Hussy is the Australian brand known for its sexy, modern aesthetic and feminine, flirty details and Greek fashion designer Marie Ritchie is the creative mind behind the label.
Speaking to Neos Kosmos, Marie sheds some light on her journey through the fashion industry and her passion for design. Marie’s fascination with design started at an early age; she showed a natural talent, going on to study fashion and work in the industry before starting the Hussy label in 1995.
“When I decided to start Hussy, I was only 21 . Looking back, I wonder how I did it. There were lots of expensive mistakes and I learnt a lot as I went – luckily you have a lot of energy at that age,” she says. The industry has changed a great deal since the mid ’90s and the Hussy label also evolved and adapted to changes in both the industry and consumer behaviour.
“We are growing very organically and at a very manageable pace,” says Marie. “I’m very happy with the way it’s going. We’ve opened our newest boutique in Westfield Sydney and it’s a beautiful store that offers a great experience for our customers.”
Having been in the business for 17 years, Marie has seen a real shift in consumer behaviour. “We have always been focused on providing great customer service, but we have still noticed a change. In the past, customers would come in and spend lots of money and really spoil themselves, but that doesn’t happen as much these days.” As consumers are tightening their belts, the Hussy label has evolved to meet their needs.
“We’ve had to evolve as a brand and explore different fabrications and embellishments in order to make our label more accessible and affordable. Customers don’t want to feel guilty about spending,” Marie explains.
But how does Marie feel about treating ourselves to a shopping splurge? “Personally, I believe that shopping makes you feel good and I’m not sure what everyone is saving for! I think that now is the time to nurture yourself, to get back out there and look great.”
Marie is proud that Hussy has remained a boutique label. “Our stuff isn’t cheap or shabby and it’s not something that everyone else has. We produce very small numbers in a broad range of colours and styles; it’s more exclusive that way. I think people need to become individuals again and celebrate not looking like everyone else.” Hussy also enjoys an enthusiastic following from the Greek community. “We have a lot of Greek fans,” says Marie.
“In fact, most of our top VIP clients are Greek. I think it’s because Greeks have a lot of wonderful functions to go to – weddings, engagements, christenings – and we are one of the few cultures that still spends a lot of money on these celebrations. We love to look our best, we enjoy getting dressed up for events and put a lot of effort into what we wear.”
In the coming weeks, the Hussy label will expand with the launch of the Little Hussy range for girls aged 1-4. The range will be sold in Hussy stores (and online at www.hussy.com.au) and features Hussy’s grown-up colours and prints in very cute and wearable kids shapes. Hussy’s current collection, Enchanted, features beautiful dresses, playsuits, prints and bright colours. Marie says her inspiration for these looks is an enchanted forest.
“A place where magic happens, where fairies can come alive – it’s a very whimsical collection with a strong fairytale element.” Marie identifies some of the key trends from the collection. “The one-shoulder look is still very strong,” she says. “It always sells well and offers a very flattering yet edgy shape. Colour is also very intense this season.” The collection is dotted with eye-popping shades of jade greens, electric blues, apricots, purples, lilacs and watermelons, beautiful colours that “really flatter the skin”. “Prints are also big this season [Hussy is known for prints]. Look out for them on beautiful flowing maxi dresses, which look really elegant with either flats or heels.
“Jumpsuits are also on the radar and we always include them in our collection. Our Dandelion jumpsuit fits really well and is incredibly flattering.” Marie’s fashion advice is simple: “Go out and make yourself feel good; look hot and have an experience. A great outfit builds confidence and allows you to be and feel like anyone you want to be.”