Every now and then, you come across a fashion brand that’s different to all the rest. They’re few and far between, but Delta of Phoenix is certainly one of them.
If you’re wondering why, even the briefest glimpse of the Delta of Phoenix online shop is enough to show you. In a world packed full of fast fashion brands and copycat designs, the sustainable fashion brand’s garments are striking and unique. The latest collection, Priscilla consists of handmade organza tiered midi dresses and matching gloves in a selection of cotton candy colours, while previous collections offer gingham dresses with shirring details, organza tops and skirts with kitsch bows and cherry-printed pieces.
It comes as no surprise that Francesca Newman, the talented womxn behind the brand, graduated with a First from Plymouth College Of Art in 2016, before going on to launch the label in 2019. Now she works full-time on Delta of Phoenix from her London studio, sourcing local fabrics, designing, altering, pattern cutting, sewing, labelling, steaming and packing her pieces for her customers.
Francesca is also passionate about sustainability, using eco-aware fabrics and trims for her garments and ensuring they leave no waste. She designs and makes accessories with the left over fabric, including scrunchies and face masks.
As part of Wear Next’s Meet The Maker series, I spoke to Francesca about what inspires her beautifully feminine designs, the creating process and what’s next for Delta of Phoenix. Catch us speaking to Francesca live on Instagram this Thursday at 6.30pm here.
Constantina ~ Blue Gingham Shirred Bandeau Top, £33 – buy now
Hi Fran! When did you launch Delta of Phoenix and what inspired you to do so?
Delta Of Phoenix was just my dream until about a year and a half ago, when I went full-time. I guess you could call it a literal dream come true.
What inspires your designs?
I’m just totally obsessed with colour, which usually dictates the collection’s initial visuals, and of course there’ll always be an element of meraki within my designs (what I adore at the time, visual inspo from surrounding splendid things). Delta’s signature silhouettes are zero-waste patterns, so the sustainability within my brand will decide the garment shapes.
What’s been the biggest pinch me moment since you started the brand?
Woah so this is super tricky ~ as a start-up every moment is new, all lil’ pinch-me moments. However, if I had to choose the first that came to mind, being a part of the dreamy Fassion UK pop-up in Boxpark Shoreditch was super wonderful.
How long does it take you to cut and sew a Delta of Phoenix item?
It depends of the garment of course, but a lil’ Constantina top will take a couple hours, and a Priscilla will take six hours. Then as I offer bespoke garments (both in design and measurement), I also have to factor in this extra time to help the customer create their dream bespoke, or create a whole new unique pattern, which could be between 20 mins and 2 hours extra. I have no employees to help, one-womxn biz still.
Fragola ~ Pink Gingham Face Mask, £10 – buy now
R: Pesca Fresca ~ Pink Gingham Midi Dress, £160 – buy now
Why do you think small, sustainable brands like yours are so important to the fashion industry now?
I think there are a couple of elements to this. Firstly, of course, we HATE fast fashion as a generation due to all the horrendous practices that take place, the unfair treatment of workers, and the unsustainable and wasteful element to mass-produced garments.
Secondly, I think there has been a total surge in bespoke garments you adore that have been made with love. Small brand designs tend to have a brighter bolder design edge, which is totally desirable to those who curate their wardrobes.
Small brands have a say-so in sustainability, such as where they source their fabrics.
What are your dreams for the brand’s future?
Omg I can’t even ~ I’ve been so shook already. I did read a quote recently, something along the lines of, ‘If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.’
So, for the rest of 2021 I’m going with the flow and really looking forward to launching at least two more collections, Summa ’21 and Goth ’21. I’ve got a couple of out-of-this-world collaborations on the cards too.
For 2022, gonna go BIG! Watch this space <3
Who would you love to see wearing one of your pieces?
I always get asked this ~ so my top 2 are always, Lizzo and Aureta. Lady Gaga, of course, is a total icon.
What’s the hardest aspect of running your business?
Maybe the one-womxn biz element, as there’s a lot on your shoulders at all times. It’s totally worth it, but I have to set ‘time-off’ time. It’s not 100% lonely though, I totally adore collaborating and working with other creatives, and Delta wouldn’t be where it is today without these dreamy people.
Which other brands and creators inspire you?
I really adore loads of small brands and wouldn’t be able to name them all – all I can say is I’ve never met a small-brand owner who was a bad egg, and all of us inspire in different ways!
BESPOKE ~ Forest Short Envy ~ Priscilla Dress, £160 – buy now
Envy ~ Gloriosa ~ Priscilla XXX Shirred Opera Gloves, £47 – buy now
What advice would you give any other creatives looking to start their own business or brand?
I would say: SEEK WHAT SETS YOUR SOUL ON FIRE
It can be super tricky don’t get me wrong, as 50% of the time nothing goes to plan, but it’s the most wonderful luxury to not be dreading work on a Sunday evening.
How has your attitude to your business changed during the pandemic? Have you felt more driven to succeed?
I think so? It’s so hard to tell as it’s just part of our life now. I had more time to focus solely on Delta, but at the same time the world was on pause, so the usual flurry of shoots/collabs/events weren’t on the calendar.
Join us on Instagram on Thursday 15th July at 6.30pm BST, where we’ll be talking to Fran LIVE. Find us at @wearnextuk.