Exclusively Fashion Magazine:
For those who haven’t heard of you; can you tell me how
you became a fashion designer?
I would love to say that fashion is in my blood line,
but I come from a family that has nothing to do with the
fashion industry... or any other creative or design
industry. But then again, I have always considered
myself the ‘black sheep ‘ of the family and always knew
I would end up doing something creative and visual.
I also have always loved clothes and
accessories and from a very young age I would choose my
outfits and how to style them. Now I look back at photos
of my childhood and say ‘what was I thinking?!!!’ To
which my mum replies, ‘I did try to dissuade you....’ My
mum, on the other hand, is one of those women who are
naturally classy and elegant. It isn’t just about what
she wears, but how she wears it. So I guess I took my
stubbornness from my dad and my awareness of making
women look good from my mum.
Still, beside my innate zeal for fashion, I was quite a
late bloomer. I didn’t go into fashion design straight
after school. I graduated in advertising and graphic
design and I worked as an Art Director in London for a
few years. Although I enjoyed coming up with ideas and
visualising concepts, I found it was just not personal
and hands-on enough. I just wasn’t as passionate about
it as I was about fashion design. So I decided to go
back to studying and did another degree, this time in
fashion and print design, at Central Saint Martins,
London, during which time I worked for London based
labels Stella McCartney and Tata Naka. Upon graduating
I started designing and creating one-off accessories
which I was selling in the Middle East and Europe. Shop
owners soon started asking me to design bespoke
women's wear collections for their boutiques. After a few
seasons designing one-off collections, I decided to set
up my prêt-a-porter label, ‘Delia Covezzi’.
You have had the privilege to have super model Claudia Schiffer wear your design; can you tell me how the
opportunity came about?
I know... it was so exciting! One of the top models
of all time (whom, by the way, still looks amazing)
wearing one of my garments, photographed by Kayt
Jones and styled by Karl Plewka for Vs. Magazine...
that’s the kind of stuff dreams are made of! This
opportunity came about because the stylist saw my
SS10 collection in the showroom of my PR, Blow, and
hand-picked a few items with this shoot in mind.
Do you find it hard to become a successful designer in
I am in quite a unique position, so I can only speak for
myself. I am a London designer, but I am not British,
even though I have had a lot of British influence
throughout my life. I am originally from Italy, although
having been born in Africa and brought up in the Middle
East, I consider myself a child of the world. Most
countries like to promote their ‘born and bred’
designers and I don’t really belong to any country. For
me home is where the heart is, and for me that’s London.
London is very keen on promoting up-and-coming
avant-garde designers. I, on the other hand, am more of
a commercial designer... but with an edge. I don’t so
much design show pieces for catwalks or editorials, but
rather beautiful high quality garments that women want
to (and can) wear. In that respect my label is quite
understated, less ‘showy’. At the same time, my designs
are strong and unique and would make people stand up and
take notice, without them being ‘in your face’. I
think the UK is warming up to the idea of more
commercial designers and realising their value in the
As anyone will tell you (if you are not already aware of
it) it’s a tough industry regardless, but don’t assume
that working from one of the world’s fashion capitals
necessarily makes it any easier. It has its advantages
and disadvantages. On the plus side, London is becoming
increasingly renowned for hot new labels, and as a
designer you are submerged in a city that embraces
creativity and individualism. On the down side, you are
one of hundreds of designers and it is therefore a lot
more difficult to get someone’s attention or to be
The recession certainly hasn’t helped. The fashion
industry has been hit pretty hard and stores are more
reluctant to invest in new/small labels. I set up my
business just before the recession hit... not the best
of timings, but I’m making the most of what I can and
have been seeing consistent progress which is a good
thing! Luckily, recessions can’t last forever and the
market is beginning to pick up.
Do you think that there is much support for British
From my experience, I think that the UK is a great place
to set up a label in that you can work with suppliers
and manufacturers that are happy to work with small
quantities. There are also organisations such as the
British Fashion Council, UK Fashion & Textile
Association, Vauxhall Fashion Scout and the Princes
Trust which are there to help British designers,
offering advice, seminars, grants etc.
Worldwide, British designers are becoming increasingly
acknowledged and revered, though it seems to be more for
their avant-garde style and their show pieces. Don’t get
me wrong I think it is great to be acclaimed for that
and I feel it sets Britain apart from other countries;
although it would equally be good for British designers
to be renowned for high-quality, wearable fashion. And
by wearable, I do not mean boring!
What do you think are the obstacles on becoming a success?
This is a tough question to answer, because you would
first need to define what is meant by 'successes'. Is it
becoming famous or making money? These two factors are
not necessarily related. There are many well-known and
sought after labels that do not make much money, they
make a loss even, but they are recognised and desired.
Equally there are labels that are not so well-known or
sought-after by the press and media, but they are
selling well and making money. Ideally, we’d all want to
Making or breaking it in this industry is a little like
Russian roulette. It’s a lot about luck... and hard work
and talent, naturally! But a lot of it is about being at
the right place at the right time, and about who you
You need to have the finance to back up your business.
There is a lot of investment involved, and as you grow
your investment increases. Aside from your general
overheads, PR fees, catwalk or trade show fees and
sampling costs, when you get orders in you need to be
able to pay for production up-front, as no store will
pay for the order up-front. It is wise to request a 30%
deposit before going into production. This is allegedly
meant to cover your production costs should the store
cancel their order last minute. However, if you are a
young label, this will not be the case as to begin with
you will not have the quantities required to make such
profit and will most likely only be covering costs.
Recessions are definitely not helpful, though these will
not hinder you to become a success, but they are likely
to delay the process.
You are represented by Blow; can you tell me why you
think that it is important to have a PR?
Exposure, exposure, exposure! No matter how amazing your
product is it isn’t much good if people are not aware it
exists! Especially considering how image-led the fashion
industry is. Exposure creates demand, whether someone
has seen your designs in a magazine or better yet on a
Having a PR is good for getting your name out there, but
also for networking. I am currently working in
collaboration with a UK online retailer. They discovered
me through Blow and they loved my designs. Had I not
been represented by Blow they probably never would have
found out about me.
One of your design pieces was featured in Vogue UK Dec
does it feel to be recognized as a designer, especially
featured in Vogue UK?
Although I am in this industry for the passion and not
for the fame, I would be lying if I said that
recognition for my work didn’t affect me. Whether it’s
by a renowned fashion publication, a store you love, a
celebrity endorsement or a person on the street who
stops you to ask where your outfit is from, it is all
very flattering. A designer’s work is very personal; it
reflects their ideas, taste, style and their skill; all
factors that are unique to them and that make them
individual. It’s your creation, your ‘baby’. To be
featured in a renowned glossy such as Vogue is... it’s
surreal really! I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet!
I love your A/W 2010 collection, the cropped jackets;
what gave you the inspiration for this collection?
Why thank you! As with all my collections, my
inspiration stems from the unique qualities of the
female gender and how woman has the natural ability to
be feminine and soft and at the same time strong and
powerful. It is a strength and power which is often
understated, but by no means should this be
underestimated. For my AW09 collection I looked at the
subjects of Helmut Newton’s photographs. These women,
through the eyes and work of Newton, equally and
simultaneously epitomised femininity and strength. For
my SS10 collection I looked at the similarities between
armour and plumage and how something so tough and strong
can be so delicate and yet so beautiful. For my AW10
collection, I continued with the theme of body armour
(which is essentially what everyone wears and ‘hides’
behind), mixing strong and structured details with
softer, more organic ones, with Joan of Arc as my muse.
Describe your personal style?
My style is feminine without being girlie,
sophisticated, contemporary and classy, but with an
edge. Comfort is important to me, yet I do believe you
can be comfortable and look stylish at the same time. I
feel almost guilty saying it, but my wardrobe staples
are black, navy and grey. I find more muted colours are
generally more sophisticated and easy to wear. I love a
pair of red heels though! I am a firm believer of ‘less
is more’ and generally go for single statement pieces,
be it the detailing of a garment or a striking
accessory. I do love my statement jewellery and belts.
What advice can you give to aspiring fashion designers?