Meet the Cheshire women behind the Louise McLeod and Fashion Dollz designer brands
- Credit: Archant
Janet Reeder catches up with the Alderley Edge-based fashion in-laws who are making waves in the capital with their exclusive jewellery and clothing brands
They are two sets of sisters-in-law who have created a following for their unique brand of luxury boho and now they are taking on the Chelsea set.
Cheshire girls Philippa Jervis and Emma Jervis, designers of Louise McLeod Jewellery and Karla and Stephanie Zapolski, of The Fashion Dollz label recently hit the Kings Road, Chelsea for the opening of flagship store Collier-Bristow.
The chic boutique now stocks both brands while the Fashion Dollz were also there to launch their own label, Thelma and Thelma showcasing luxury fur parkas, pom poms and fur hats.
We caught up with sisters -in-law Karla and Stephanie of The Fashion Dollz and Emma and Pippa to ask them all about their hectic schedule and plans for 2016...
Louise McLeod and Fashion Dollz are both based in Alderley Edge - what makes this such a fashionable place?
Pippa – Alderley Edge is definitely one of the most fashionable places in Cheshire. It has so many beautiful designer boutiques, cafes, trendy bars and top class restaurants, its full of energy and style. We’re so lucky, it’s a fantastic place to live and work.
Emma – Yes it’s a vibrant village, packed full of style and charisma. There’s always something going on, from champagne lunches to cool festivals, from fashion shows to concerts you name it. It’s probably one of the most fashionable places in the UK never mind Cheshire!
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Karla – Well for starters The Fashion Dollz and Louise McLeod do! I love Alderley Edge and the chic status it has, the village is crammed with trendy bars and restaurants, fashion boutiques and is surrounded by incredibly stylish people.
Does Alderley Edge inspire you in any way?
Pippa - There is so much magic, myth and legend surrounding Alderley Edge. Not many people know the stories behind the village, they think of WAGS, film crews, fast cars and designer bags but actually there is a mysterious charm and natural beauty which inspires us immensely.
Emma – I love the bustle of London Road, the people, the diversity in style, I could sit and watch all day. I love to draw inspiration from the people around me. But what I love the most is the way the village comes together for events such as the Mayfair or the Christmas lights switch on, it’s so inspiring.
Karla – Being a local girl I am extremely inspired by the local community and its surroundings. I have a very loyal, local and glamorous customer base here that have supported me from the beginning and I’ve built some amazing friendships on top of this. I feel very lucky to wake up every day and go to work doing what I love and most importantly providing a shopping experience my customers love.
Do you have any favourite places in the village?
Pippa – There are so many!! I love going for a walk up to ‘the edge’, the views across the Cheshire Plains and Peak District are just stunning - it’s a great place to go with the family. There are also some fabulous independent boutiques too like Ayla Rose, you must go and visit, it’s one of my favourite shops in the village and we were over the moon when they decided to stock Louise McLeod!!
Emma- I agree, the edge is everyone’s favourite place, it’s so peaceful. I also love the bars in the village - we have many working lunches discussing our new designs, answering emails etc, we were at the brand new Piccolinos the other day discussing our next adventure and we ended up booking our lunches there for the next month!
Karla - Yes it is nice to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of the high street and walk along the more laidback rural edge with the dogs, however when it’s time to pop open the bubbles my new favourite restaurant has to be the newly opened Piccolinos.
How did you all meet?
Emma – Pippa and I are sister in laws as well as best friends, we are married to two brothers. We got on really well from the start after realising a shared love for art and travel.
Pippa – Emma and I have a great relationship and absolutely love working together. We’ve known Karla for years and have struck up such an amazing business relationship as well as friendship since The Fashion Dollz launched earlier this year. The fashion Dollz ‘luxurious bohemian’ brands really complement our jewellery. We love collaborating with them.
Tell us about Louise McLeod jewellery? When did you start it and why?
Emma - We both love to travel and have travelled all over the world. We visited Miami together in January 2013 before going on to the Caribbean and fell in love with the city. We were looking for accessories that were diverse enough to be worn both at pool parties in the day and throughout the evening. We couldn’t find what we wanted and so decided to create our own pieces that are now recognizable as our brand.
Pippa – We launched our brand at Mahiki London as part of London Fashion Week in the February of 2014. Since the launch we have experienced an overwhelming amount of success with the brand growing rapidly. Seeing people wearing and enjoying our designs that we have put so much into is the ultimate compliment.
What’s new for 2016?
Pippa – We have so much going on at the minute, we are launching our new designs in February at Pure Fashion, London, the first of many trade shows, and we are popping up all over the country at some really exciting venues and boutiques. We have also recently re-branded, we wanted packaging and colours that were luxurious and distinct, our new colours are, white, rose-gold and slate.
Emma – Yes we have designed some stunning bangles and a beautiful limited edition tassel which is my new favourite, we have just received the samples they are beautiful, we can’t wait to see what people think.
You have a celebrity following don’t you? Can you tell us which famous faces we will see wearing Louise McLeod in 2016?
Emma – We have had a fantastic two years with celebrities. Fran Newman Young has been a huge fan, wearing many of our designs throughout the last year. Jennifer Metcalfe and Leah Hackett have also been seen wearing our pieces out and about and on the red carpet. Celebrity stylist Jodie Stringfellow has also used our pieces to style actresses Chelsea Healey and Helen Flanagan.
Pippa- We recently met a few other girls from Made in Chelsea who loved our jewellery so we will be sending them pieces soon, other celebrities have been in touch and will hopefully will be seen wearing Louise McLeod in 2016.
What’s the story behind the Fashion Dollz
Karla - I felt that there was a big gap in the market for an online platform in the UK selling local and international bridge brands; affordable but NOT compromising quality, for people of all ages, shapes and sizes.
Although it is online and I market heavily through social media (Instagram @thefashiondollz) where I post daily updates of stock, I also do a lot of pop-ups in and around Cheshire even reaching to London. It’s great to get the brand out there and my local followers can have a more personal shopping experience being able to feel and try the garments first. I have a lot of high profile clients that like to come to The Fashion Dollz HQ for a personal and private shop.
Tell us about your new range Thelma & Thelma
Karla - If having a platform of brands wasn’t enough we created our own brand too Thelma & Thelma. Firstly the name comes from Stephanie and I and our alter egos. We are Thelma and Louise….. but no one wanted Louise so Thelma and Thelma it is. For SS/16 expect sharp elegant styles and boho chic.
What are your favourite pieces - spring/summer collection
Karla - I’m too excited about SS/16, The Fashion Dollz are working very hard to bring you some amazing brands. We will be featuring elegant dresses by Nadine Merabi; For Love & Lemons, a brand for women that don’t follow trends, but make them; Boda Skins, the ultimate in leather jackets; One Teaspoon, known for denim; Blue Life for the free spirit bohemian and many more to come.
Do you have any other influences?
Karla - Yes for development I’m forever reading inspirational articles on business and success stories. A book I would highly recommend to all female entrepreneurs is Girl Boss, the bestseller about the life and story of a fashion entrepreneur and a guide to female empowerment.
You recently hit flagship store Collier Bristow on the King’s Road Chelsea, can you tell us a little bit more about the opening night?
Pippa – Collier Bristow is a beautiful boutique and we are so happy they decided to stock our jewellery.
Karla – It’s amazing to have a presence in London, especially on The King’s Rd. The opening night was great fun, packed full of fashionable people, celebrities, shopping and champagne! What more could you ask for!
Did you feel it was Cheshire takes on Chelsea?
Pippa – I love Chelsea! It’s so similar to Cheshire in many ways. It’s packed full of trendy bars restaurants and designer shops, we are so happy our jewellery is stocked at such a great boutique on King’s road! The girls are lovely and we hit it off straight away, in fact they are planning to head up to Alderley Edge to visit soon.
Emma – Cheshire and Chelsea are both affluent, trendy areas, with so much going on. It was so nice to meet the girls and they love Cheshire and can’t wait to come up and visit.
Karla – I am in London a lot with work and social life so it’s a great a privilege for The Fashion Dollz to be associated with London and Chelsea, the Hot Spot for trendsetters! Watch out Chelsea girls