Recently I caught up with the Queen of denim ‘ Donna Ida’ in her beautifully merchandised Belgravia store, to learn more about her expanding empire and her top tips for buying the perfect pair of jeans.
You’ve earned the accolade ‘Denim Queen’, what first piqued your interest in denim?
I have always worn jeans, from when I was a little girl right through my teens. I used to customise my own jeans – I so so so wish I still had a black acid wash pair that I patched at the knee with sweet floral patches with blanket stitch around the edges! – and loved that all you had to do to look cool was wear jeans. Then when the premium denim boom hit – around 18 years ago – I was like, of course!!
Since you launched 2006 the denim landscape has changed with many department stores and boutiques specialising in denim, how does Donna Ida differentiate itself against its competition?
Over overriding message is always service service service, along with the best denim edit.
Who is your target customer?
It is broad – 18-80 – but our core customer is around 30 to 60. I don’t like putting numbers ages or barriers on things though, some of our coolest and most memorable customers could easily be my grandmother!
What are the current trends in Denim for AW15?
Distressing, customising, fraying, flares and the big one….culottes!! Our IDA Margot Culotte has been a huge seller for us.
Could you give us some tips as to how select a pair of jeans based on your body type?
Be aware if you have a long or short body, long and you need high waisted, short and you need low to medium. Then look at the leg shape and this is much more visual. Think about what feel practical, and then look in the mirror. They need to be practical, and then they need to look good. Always try, even if you think something won’t suit you, just try. The leg shape makes so much difference. If you are very petite an ankle skinny generally looks good, and if you are very tall then flares or straight/cigarette legs look good.
Are skinnies over?
Never. They are so versatile and easy to wear. They are still a huge part of our business.
What are your favourite ever pair of jeans?
There is no single favourite ever, there are many many many many favourites! I have so many that I can’t live without and they all serve their own purpose. I generally have about 30 at a time in my wardrobe and rotate about 10 that I am wearing during any season.