After extensive research, Dianna Du officially launched her label, That Dress at Fashion Exposed last year and successfully filled the gap in the market for stylish formal and evening wear with a difference. At the time, there were only a handful of companies who created great designs with great prices.
While design and quality are crucial to the brand, keeping margins at an affordable minimum for her retailers was a top priority in competing with the online boutiques. “When we launched the brand, I felt that Australian retailers needed a greater competitive advantage in order to beat the ever increasing internet sales,” she says. “I do believe that at the end of the day, our bricks and mortar stores are here to stay, as formal and evening wear is quite unique.” Dianna believes that in order for a girl to look good, she must firstly feel comfortable in her dress and in order to do that, the dress must fit in all the right places. “There aren’t any sales people or fitting rooms to help customers make the best choice and choose the best fit when dresses are purchased online,” she says. “That’s why we have created beautiful, stylish dresses and supplied them at very competitive rates, so our retailers are able to comfortably sell our dresses at RRP $100-$350.”
We had a chat with Dianna about her global inspirations; how the design process works behind-the-scenes at That Dress; and where the name came from.
You are inspired by fashions from around the globe, can you tell us which inspire you the most? And why?
Absolutely everything! Everything and anything from the latest 69th Golden Globes Awards to my travels overseas. Travel and history are the biggest inspiration. Every country, place and destination is so unique, and with it comes unique culture, fashions and styles. I love looking back at the history of fashion as there is always something classic, sexy, fancy or just pure fascinating in the fashion of different eras. Our very popular Cleopatra dress was inspired from the big, chunky necklaces worn by Egyptian royalty.
When did you first start designing clothing? And was formal/evening attire always a passion? How did you get into it?
We contract a team of designers to design our dresses and this team changes and evolves over time. This ensures that our styles are always fresh and unique. I have aways had a passion for beautiful things..beautiful clothes, jewellery, shoes, handbags. I feel that evening wear is the epitome of luxury and all things beautiful, as there is always something beautiful happening when you are decked out in a gorgeous gown! I remember hiding behind the big velvet curtains in my old family home and wrapping it around me when I was a little girl, pretending that I was a princess getting ready for a ball – I think every girl loves being beautiful no matter what their choice of fashion is.
How did you come up with the name?
We were toying around with different names for the business and came up with really weird and fancy names..like rendezvous, wasabi, dark velvet (and all the names of different and exotic fruits!!). Then my husband said to me ‘why make it so complicated? How many people can spell most of these names properly? Why don’t you just make it really simple and easy to remember?” think about how other people think about your dresses, think about the hype and excitement at each new launch…which dress? That Dress. It’s short, succinct, easy to remember and identifies and highlights your business with two simple words.
You are about to exhibit at Fashion Exposed Sydney, why did you choose this platform to launch your line of formal dresses? What do you hope to achieve by exhibiting?
Fashion Exposed Sydney is where we launched That Dress. Its a fantastic platform to launch our line as its the largest expo in the fashion industry, and we know that there will be buyers from all over Australia as well as our Kiwi neighbours looking at our collections.
As we are quite a new brand, it also established our branding position and brand recognition in the market place. We hope to re-connect with our existing stockists, and of course, to create many more contacts and potential new stockists, and many other important contacts within the industry and of course, to increase brand recognition. The feedback from buyers and visitors at Fashion Exposed is also extremely valuable for us.
What is in store for the That Dress brand in 2012?
Think Glamour, Hollywood, Sexy and Fun. We are also very focused on market expansion as we would like to take on more valuable stockists, and cover more of Australia and New Zealand. We are, however, quite selective of our stockists, as we give our stockists exclusivity in their suburb/area… That’s why we are focused on attracting good quality stockists to represent us, so that our brand expands healthily and reputably.
Any other news you’d like to share?
We are very excited to announce the much anticipated Vol. 3 at Fashion Exposed Sydney. Watch this space.