Designer Spotlight… Isabelle Quinn

“Isabelle Quinn became an Australian womenswear label for the romantic, the unconventional and the carefree modern girl. Influenced by the independent, beautiful yet unassuming women around her, Isabelle Quinn delivers forward, wearable pieces that are ever so slightly undone, yet have both grace and guts.”


What inspired you to start your label?

I was in Uni, I was 21 and I studied a Bachelor of Business and Digital Marketing. I just couldn’t really afford clothes and I was always going out and had heaps of events. Mum’s an artist so we grew up creating stuff; I would just create my outfits every weekend and I got so enthralled in doing it. I loved picking fabric every weekend. Friends (and randoms) were like “Ohhh I really love that!” and I thought I could start a business out of this.


With your background in Digital Marketing, did Instagram help you get started?

Yeah, I think that definitely helped me a lot in that respect. I’m very good at Instagram marketing and that side of it so that definitely helped with sales. I’m [also] quite good at taking pictures and stuff for Instagram.


You are stocked in some of the best stores in Australia (including the Iconic). How did your wholesale business start and was this a natural thing?

No, not so natural! I really wanted to be in stores so mum and I would drive around on the Gold Coast, Byron, Brisbane etc and I would try to get into stores – pretty much everyone closed their doors. It’s s like no-one wants to speak to you. I did get from time to time people emailing me and wanting to stock me. I got a wholesale agent and that helped a lot as it was a lot more professional as the brand grew, I would still get some [stockists] but once I got the agent it was a lot easier and they take you a lot more seriously.


Tell me about your design process; what inspires you and how you get started with a new collection?

When I actually sit down to design to collection I look to the past or look to when I’ve been travelling. My last collection was very LA – I went to LA last year – so I got really inspired by Melrose, the markets, and all of that. Even just look at what my friends are wearing, what they need or what I need, so a bit of everything. I look a lot on Pinterest and Instagram, I save pictures a lot in Instagram of stuff I love… stuff always pops into my head. Colours also inspire me. Right now, I can’t stop thinking about snakeskin, like I need do snakeskin!


I love snakeskin!

Me too! I want to do yellow snakeskin.


It seems everyone is looking to start their own business… If you had to give once piece of advice, what would that be?

You just got to keep trying. It’s easy for people to say no to you or dishearten you, but I’m very persistent and quite crazy so you just have to keep going. You’ll get upset… some person might say no to you but a better opportunity’s around the corner so just keep going. Persistence. Organisation. Be really prepared. Look to the future of where you would want to go.


Speaking of the future, what is in the near future and the far future for Isabelle Quinn?

Near future is my own pop-up shop in Pacific Fair. Potentially, it will become a store if it does well. It’s my home town and the brand is well-known there. I’m going to be in the designer strip next to some amazing brands so I’m very excited about that. Far future, hopefully do Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week next year. I [also] want to be in Net-a-Porter and Shopbop and those major brands.


So International is a focus?

Yeah international [is a focus]. I’m trying to branch out into the US at the moment as I want to be in the American market. It would be amazing to have a store in Sydney and in Melbourne and then branch into the US and be doing Fashion Week overseas hopefully one day!