The start of my small brand series, giving designers a space to tell their stories.
Introducing Isabella, the figure behind the beautiful feminine, nostalgic, and natural clothing brand, Saint Belle.
- Tell us a little more about who you are and where you are from?
My name is Isabella, I currently live in a village in the North-East of England with my husband Jonathan and little white Labrador Lucie. I dream all things design. For the past 6 years I have been womenswear designer, creating for other brands in both couture and fast fashion across England – I thrive on creativity and the people I’ve met over the years, it’s certainly shaped me to be the woman I am today.
When I’m not at my studio designing, I love to be in the countryside, emersed in nature – it’s where all my lightbulb moments happen, and I feel most alive. The North-East has such beautiful countryside from the Northumberland Coast to Durham’s river banks.
- What was the inspiration for the Saint Belle name?
The word ‘Saint’ has appeared throughout my life, and I’ve always found it a comforting word. I’ve lived on streets that have ‘Saint’ in the name and attended an all-girls school that had the same prefix. ‘Belle’ of course is link to my name but also means ‘beautiful’ in French and really captures the feminity and presence of the brand. It has an old European feel that I instantly connected with – my grandparents were Italian and Polish so my childhood was a collective of cultures and traditions. It has certainly led me seek similar values around sustainability, simplicity, quality, and a more artisanal way of living.
- Who’s your inspiration in the design industry?
I am inspired by so many, I always have my head in a book or I’m planning to visit a city or exhibition.
Painters: would be Monet and Van Gough for their colour and tone – you see this in my palette. Soft, muted and natural.
Clothing: Currently I admire Jaquemus and his shows, bringing nature centre stage and Ulla Johnson for her uncomplicated feminine designs. Both are focusing on craft and more considered collections.
Jewellery: Anisse Kermiche. I’ve followed her journey since I was working for Erdem in London and was so impressed by how she translated her emotion and thoughts into objects. Consistency is one of the most challenging things to an artist – allowing yourself to develop and test without walking away too soon. Kermiche seems to have mastered this over the years effortlessly.
- Do you have a favourite design or garment you’ve produced?
For me it’s between the Adelia and Georgiana Dress – both are elegant and timeless. The silhouettes showcase the beauty of our handwoven fabric so well.
The Adelia has those girly bows that are so intriguing – she was a joy to design. You can wear with a strappy sandal or add a large drop earring for a candle lit dinner. We developed the gentle slope in the hem for ease when walking and added 7 shell buttons to catch the light.
The Georgiana was dreamt up on country walk, I remember hurrying home to sketch. I wanted to create a simple style that was versatile, comfortable but still a design statement. The ¾ puff sleeve, glimmering shell buttons and detachable belt make her effortless.
- Where do you see Saint Belle in the next five years?
In five years, I see our considered community growing. A little secret, but already this autumn we are preparing to celebrate a new range of bespoke artisan fabrics, having designed a range of wooden block prints (they are beautiful!!). It has been 4 months since Saint Belle launched and with every piece, we are challenging the current fashion industry, choosing to give female artists a voice and occupy spaces as a slow fashion label.
It’s going to be a beautiful journey and we are all for proving that dreams do come true.
Thank you Isabella for your words and for sharing your story. Above I am wearing the Adelia Dress from Saint Belle’s first collection.
If you are a small brand or would love to nominate your favourite new designer, please drop me a DM or mention them in the comments. Stay tuned for more bi-monthly interviews.