A moment with Summer Solstice designer, Amy Golesorkhi
“I want my collection to represent the amazing moments that I experienced during my trips. “
I’m in a crowded pub in Soho with Amy Golesorkhi, a designer from London who has just launched her first collection. At 22. Summer Solstice is a collection of colorful patterns and cool and comfortable materials inspired by Amy’s travels through Asia. The uni-sex designs are perfect for your festival and party wardrobe but work just as well on the beach. The brand caters for the fashionable with a price that matches your wallet and with a strong sense of responsibility for ethical trading.
So, how did you get started? The idea behind Summer Solstice came to me in a dream. I’m not joking! It was in January this year and I was on Koh PhanganIsland in Thailand, staying in a bamboo bungalow. Here, I met Sophie - a fellow traveller. We became really good friends and I don’t think I would have set up Summer Solstice if it wasn’t for her unfaltering support, help and encouragement. I fully expected her to laugh at me when I told her my idea. After a few weeks spent sketching, planning and asking a lot of questions, I decided to literally ‘go for my dream’ and travelled to Bangkok to find manufacturers.
I visited Sampeng, a well-known jewellerymarket among locals who come here in the early mornings to find wholesale goods to sell at the tourist markets. I was in the completely wrong market but as it turned out, I was at the wrong place at the right time. At this market, I met a man who had names of suppliers and manufacturers for fabrics and clothing - which was exactly what I was looking for!
Summer Solstice is the longest day of summer and this year it took place on Saturday 21st June. Naturally, the launch took place on the same day. I spent most of the evening chatting to the guests. I planned the event along with an event organiser and I had been working day and night for weeks. The launch was incredible. We had photos of the collection hanging on the walls, lots of flowers and a backdrop with the Summer Solstice logo to make the event that bit extra special. It was an invite only event mainly for friends, family and the media but there were also a few guests who found Summer Solstice online and requested to attend – which was fantastic!
Has there been a lot of attention from the public? Definitely. Prior to the launch, we had had a few hundred visitors on Facebook, Twitter and on the website. After the launch, we had thousands. We have also started noticing a lot more traffic on the website and sales went up - it’s great to see that type of response following a launch.
What is the inspiration behind Summer Solstice? I drew inspiration from my travels. Thailand especially is a magical place for me, and I want my collection to represent the amazing moments that I experienced during my trips. I carried these ‘island vibes’ with me the whole time I travelled, a sense of higher being and greater understanding - feeling a little bit more down to earth.
Tell me more about your designs. We currently sell ready-to-wear clothing including t-shirts for men, crop-tops and leggings for women as well as unisex harem pants and accessories. All of the harem pants have been hand picked by myself from markets, shops and factories. These are available in a variety of colours with each pair sourced from a different factory. The t-shirts are printed using sublimation technology with designs that I sent suppliers in China.
It is essential that the clothes I make are comfortable as well as stylish. You should be able to use a piece on the beach as a cover up over a bikini and then head straight to the party afterwards (Amy herself was wearing one of her original crop tops during this interview). The crop tops and t-shirts are made from 100% cotton.
What about the accessories? We source the jewellery from manufacturers in Thailand who I have personally met.Some of these are ready made, I picked them from a catalogue. But the stone pieces, such as the rose stone pendant and the thai elephant bangles are all hand crafted and individually purchased from market traders.I’m attracted to sparkly things and I relay on my instincts. During one of my many visits to the markets, I saw a display of glittering gems, ran towards it and chose a selection of handmade rings. No two rings in our collection are exactly the same.
Considering the recent story about Primark’s use of workers in foreign countries, how important do you think it is to use good manufacturers? I have visited all of the Thai factories and have researched the company in China; they are an approved company and constantly stay in touch with updated photos of work in progress at the factory. It is important to me that we pay a fair amount of money for the materials that we request. We believe in ethical trading.
Your own brand at 22, that’s impressive! What’s the next step? All of the items are currently only sold via our web shop but I am in talks with selected boutiques and stores to make the collection more accessible, as well as expanding and offering a wider range of pieces.
Preparing, planning and creating this collection has been hard work, most of which I have done on my own, with the help of my family and friends. I’m looking towards winter and of course, winter solstice, but I can’t tell you much more than that at the moment….
Writer: Almara Abgarian