Lisa studied Fashion Design at Dewsbury College of Art and Design before a short stint in retail. While working part time as a dressmaking assistant for a local designer, Lisa formed a close friendship with the team at independent fashion retailer, Aqua Couture who were launching a new store in Leeds’ Corn Exchange.

The Lisa Jayne Dann label has never looked back. Now stocked in numerous independent boutiques across the country, Lisa’s designs are worn by celebrities and fashionistas from all over the UK, and Lisa is excited to be given the opportunity to show her fabulous S/S11 collection in Canada this fall.

Described as the as “Queen of Leeds Independent Fashion," Lisa recently won the ‘Designer of the Year’ accolade at Leeds Independent Retail Awards.

For further information visit:

Lisa Jayne Dann at Vancouver Fashion Week:
Showing Sunday, 7th November 2010 at 5.30pm
Empire Landmark Hotel, 1400 Robson Street, Vancouver

Interview with Lisa Jayne Dann:

We’d like to start by congratulating you on the “Designer of the Year” award you received at the Leeds Independent Retail Awards. What was that like? And what does an award like that do you for you personally, and the development of your brand?
To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting it at the time. It was a great privilege and I was extremely excited about the award. It was a very, very, nice honor from Leeds to present me with that award

[In terms of the development of the brand] It definitely gets your name out there more as there is quite a bit of press who follow it and you become a bigger name around Leeds. The more press you get the more your name gets out there, and boutiques and shops around the country start picking you up. So it definitely has helped.

You’re known as the "Queen of Leeds Independent Fashion". Who was the first person to come up with that title, and in all honesty, is that the coolest nickname you’ve ever had?
[Chuckles]. To be honest it was a title given to me by the press, so I haven’t actually had anyone who’s called me that. However, I do quite like the nickname!

When you were studying fashion design at Dewsbury College, did you envision yourself having this much success in the industry?
With each season, it’s getting more and more successful for me. When you’re at college, you strive to do the best that you can; and in whatever I do, I try to do the best I possibly can. So with each season I don’t over expect what’s going to come, so when it does, it’s always quite nice for me.

Given how successful you’ve been at such a young age, what is your next big goal you’d like to accomplish in the Fashion industry?
I think to be honest it would be to get into Harvey Nichols and all of the big department stores. That’s when I’ll feel that I’ve got reach and our label is doing really, really well. If we can get into department stores like Harvey Nichols and Thom Browne, I’ll have felt that we’ve made the mark.

What was it like having your own “exclusive” line at ASOS for the Autumn/Winter of 2010?
That was an honor. The collection has done very well in its first week, and we are in the second week now [and it’s still doing very well] so I’m extremely pleased with that.

Given how much you’ve accomplished, what is the best moment you’ve had as a designer?
I think it was getting my account to be honest! Now not only can people go to the boutique to get my label its actually reaching customers in their office and homes and most importantly, globally. I get quite a few emails from America, Lebanon, Italy, and quite a few other places, and it’s benefitting me greatly.

This is the first time designers from the UK are coming to Vancouver Fashion Week. What does this mean to you and what type of opportunity does this provide for your brand?
Well it’s an amazing platform for both myself and Jamie [James Steward] and it gives us a chance to see what other designers are doing as well around the world, outside the UK.

Now this might be a bit of a silly question, but given your profession I have to ask, do you wear exclusively your own clothes?
Not in the day! [Laughter]. If I’m going out or it’s a weekend thing, yes definitely but not day to day. I always got a pair of stilettos on without fail! But I don’t always wear labels.

Speaking of wearing your clothes, actress Lucy-Jo Hudson appears to be really big fan of yours. I read that she asked you personally to design the bridesmaid dresses for her wedding. What was that like? And also, what are the differences between working with a celebrity compared to designing fashion for the everyday person?
She is so easy to talk to and such a delightful person to be around! Her and her bridesmaids were no different than any other normal customers that come in that I’m dressing. I think any customer, whether they are famous or not, all comes down to their personality to be honest. If they are quiet and shy, and they are not sure what they’re after, then it’s always a tougher appointment, whether they are famous or not. She was extremely special and she’s a really love girl.

Now, I was going through your Facbeook Page and I noticed a lot of posts coming in around the wee hours of the morning. Can I infer from this that you’re a night owl?
Never! [Laughter]. It’s actually my sister who keeps up with that [Facebook Page], she has her own online shop which went live on Sunday. I don’t have time at the moment to keep up with all of that, but usually my latest post is at quarter past 10 at the latest.

Lastly, on a scale of 1-10, how are excited are you for Vancouver Fashion Week?
I’ve got to say 10 now don’t I! To be honest, my head has been so involved in this collection from the minute we found out about it, and now we’ve got literally 5 days till we go. The excitement is very high and we really can’t wait until we get there! Come Monday, we’ll be even more excited!


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