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Tanya Sarne: The Queen’s Choice

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Here on La Moda, we interact with many personalities that inspire us to do better in our chosen craft. And recently, the inspiration has taken us to a higher level of pride and aspiration as we reached a recipient of the Officer of the Order of British Empire (OBE) award.

If you’re British, you know that you did something great – excellent, actually – in your career when you receive such honours from your Queen. That’s why it is indeed our privilege to interview Tanya Sarne whose name was part of Her Majesty’s New Year’s list, being recognised for her remarkable contributions to the fashion industry.

The famous fashion designer, who once acted in films as well, will be handed her physical award during the Queen’s birthday in June. She is known for her fashion label Ghost that offered effortless, unstructured pieces during the ‘90s, and soon became the pre-cursor to the revolutionised boho look. Her style has always been feminine, chic and of modern British luxury, with her very own specially developed fabrics.

Gracious as she is, Tanya Sarne shares with us her thoughts about receiving OBE, and about her new fashion label Handwritten(which is currently stocked in UME, a boutique located at the avant garde yacht area in Dubai Marina).

Congratulations on the prestigious OBE. It’s a major achievement. So, how do you feel about this award? Does this make you reflective of your career?

I am thrilled to have received an OBE. It is recognition for all the hard work I have put in over many years, and for my contribution to UK Fashion and Exports. I am very excited to meet the queen again and will certainly say a big thank you to her.

Given your award, what do you think are your strongest contributions in the industry?

My strongest contribution has been to develop a group of fabrics which are sensuous, machine washable and have natural stretch. They make any women feel and look beautiful.

You’ve been in fashion for around 30 years. What keeps you going? What do you love most from being part of this industry?

I keep going because I love fashion. I love the varied work- the building up of collection, the excitement and thrills of fashion shows and the pleasure I get when a women tells me how happy I have made her, and how my clothes make her feel feminine and confident.

On another hand, what do you hate most from the industry?

I sometimes dislike the superficial side of the industry when a fashion person goes super silly over a colour, hair style or a shoe. The industry can also be frustrating because so many things can go wrong between designing the first beautiful dress and delivering hundreds of them.

Because of your disappointments, have you ever felt like giving up? How do you battle the hardships?

Of course I have felt like giving up at times. One is only as good as ones last collection and not all of my collections have been good, but I am determined and will never give up even if I feel like it.

Being a major player in global fashion for decades now, what major changes have you come upon over the years? How do you look at the future of the industry?

When I began the fashion centre’s were Paris, Milan and London. New York was just beginning. I could sit in my little studio in west London and buyers would come from all over the world. Now nearly every country has their own designers and fashion week there is much more competition and far too much product. There were no websites or huge e-commerce sites. As people have busier and busier lives I think more people will buy online and less at retail shops.

Tell us more about Handwritten. What made you decide to launch the line? How different is it from Ghost?

After I sold Ghost I thought about writing a book, but the time wasn’t right and I couldn’t stay away from fashion. The people who brought Ghost did not stay true to my concepts so I started “Handwritten” which is essentially a continuation of ghost but fresher and younger.

Last question: What advice can you give to budding designers?

I would say to a would-be designer that he or she must LOVE fashion, be prepared to work consistently hard, develop common sense, and get rid of the ego.

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