A Brand That Means Business
In a fashion climate where many design houses are tightening their belts, Caroline Sills is comfortably expanding hers. It’s no mean feat to stay relevant and in demand in the world of fashion, so to be able to say that you have been in business for more than 35 years is a wonderful achievement. Even more fabulous is to be able to say that over the last five years you have added to your core business – in this case the signature brand of Caroline Sills now has diffusion label Sills, and little sister Isaac + Lulu. In addition the label has opened a succession of physical stores, expanding throughout New Zealand.
When Caroline Sills first hit the fashion scene, the brand was mainly known –and revered – for its knitwear collections. Now, however, it’s fair to say that the label is as diverse as it is delightful. Of course the knitwear side of things continues to be pivotal, but far from remaining entrenched in its roots, the label has moved with the ebb and flow of fashion, yet always remained loyal to its core values. Initially it was the stylish knitwear that Caroline produced in the mid to late 80s that caused a stir. At a time when disposable fashion was just started to nosey into the market, Caroline Sills flew in the face of everything else that was happening, and positioned herself in the opposite direction. She brought to the market classic, sophisticated styles crafted from beautiful luxurious yarn. Timeless, and styled to complement a woman’s curves, the aim was to produce something that placed value on quality. Bizarrely, for a designer, it wasn’t the extremes of the more gaudy and gauche fashion of this era that were as much of a gamble as the more practical, stylish knits that Sills spearheaded. But the risk paid off, and the label has become woven into the fabric of New Zealand fashion.
Sills Somerset Spot Cardigan $123.60, Sills Somerset Cardi $115.60, Sills Hamstead Cable Sweater $107.60, Sills Highgate V Neck Sweater $119.60
Caroline Sills continued to forge ahead, and in an industry where the saying ‘stick to your knitting’ has never been more apt, Caroline and her husband and business partner Lloyd, continued to challenge the mainstream. In a competitive global market, rather than pulling back, the brand did the exact opposite, and instead chose to branch out. So while their styles won over customers with their traditional lux, the business continued to be innovative and daring. The core base of knitwear gradually extended into clothing, and working from the same pattern where quality and timeless sophistication is key, their garments strike a chord of both stylish and on trend, without being transient.
Sills Wimbledon Tee $107.60, Sills Aldgate Stripe Polo $119.60, Sills Southfields Sweater $103.60, Sills Brixton Sweater $95.60
Part of the growth and expansion has been due to the addition to the new generation of the Sills family, daughters Toni and Christina, as well as the design skills and innovation of head designer Ange Todd. While the original Sills brand continues to personify Caroline, the diffusion brand of Caroline Sills and the Isaac + Lulu label have an on- point and slightly more edgy feel that a new eye has brought to the table. Still sticking to the same core values of quality and timelessness, there is femininity, a youthfulness, and a va va voom to these brands that has shot them to the forefront of the fashion lovers look book. Diverse – absolutely, but bound by the ability to make the wearer feel absolutely fabulous.
Isaac + Lulu Ella Sweatshirt $99.60, Isaac + Lulu Delfina Sweatshirt $107.60, Isaac + Lulu Clara Reversible Polo $91.60, Isaac + Lulu Isabella Stripe Sweater $87.60
Please note links to all the products featured in this article are in the text below the images. The prices displayed are accurate for the date this blog was posted and may be changed after this date.
Written By Nicky Adams