Anna Plunket is one of the formidable designers of the eclectic Australian label, Romance Was Born. Her fashion career was born out of East Sydney College with her collaborator, Luke Sales. The duo believe so much in their mission for fun and funky vibes that they stray away from the depths of social media. Their clothes speak for themselves amongst fast fashion conglomerate groups that consume today’s buying climate. Read below details on how the label intends to reach further into the overseas market and tips to sustain success as a small business.
When did you decide to become a designer?
I have always enjoyed making things since an early age. During my studies I met Luke and we working on assignments together and making costumes for singers so that is how Romance Was Born was born.
What formal training did you receive?
Advanced Diploma of Fashion Design at East Sydney College.
What inspired you to start a label with Luke Sales?
When we started making clothes together we had so much fun, then everything just seemed to happen and take off for us.
Do you have differing roles in the business?
Not technically. We converse a lot about things, and then one of us generally takes the lead on it. There are so many different layers to what we do, so there is a lot of organising and co-ordination.
Where do you draw influence for each new collection?
Once we are working on one collection we are off talking about new projects and collaborations; it’s just a part of who we are as people. We like to keep the space for inspiration very wide and open for possibility. It’s a funny mix, and sometimes very random!
What has been a career highlight so far?
It’s hard to say. We were really happy with what we presented at Mercedes-Benz Fshion Week Australia. It felt like such a great creative journey for us. Getting our first cover of Vogue in 2009 was a really special moment also after our “Doilies and Pearls” show. It felt like a time when Australia really got behind us. That same year we also won the Woolmark Designer Award, which was a huge honour.
What does it take to be a successful designer?
Talent obviously, but more important is determination and authenticity.
What advice would you give to a young emerging designer?
Obtain as much experience in the industry as you can to understand our ever-evolving market, and find your niche.
How important is it to wear a “business” hat?
We wear so many hats, whether it is a business hat, a broker hat or a director hat, yet I think it’s more about how you wear the required hat. I think business is multi-disciplined and it’s important to have balance. I only wish we could just wear a designer hat most of the time!
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned since starting your label?
Listen to your gut instinct, always.
Is marketing and social media a key to your brand’s success?
We don’t have anyone that does our marketing, we just use social media. In fact, it’s not even a focus for us, which is shocking but true. We do our best with our small team but it’s something we really believe in for our business.
How do you conceive unique ideas for your runway shows?
We come up with all kinds of crazy stuff all the time!
Tell us why you love collaborating with artists
It’s just a part of us as people – it’s a really natural thing for us. At fashion school we felt like we were more at the Arts School sometimes then our TAFE!
Who is the most interesting artist or musician you have dressed?
A difficult question as we only dress interesting artists. Recently Sia, who is such a unique and talented girl.
How important is your wholesale business to your brands success?
When we first started it was our main focus. We now have a growing online business, which is exciting for the future.
With our industry constantly changing, how do you see the future of fashion?
I think online stores will become more interactive and allow a total new experience for consumers.
Describe your own personal style?
Eclectic, colourful, random.
Do you have a favourite designer?
I love Chanel, so Karl Largerfeld. I also love what the two creative directors are doing at Valentino though now.
Where do you see Romance Was Born in 10 years time?
Having a strong presence internationally with flagship stores in selected regions. We would also love to grow our high-end custom pieces.
You can find Romance was Born on Instagram at @romancewasborn
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