Welcome to the new brand Belladonis! A product of our GFW22 alumni and a collaboration between Charlie Orr-Ewing and William Kerr. Continue reading to learn more…

What was the inspiration starting point for Belladonis?

BELLADONIS is a couple owned queer-run fashion brand. Birthed from the desire of making luxury event wear accessible and inclusive to the queer community, celebrating queer joy through the expression of the wearer.

Steeped in Greek mythology, the brand sources inspiration from the mystery and metamorphosis that connects with the stories and history of the queer community. Retelling these key stories with the brands imprint through the partnership of traditional techniques and 3D technology to create bespoke artworks depicting queer imagery and through the visual transformation of the collection.

Our aim is to make a conscious connection between consumer and product by making everything made-to-measure to be fully inclusive for the wearer, and to be part of the crucial movement towards slow fashion.

Having been a couple for 4 years before starting the brand, we decided to start Belladonis so that not only could we cater to the queer community but also because, after Will had worked in the fashion industry for a few years, had decided to be part of the crucial movement towards slow fashion as well as being able to create products that we are truly passionate about.

What were some challenges that you faced so far and how did you overcome these?

Having to tackle all aspects of a fashion brand and not just the design and production. Since starting the design and production has been the least of our worries and taken up the least of our time. The business, legal and marketing has been our biggest challenge as it is something we have little experience in. To overcome this we have sought help where ever possible, we are fortunate to have received mentorship from university lecturers and organisations like the Growth Hub. With experts guiding us we have been learning all these skills along the way. Although it has been overwhelming it is rewarding to take it on ourselves learning new skills all the time.

What skills did you learn and develop during the brand’s startup?

Given our initial lack of knowledge and experience in start-up business we have had a lot of opportunity to learn. A lot of our skills have come in the form of knowledge about new areas, including the legalities of running a business and handling customer data and selling products. We also did a digital springboard course where we had in introduction to how online marketing and ranking which allowed us to create our own website which we are proud of.

We have also had some great opportunities organising and creating content as well as producing collabs with other talented artists from the queer community however it’s still a learning process, with online marketing and reach.

What are your plans for the future of Belladonis?

Belladonis launched at the end of 2022, so our current career aspirations are to become an established brand in Manchester amongst our target audience, and eventually reaching a national and international audience. We are also aiming to create more commercial products that create us a more reliable revenue stream whilst balancing this with our more exciting commissions and press pieces. Currently we have only had commission work which is higher price point but more sporadic and unreliable.

Are there any messages or major themes in your brand that you want people to take away?

Queer celebration and joy through the authentic expression of the wearer, for us the pieces we create are to invoke joy and confidence in the wearer, making them feel empowered, celebrated, and represented. Through the visual story telling of the brand we also want to represent metamorphosis and change, concepts often shown in mythology, that we feel resonate with the queer community.

As well as this we also want to be part of the important change towards slow fashion, making quality garments, often made to order, that help people feel connected to the people and processes behind the product.

Check out their and here!