An Audience With Olivia Rubin New! was thrilled to be invited to take part in an onstage Q&A with so-hot-right-now London designer Olivia Rubin at Pure London (the UK's biggest fashion buying show, and place to catch awesome sneak previews of new-season collections before they've even hit the catwalk, dontcha know), last week.

She of the famous brick print dress, who is beloved of Dorothy Perkins devotees nationwide, opened up about everything from her spring/summer 2013 collection to getting the prices right. Here are a few highlights...


What is the inspiration behind your SS13 collection? Can you talk us through it?
The SS13 collection takes inspiration from the London landscapes, contrasting bright summer florals with architectural elements from cityscapes. Silhouettes remain feminine and structured with new maxi dresses and an emphasis on easy-to-wear printed separates that are versatile for all occasions. City chic peplum blouses and shorts, soft sweaters and balmy-evening draped dresses stand out in an array of stunning prints from striking yellow pansies to more graphic fuchsia and purple gate patterns. The renowned brick makes an appearance in an array of ice cream shades and a new 'screw' print draws on the literal side of construction inspiration. Colour combinations remain rich and full of vibrancy combined with natural fabrics such as jersey linens and cottons as well as 'screw' buttons and floral embroidery. 

What do you find most challenging about your job?
There are many challenging aspects to running a fashion label because the pressure to maintain a viable business rests mainly with me. It is key to have a unique and competitive product. In my case, this is printed contemporary womenswear, and I'd say the selling side is very tough as without sales there is no business. Sales never came naturally to me but I learnt to adapt and build up rapports with buyers and now I enjoy showing my collections to them each season. My job encompasses so many different aspects so without question it is 24/7, which means I can never switch off from work!

How important are the partnerships you have with retailers such as Dorothy Perkins and ASOS for Olivia Rubin as a brand, and how do you approach these diffusion lines differently?
My collaborations are important in spreading the word of the brand and ultimately bringing the signature of the label to a whole new customer. I have seen this first hand with my range for DP when I went into there mega stores and just watched women shop the range. It was interesting to watch what styles customers were attracted to and see how a different market reacted to the collection; however, we did work closely together to combine my stamp with DP's handwriting.  It is important for me to keep collaborating on new partnerships and producing a more affordable line.

What's next for Olivia Rubin?
I want to continue building up the brand and expand internationally as well as in the UK. I have some new creative projects in the pipeline and want to work on maintaining a healthy business and keeping my customers and fans excited as they are what drive the business.

Your label is five years old this year. If you could go back and do it all again, is there anything you'd do differently?
I have no regrets! I have learned the majority of what I know from first hand experiences and without making some errors or wrong decisions I would never have learned from them. I have kicked myself a few times and had many a stressful days but I believe longevity comes from hard work and enthusiasm combined. I believe I still have that in abundance.