Sunday, 23 May 2010

STYLISA chats to Brix Smith-Start

The fabulous Brix Smith-Start

Firstly, aside from being extremely busy, how are you doing?
Well, physically, I'm tired - just like a battery that's lost a bit of it's charge. Mentally I've never been happier or more positive, and I'm enjoying every minute of life. There was a long time when I didn't work and now all I do is work; but you have to make hay while the sun shines and I'm grateful for every opportunity.

How did you get into the world of fashion?
I've been interested in fashion ever since I was a small child. My mother encouraged me to pick out my own clothes and be as creative as I liked, even if they clashed it didn't matter. She taught me that fashion was a form of self expression. But 10 years ago after a long career in the music business, my husband and I moved from Notting Hill to Shoreditch and I woke up one morning and turned to Philip and said, 'honey, there's nowhere to shop', and he said to me 'why dont we start a little boutique on a back street and fill it with things we love?'. It really was a case of necessity is the mother of invention. My husband has an extensive retail background having founded and run Woodhouse menswear for 35 years, so I wasn't exactly dealing with an amateur. He let me do the womenswear buying; he gave me encouragement, a free reign and a budget, and the rest is history.

What is a typical day like within the world of Brix?
Wake up at 6 and feed the dogs. Make a cup of coffee with vanilla soy milk. Go back to sleep for half an hour after the coffee. Watch E! news at 8 o'clock. Do a few emails on my iPhone. Run for half an hour with the dogs. Shower. Dress. And either one of two things: go downstairs get to a waiting car and go off to film all day, or if it's a shop day walk to Start (which is a 15 minute walk from my house) and spend my time on the shop floor/ in the office doing interviews, pr and buying. When it's buying season my day is totally different, it is spent going to back to back buying appointments - sometimes 6 a day - either in London or Paris. I do New York over the internet with pictures, and I don't go to Milan any more. I spend on average about 3 days a week filming and 2 days in the shop, except Saturday is a completely different animal. On Saturday I work in the shop all day and people make appointments with me for me to style them, which are free and they just book my time - I either do jeans fittings or style them depending on what they want. Every evening I go home, have a glass of wine, water the roof terrace, cook dinner or go out to dinner/a function, four days a week I'm out. If I'm home I go to bed by 10 and read a book every night. Inbetween times I always tweet as well, I tweet all day long.

You also appear on TV alongside the fabulous Gok Wan - can you give any hints on what will feature in the new show?
Aside from the catwalk face-off and makeovers, I  will be doing my own strand called 'Best of British' which will take a look at iconic British brands and British manufacturing and look at the skills of true craftsmen and artisans of which this country can be proud.

What do you enjoy most about being in fashion?
I love discovering new brands and new designers, especially young talent. And I love dressing people and making them feel fabulous.

How would you describe your look?
My look changes from day to day and is pretty much an expression of my personality.

Do you have a favourite designer?
My favourite designer is Martin Margiela, followed by Rick Owens, followed by Acne and Alexander Wang. Those are the designers that I wear the most, but I truly love Erdem.

And what about the high street - do you have any favourite shops?
My favourite high street shop is Zara but I never shop on the high street.

As we are already into the Spring/Summer fashions, what tips can you give us for Autumn/Winter?
It's time to cuddle up. There were so many cuddly mohair and shearling gilets around, everything is soft and delicious. Khaki and camel. All-over prints, for instance tunic dresses and matching leggings in bold graphic geometric prints, or a touch of the animal.

What advice would you give to those wanting to get into the fashion industry?
I recommend that people take internships so that they find out if a certain type of job in the industry suits them i.e. buying, pr, merchandising, window display etc. We always have interns and some of my favourite members of staff have come from internships.

Click here to shop at START online

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