British Fashion Designer
Rachel Mahony is a British fashion designer known for her feminine and embellished eveningwear dresses. She founded the brand Aloura London in 2014 with a business partner but has now gone solo and is launching her debut collection of embellished designs in 2023. The new collection has more of a focus on ready to wear styles and includes tailoring and resort wear. Every garment represents Rachel’s passion for detailed hand stitched embroideries and follows the concept of slow fashion which is more sustainable.
When did you want to be a Fashion Designer?
From a very young age I had a strong interest in art, such as painting and drawing – always creating the school displays and would be excited to do any project that required being artistic. At secondary school during my art classes I became close to a friend who was doing Art Textile and she actually inspired me to transfer my passion of fine art and combine it with my love for fashion.
I went on to study an Art and Design Foundation at London College of Fashion, where they prepare you before your BA degree with the knowledge and skills to be successful in the art and fashion industries as it covered many pathways. Being in an art school really made me feel alive and excited and I couldn’t imagine myself doing any other job.
What is it like being in the fashion industry?
The Fashion industry is vibrant, dynamic and full of passionate people who love what they do. It is inspiring for me to be around people on a daily basis who love what they do and it feels very rewarding.
How is the fashion industry in England?
England and especially the capital London has so many creative individuals that makes the fashion industry quite varied, fun but also competitive. With the introduction of social media, I feel like many people have the opportunity to start their own label and be able to promote it themselves and be successful– which is great but it means more competition within the industry.
What was your first job in fashion?
My first job in fashion was when I was 15 and I worked in a bridal boutique in my local village. I would help with customers and do dress fittings and store orders. In my spare time I would often do sketches of designs of wedding dresses – I was really obsessed with eveningwear gowns and the delicate embroideries on the dresses as I see it as wearable artwork. From there I went onto
doing internships at many established fashion houses and magazines such as Burberry, McQueen, Celine and British Vogue before starting my first womenswear brand Aloura London.
Talk about the changes in your life since you have started your own label?
When you have your own brand, you are required to work every day and at all times, you really can’t switch off as you have to be available to take calls and reply to emails at every hour due to time differences and customer requests. However, I feel it is very rewarding to start something of your own and I love to be able to travel for work and meet really interesting and passionate people who also share the same interests.
How do you choose inspiration?
I find inspiration in everything I do – from watching the television and seeing inspirational outfits or ideas from a series and also just in everyday life and my surroundings. I love feminine beauty and delicate details and I take photos of almost everything I find of interest. I create albums of my inspiration and then stitch embroidery samples from this and see what looks best. I like the design aesthetic to flow throughout the collection.
In one word, how would you define yourself as a designer?
What advice would you pass along to those starting in the Fashion Business?
I would advise going to a university that specialises in fashion subjects to learn in detail about the area of fashion you wish to progress a future in – if you are unsure, the universities offer foundation courses where you can learn a variety of skills or short courses. From there I would try and establish your niche – the fashion industry is very competitive so you need to have a unique product that will get noticed if you want to start your own brand. I would also recommend getting as much experience as possible from interning at established brands so you have a clear understanding of the process of how to get the product designed, manufactured and then marketed. If you have the right work ethic, determination and a good idea it is possible to succeed.