Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Donna Ida - Dedicated to Denim

The lady behind the brand

I was delighted when Donna, the lady behind the brand Donna Ida agreed to be interviewed.  I first connected with the lovely lady on Twitter as I am a big fan of designer denim.  One of the things that really stands out about Donna is the fact that she loves what she does and you get a real sense of that from her tweets (and this interview confirms it).  She is simply, dedicated to denim...

Firstly, tell us how your fashion career began?
It all started in 2006 when I opened our first shop.  That was literally the beginning – before 2006 I was just a very keen shopper.

Tell us about the Donna Ida brand and what inspired you to start it?
I have always loved denim but was frustrated that there was nowhere to shop all the best denim labels in one place.  Department stores were the only answer and I couldn’t get the help I needed.  I decided to open a shop that just sold jeans – it was such a simple concept when I told people what I was doing they all said what an obvious and simple idea – so strange that no one’s done it before!

What have been the highlights of your fashion career to date?
Being nominated for the Drapers Awards twice – the next Awards is on the 17th of November! Building a strong customer base of loyal customers and working with a team of amazing girls who all believe in the business as much as I do.

Describe the typical Donna Ida customer – what is she like?
We have such a broad range as we are very specialist but there is a very core customer group who is 25-60, knows exactly what look she is going for, what her body shape is, what she wants to wear for the season.

Who are you favourite fashion designers?
It varies from season to season but there is a look I admire – I love the 70’s, flares, anything high-waisted.  I prefer a more sophisticated silhouette so love references to Dior’s New Look, I like YSL and Louis Vuitton.  I generally prefer French designers so Isabel Marant is on my radar but also like the older American designers who are constantly referenced now such as Roy Halston and Oscar de la Renta.

What is your definition of style?
Knowing what looks good on you and wearing it well.  I think we should all work with what we’ve been given – confidence is key.

Who are your style icons?
I love the old images of Marilyn Monroe and Bridget Bardot, women who were beautiful and glamorous.  I like the 60’s when Jackie Kennedy was the First Lady and the glamour of the South of France.  There’s still something special about the South of France now – it’s kept that glamour and Monaco always feels like an event.  For modern day icons I love Diane Kruger, Cate Blanchett and Rachel Zoe.  Women who are all comfortable in their own skin and are confident and successful.

Do you have a personal favourite, when it comes to denim brands?
That would be like choosing between my children!  I have a few favourites, or brands that work for me.
J Brand, Earnest Sewn, James Jeans, Goldsign and Current/Elliott.

Has the world of social media had an impact on your brand?
Definitely, it’s such a great way to connect with new customers and also our peers.  I find that I chat to so many other retailers and everyone supports each other.  Twitter has been great in that way – it feels like a casual friendly way to connect.  You can tweet literally anyone you want.

Do you have any exciting projects/collaborations planned for the brand?
Oh soooo many!!  We have a new shop opening in Guildford at the end of next month and are looking at new locations all the time.  We have an exciting new website launching early next year and we have a few other collaborations on the boil with designers.

What advice would you give to aspiring fashion entrepreneurs?
‘Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ is a wise old quote.  I work long hours but it’s not ‘work’ to me – I love it.  If you love fashion and people just get in there – don’t put it off.  You really can make anything happen if you believe in it enough.

Check out the website here - you can also follow Donna Ida on Twitter @donnaida and Facebook


  1. Brilliant post. Certainly inspiring. And I love Donna's target age range of 25-60. It's very inclusive.

    I follow Donna and twitter and think she has a fab twitter presence.




  2. I don't really do denim but - on a superficial note - isn't she gorgeous?!