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Accessories queen Fiona Paxton


Fiona Paxton, 42

When East London-based designer Fiona Paxton decided to go forth and launch her own accessories line last year she didn’t expect to be gracing the hallowed retail halls of Barney’s, Bloomingdales and Liberty straight away but, as she explains: "I took a risk and set up a showroom in New York during fashion week and every buyer that visited placed an order from the collection."

That was May last year, and she’s since gone from strength to strength, upping her original collection of 12 necklaces and four scarves to 70-plus pieces, and growing. A textile graduate from the Royal College of Art, Fiona applies textile techniques to create exquisitely woven statement necklaces that are bold and intricate at the same time. "Originally it was going to be a scarf collection but when the hand-beaded pieces came back from the factory in Mumbai everyone just fell in love with the necklaces, so I ran with it."

After working for other designers for 15 years, including Michiko Koshino, Habitat ("I designed greetings cards") and latterly as Creative Director for design company Brewster (selling designs to everybody from Whistle to Armani to Chloe), Fiona was already au fait with the manufacturing process: "I’d worked with the factory before and I was really inspired by the beautiful things they produce. As the scale of production has gotten bigger I guess the problems have got bigger I have a quality control company going out to the factory now, and an assistant."

The sudden growth of her business means tons of work but with two small children, now aged 2 and 4, office life had become unworkable: "I had two kids in quick succession and it became impossible. It was really quite terrifying but I had to make a change because it was affecting my family."

Now, with an ever-expanding collection and collaborations coming up with US shoe designer Ruthie Davis and New York store Anthropologie’s UK launch in the fall, it’s clear that Fiona made the right move.

"A lot of the things that I thought would be easy weren’t and a lot of the things I thought would be impossible were actually easy, like getting press" - Fiona secured rave write-ups in Stella and Style before she even went to New York. "Ultimately, you just have to have confidence in your own ideas. If it seems like a really good idea to you then that probably will be to others too."

Fiona's CV
1992 - Graduated with a distinction in Textile Design from The Royal College of Art
1993-1997 - Consultant designer working for Armani, Chloé, Moschino and Habitat
1997-2000 - Print designer for Michiko Koshino, London
2000-2007 - Creative Director for Brewster Textile Design Studio, London
Fall 2007 - Began work on her line of accessories
May 2008 - Launched the Fiona Paxton brand in New York

Shop at www.ninaandlola.com


Alison Taylor
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