Sophie Hermann has opened up about her attempts at launching a fashion label in her early 20s – and how she learnt invaluable lessons from its failure.
On a quest to contribute to a sustainable and mindful approach in consuming fashion, the Made In Chelsea favourite, 34, is selling the entire collection – designed for the 2012-2014 seasons – vowing to ‘do a Vivienne Westwood’ and burn it if it doesn’t sell.
‘If you have a dream, you try to make it come true,’ Sophie told MailOnline. ‘But my dream was shattered. It all ended very dramatically and terribly with me liquidating the company.
Lessons learned: Sophie Hermann has opened up about her attempts at launching a fashion label in her early 20s – and how she learnt invaluable lessons from its failure
‘Basically, don’t start a business in your early 20s with your boyfriend – especially if said boyfriend is younger than you. The whole thing made me end a toxic relationship and rethink life.’
Sophie launched Sophie Hermann London around the time she joined Made In Chelsea – but admits she got the wrong end of the stick with her expectations.
‘I joined Made In Chelsea because of the collection. I thought coming onto the show would be the perfect platform to advertise my designs. However, I didn’t take into consideration who was watching the show,’ she reflected. ‘I miscalculated the target group and had no idea what I was signing up for on MIC.
‘It was the first time I’d been on TV – pushed into lion pit. I thought we would sell out in a week. But I ended up with more of a side-role on the show and my designs were just too expensive.
Style queen: On a quest to contribute to a sustainable and mindful approach in consuming fashion, the Made In Chelsea favourite, 34, is selling the entire collection – designed for the 2012-2014 seasons – vowing to ‘do a Vivienne Westwood’ and burn it if it doesn’t sell
‘MIC helped me create a platform for myself and turn myself into a brand where now other brands pay me to design for them which is a lot of fun as well. And I am very grateful. It’s like one door closes and another opens. That’s the silver lining.’
Sophie’s Fairytale Collection features such items as a tweed blazer with colour splashes, featured on the cover of Grazia in November 2013 and worn by Cressida Bonas who was, at the time, dating Prince Harry.
The products range from jeans and hot pants to feminine pastel dresses with bold shoulder pads in an 80s style, all reflective of Sophie’s personal style. The centerpieces of the collections are mesh bodysuits.
Sophie’s skill set has been both studied and inherited. She was a student at renowned fashion school Istituto Marangoni in Milan, and her great-grandmother is Luise Hermann, the founder of the famous German jeans brand Mustang.
Aspirations: ‘If you have a dream, you try to make it come true,’ Sophie told MailOnline. ‘But my dream was shattered’
‘My dream is to have a fashion house so that my late great-grandmother can live vicariously through me,’ she said. ‘I now know what it takes – how much money it takes, the dedication.
‘Right now I’m enjoying TV work so much that having a fashion house or label would require all of my attention. So it’s something I’ll probably revisit when I’m 40.
‘And if I do get the same opportunity again, I’ll focus on two or three signature pieces to perfection, rather than try to create my entire dream wardrobe with 25 pieces in five different colours.
‘Fashion is one of the most expensive ventures you can do. You touch base with reality quickly. Look at Victoria Beckham. Look at McQueen. By the time he died he was in a lot of debt.
Tasty: ‘My dream is to have a fashion house so that my late great-grandmother can live vicariously through me,’ she said
‘With me I have a creative side of my brain but no business side. So I’d need to get a team together of specialists in different fields next time, so that I could be the creative head because all the marketing and taxes is incredibly hard.’
Now, Sophie wants to give her fans the chance to purchase pieces of her first collections.
‘I put lots of effort into designing these pieces and it’s a project very close to my heart. I want to share this part of my journey with my fans, and encourage everyone to think sustainably and value high quality and creative craftsmanship,’ she said.
‘And I’m going to do a Vivienne Westwood if it doesn’t sell and burn it on Primrose hill!’
Venture: Now, Sophie wants to give her fans the chance to purchase pieces of her first collections
Ever the optimist, however, Sophie looks forward to trying her hand at launching a label in the future.
‘What you see of me on Instagram is like the light side of the moon. But obviously the moon has two phases.
‘People don’t see how much blood, sweat and tears you put into things behind the scenes. Or how many times you actually fail until something successful comes along…’