Meet the Women Behind the Labels You're Obsessed With on Instagram

Instagram has helped brands such as Rixo and Manu Atelier find huge success in a matter of months, but who are the women behind some of the most talked-about brands right now? From the Turkish sisters taking on the handbag industry to the former ASOS buyers creating dresses that are so popular they sell out in less than an hour, keep scrolling to meet the women behind many of the labels you're obsessed with on Instagram.

Dodo Bar Or, Founder of Dodo Bar Or

Photo:

Dodo Bar Or

PICTURED: Founder Dodo Bar Or

If you've seen any pictures of fashion bloggers at the beach, chances are you'll be familiar with Dodo Bar Or's designs as her colourful embroidered dresses, kaftans and wrap skirts have taken off on Instagram.

How Dodo Bar Or was born...

"The moment I realised I was buying beautiful designer clothes and cutting them up, I knew there was some kind of a problem! I was a theatre, TV and film actress for many years and I always loved turning myself into new characters through the garments.  There was also a need to be different and express myself through my look and outfits. Starting my own fashion label in 2014 was a natural way for me to continue analyze and express myself through design."

The five items she relies on in her wardrobe...

 "Jeans, a T-Shirt, Manolo Blahnik high heels I recently bought (I have a feeling that I'm going to wear them a lot), a big bag that contains three small bags inside and a Dodo Bar Or Karla tulle and silk chiffon dress – they’re so versatile from office to evening."

PICTURED: Lucy Williams in Dodo Bar Or Wrap Skirt. 

 A typical outfit for the day in the office...

"Most of the time I'm very casual, I believe in comfort and feeling comfortable in your own body so I'm usually in jeans and T shirt with a Dodo Bar Or velvet kimono. When I'm at work I need to feel liberated, calm — if I dress up too much it can prohibit my creativity. I feel, live and breathe the clothes I'm wearing and become the character. If I have an important meeting or business lunch, I like to dress in jeans, heels and a beautiful shirt, like the velvet and tulle blouses from my AW17 collection, or in the summer a beautiful dress and sandals."

Top tip for starting your own fashion business... 

"My main piece of advice is to find your own signature and don’t try to be something you're not. You need to have your own DNA and need to remember that people appreciate honesty and can easily recognize the real thing. Your DNA needs to come from your personal identity, so dig deep inside, find it within and let it out, the rest will follow."

Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey, Founders of Rixo London

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Rixo; PICTURED: Founders Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey

Henrietta and Orlagh started out as fashion buyers at ASOS and launched cult brand Rixo, which creates vintage-inspired printed dress.

First job in fashion…

"We started working in fashion after we graduated from London College of Fashion in 2011 and went straight into buying."

How Rixo was born…

"We launched Rixo London in September 2015 so have just celebrated our second birthday! We saw a big gap in the market for a good-quality contemporary brand that was offering women something different to anything on the market but would stay in their wardrobe for years to come. We looked in our wardrobe and saw that almost all of our most worn pieces were vintage and didn't understand why no one else was offering similar pieces that were just as easy to wear, season to season. We thought to ourselves, What are we missing in our wardrobes? Where are we wearing that to? Let's create it."

How Rixo's prints are created…

"We gather all of our inspiration and Pantone colours first on massive mood boards—this comes from anything, whether it's movie stills from our favourite films, botanical studies, vintage clothing shapes, architectural features, anything! Then we sit at the table in our living room with paints spread out, music on, and paint the night(s) away! Once we have the prints, it's scanned into Photoshop and digitally cleaned and sent to our suppliers for the first strike off of the fabric."

The five items they rely on in a typical day…
Orlagh: "Our Leandra skirt, Gucci slides, a vintage gold chain belt, my grey Theory jumper, a Rixo neck scarf and a small Balenciaga messenger bag pouch."

Henrietta: "Our Moss blouse, Georgia skirt, leather Celine clutch, red Charlotte Olympia boots (we use these for web shoots and get emails every day about them!), vintage jewellery from my mum (sentimental and dresses up any outfit) and, of course, a Rixo neck scarf!"

Beste and Merve Manastır, Co-Founders of Manu Atelier

Turkish sisters Beste and Merve created their midpriced handbag brand Manu Atelier in 2014 with the help of their artisan father. The brand really started to skyrocket when Eva Chen featured one of its bags in her #EvaChenPose pictures.

How Manu Atelier was born…

"Our father has been drawing and designing since we were children. We remember times when he would suddenly take out a piece of paper and start to draw wherever he is. We've spent lots of time in his studio. We have always believed in both artisan and design skills and wanted to bridge the gap between our father's traditional talent and modern design. We decided to gain experience in the industry and assisted another designer to launch her leather accessories collection. Then we worked on Manu Atelier for six months before we launched it. We didn't want to wait any longer as we believed there was a huge gap in the market in terms of really exclusively made product."

The five items in their wardrobe they rely on the most…

"Vintage Levi's 501 in various colours, a cashmere sweater, a striped shirt, our custom-made suede ankle boots and our mom's long jean skirt (used to be hers in the late '90s)."

A typical outfit for the day in the office…

Merve says she usually wears slim-cut trousers, a V-Neck blouse and a belt while Beste's uniform is jeans and a shirt.

Top tip for starting your own fashion business…

"You need to understand the industry very well before you get into it and need to look from a much wider perspective."

How Instagram made their brand…

"Instagram has helped the brand to tell its own story and vision directly to the customers. Even before launching in 2014, we have always believed there has to be a real bond between the brand and customer. And social media had played an important role as a forwarder."

Haeni Kim, Founder of Kitri

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Kitri; PICTURED: Founder Haeni Kin

Haeni Kitri only launched Kitri this year, but it has already been embraced by London's editors and launched a pop-up in Marylebone.

How Kitri was born…

"Kitri was launched in March this year (2017). I lived in Hong Kong for four years learning about production and product development and felt that I was ready to take on a new challenge. I've been working on the idea of making classic pieces with a fashionable edge at accessible price points for a while and decided to bite the bullet and go for it at the end of 2015 and never looked back."

The five items in her wardrobe she relies on the most…

"A good shirt (plain white or striped), a smart blouse in a fluid fabric that transitions from the day to evening, a shirtdress, smart jeans and a good blazer."

A typical outfit for the day in the office…

"We have a very relaxed dress code at Kitri, but I wear at least an item from our collection a day to test the products myself. I do have multiple of our Anna Cocoon Shirt in White, which is in heavy rotation. I tend to wear a shirt or blouse with my Levi's jeans or wool trousers and current go-to is our Prince of Wales blazer, which goes with everything."

Top tip for starting to work in fashion…

"Go into a small company and absorb everything you can. It will be a difficult learning curve, and you will have to do lots of different things that you may not always want to, but in a larger company, you tend to see only a very small section of the industry, and it can be more difficult to get a dynamic and inspiring experience. For me, it was tremendously helpful to experience and learn every aspect of the business from the start."

Cat Johnson, Founder of Three Graces London

Photo:

Cat Johnson

You'll spot Three Graces London's nightwear and swimwear on Lucy Williams, Leandra Medine, and Linda Tol (we could go on, though) as these are the perfect clothes for an "Instagram holiday."

How Three Graces London was born…

"I launched Three Graces London in 2015 because I felt there was a gap in the market for beautiful luxury nightwear."

The five items in their wardrobe they rely on the most…

"Great jeans (my current favourite are Saint Laurent), oversize gold jewellery because it dresses everything up, my vintage Kelly bag, our maxi dresses (I love dresses that are generous and versatile) and Emmanuelle Khanh optics.

A typical outfit for the day in the office…

"Lemaire poplin shirts or cashmere sweaters with jeans or trousers—comfort is king!"