Post 5: Fashion Designers – Sass & Bide

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From their humble beginning in Brisbane, the girls of Sass & Bide are now Australian Icons in the Fashion Industry.

The label was founded in the late 90’s when Sarah-Jane Clarke (Sass) and Heidi Middleton (Bide) started buying jeans and modifying them, selling at London’s Portobello Road markets. With their love of vintage, East London was the perfect platform for the girls to start their fashion label. The sense of free-spirited confidence and contradiction defined their personal sense of style and provided the inspiration for their denim collection, ‘East Village Hipster’. The collection was hugely successful and within two years, Sass & Bide expanded into seasonal ready-to-wear clothing.

Little did they know how big they were about to become…..

 In a fortunate coincidence in 2002 whilst in New York, they came across the set of Sex & the City. Middleton handed her self-styled denim jacket to the security guard who gave it to Sarah Jessica Parker. She loved it and invited the girls back the next day to view their whole range. Parker later commissioned Clarke and Middleton to make a few one-off pieces for Sex and the City. I can only image how much of a ‘dream come true’ moment this would have been!

In 2008 they designed a denim range for TopShop, a British store equivalent to Sportsgirl, but on a much grander scale. The likes of Stella McCartney & Kate Moss have also design rangers for TopShop.

The Ladies first appeared on the BRW Young and Rich list in 2006 with a combined wealth assessed at A$30m. Not bad for starting at the markets!

In 2003, Clarke and Middleton sold 50% of Sass & Bide to past owners of the Mimco accessories chain, Daniel Besen and David Briskin, with Briskin taking up the role as chief executive.

In early 2011, Australia chain, MYER purchased a 65% stake in the label for A$42.25m

Clarke & Middleton still remain creative directors of the company, and are very much hands on with designing the ranges. They are currently stocked in over 20 countries. The ranges are available at premium boutiques & exclusives department store worldwide.

They are opening their first flagship store in New York in 2013.

 Sara-Jane’s strategies for success

1. Think big, have a clear vision.

2. Be curious.

3. Be adaptable.

4. Follow your instinct.

5. Continue learning every day




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