Yasmin Sewell, the portentously powerful consultant behind the rising prominence of British fashion, has finally set her sights on America. “I just decided tonight that I’d love to move to New York, but don’t make it official!” she said at last week’s launch of Paper Mache Tiger, a London-based fashion sales and marketing agency that just opened its first showroom in the U.S.
The 36-year-old chief creative consultant at London’s Liberty department store has an infallible eye for forecasting next-level talent: she was an early champion of Christopher Kane, pushed J.W. Anderson to branch into womenswear, and introduced the world to now-famed designer Rick Owens.
These days, the Australian-native is teaming up with her husband, Kyle Robinson, as partner and director to fashion distribution agency Paper Mache Tiger. Wearing high-waisted, acid-wash jeans and bouncy black curls tucked behind her ears, Sewell explained her game plan: “The kind of brands [Paper Mache Tiger] represents — contemporary, affordable, with a point of view — will work really well in America.”
The party was celebrating London-based Peridot and Melbourne-based Alpha 60, two brands that, to Sewell, exemplify precision and quality. “I think it’s very hard to find a collection that’s really well made, hitting all the right points in terms of what you want to wear,” she said of Peridot, a label founded in 2009 by Rachel Wilson. “[Peridot] is sophisticated dressing, but it’s also price-pointed really well. It looks like it could be a $1,000 jacket, for example, but actually, it’s a $500 jacket. It ticks every box; the aesthetic is understated and chic and very relevant for now.”
Meanwhile, Alpha 60, an under-the-radar boutique streetwear label designed by brother and sister duo Alex and George Cleary, is another label Sewell is personally championing. “I think they’re what people want to wear right now,” she said. “Their pricing is great, you don’t see it around a lot, and that’s refreshing.” For Sewell, price-points, especially the lower ones, seem to resonate. “I appreciate, in the right way, good commercial fashion that is different,” she said. “I’m not saying basics, I’m saying a great item that you don’t have to think about too much, that’s not going to set you back a grand. I respect that, and when you can get that right, with the right level of quality…” she trailed off, before adding, “It doesn’t have to be luxury to be good.”
For Sewell, a street style star who is frequently photographed wearing designers like Proenza Schouler and Saint Laurent, this eschewing of luxury goods seems kind of surprising – if not slightly incredulous. But Sewell is a businesswoman first, a clotheshorse second. “I love luxury,” she said. “But I can also appreciate a great brand that’s hitting the right point and that knows its customers, and knows the price point to make it sell. It’s great to have a brand that sells! I would like to have a brand that’s on everyone’s back, that’s success.”