How did you get the idea to start the brand in the first place?
I started the brand a few years back. Having found myself extremely frustrated not being able to find clothing that fit women. That was the first thought of why I wanted to do this.
And then how did you move it from the idea stage to launching a fully formed business?
The idea is that there is such a lack of properly fitting clothes for women and good equestrian clothes for women. Honestly I couldn’t find any. At the same time I was seeing it myself, I am talking to other women and everyone had the same problems, and the older equestrian brands, they weren’t trying to solve these issues. They are still pushing products onto the market – that are very masculine in shape and fittings that are just not designed for a woman, more for young girls.
What was your background and experience before setting out to build your own fashion brand?
I’ve always had an interest in fashion. But my interest in fashion has always been from an outsider’s perspective. I started MIASUKI not along after I graduated from university. I went to King’s College in London and studied Business Management. Not many people know this but I then tried to do an MA in Fashion Entrepreneurship at the London College of Fashion, but I never finished because I got sick. And then I was thinking what to do? And I had started to pick up riding again and from riding one thing led to another and I decided to do this. Because there was not a women-specific equestrian brand out there.
Am I right to think you started riding as an adult? That is quite unusual.
I started very late in my teens to overcome a fear of animals. Not just horses, all types of animals. I decided that I wanted to go riding to get rid of this fear. I just thought ‘How can I live with this fear of animals my whole life?’
Tell me about how you marry fashion with functionality?
Equestrian is such a niche. It has this heritage sartorial style that we’ve been made to think we have to follow. It makes meeting fashion and function even more difficult. If you look at the fashion market now, everything is sportswear. It’s not hard to makes sportswear fashion. But when you have to follow a specific sartorial dress code, its more difficult. However, we’ve been introducing new shapes and silhouettes into the MIASUKI collection 2019. I think we have really established ourselves as the number one luxury equestrian womenswear brand, while still honouring the heritage of the equestrian dress code. But I think it’s time to reinvent something too. We’ve designed a cape, in our new collection, we’ve designed the jackets with the belt on the outside, for example.
What is it like doing business as a young Asian female in a predominately man’s world?
I always joke that one day I am going to write a book and it’s going to be called Young Asian Female. Unfortunately, I think there are still a lot of stereotypes happening in the business place and being young, people immediately think certain things, and being Asian people often expect me to act in certain way. And of course being a female, we do have our own glass ceilings. Because I operate in the field of retail fashion, there are not many Asian faces. There is of course Vivienne Tam and Alexander Wang, it is still quite singular at the moment. And operating as an Asian female in Italy, it is not easy.