Summer has arrived, and the weather appears to be on our side. My warm weather clothes have been brought out of hibernation and my trusty summer dresses are being worn on rotation. I love to invest in unique and timeless pieces which I keep and wear year after year and so it was on my search for a wearable, pretty and classic dress that I discovered Deborah Mistry and her brand Sugar Sand.
Sugar Sand is small sustainable resort wear brand which has been created from Deborah’s passion for Indian fashion and travel. I am so pleased to introduce you to Deborah in this At Home With Style Series – enjoy!
Sugar Sand is a celebration of all the things I love: summer, travelling to beautiful places, wearing white and pastel dresses, and Indian embroidery. I think holidays are amongst our most precious memories, and having a beautiful dress to wear on them only enhances the experience.
Describe your personal design style in 3 words?
Eclectic, feminine and creative
Favourite room in your home?
My son’s bedroom. Like all parents we put a lot of love into creating a tranquil space for him and originally went for a pale yellow and grey colour scheme with elephants and giraffes but I also included a few things that had been part of my childhood bedroom, like a little cross-stitch my sister made for me, and a tiny framed Stubbs print. With time of course he has made it his own space with lots of keepsakes like shells and souvenirs from our travels. We try and get him to keep his toys downstairs so that it doesn’t get too cluttered but it doesn’t always work! My favourite things are the gifts that have been made for him: both my sister and one of my friends did lovely paintings we have hung up and one of my Aunts made the most beautiful patchwork quilt which included pieces of one of his Great Grandmother’s shirt in it. I think that’s really why his bedroom feels so special: it’s full of things that have been made or given with love!
Deborah’s son’s bedroom filled with love and timeless treasures
What inspires you?
Travel and other cultures! My brand, Sugar Sand was inspired by my love of Indian fashion so I incorporate these beautiful embellished trims and details like pearl drops on neck ties that are like those you find on sari blouses. But there are pieces inspired by other places I have been to too, for example, my white and green Ile de Re dress was inspired by the white houses with green shutters that you find all over the island (plus it has a similar laid-back vibe to it).
Candy coloured beaded trims for her Sugar Sand collections handmade by Deborah
My home is also full of pieces I have collected on my travels as well as things I have made, like cushions from wax print cloth I bought back from Ghana. Unfortunately my husband has very different taste to me and really likes a minimal, Scandinavian look so sometimes our two styles can be a bit at odds together! We agree on a lot of the wall art though and it was his idea to get the scarves we wore to our Hindu wedding (which were symbolically tied together) framed. It hangs in the hallway and is one of my favourite things in the house!
Home is where the heart is – a beautiful framed picture of the marriage scarves worn on Deborah’s wedding day
Plans for the future of your business?
Sugar Sand has really moved at a snail’s pace as I went into it blind, with no experience of fashion, or, probably more importantly, marketing! It took me so long just to get my first sale. I am proud of the fact that I have never given up though and all I am really focussing on right now is trying to find more customers who will love the brand!
Having a very limited budget for sampling, I have always kept my collections small and simple, with only a couple of different fabrics. In the future, I would love to be more adventurous, maybe introduce a subtle print, and perhaps some silk pieces. I did my first pop-up shop in London this summer, but it would be amazing to do a pop-up in a beach location somewhere in Europe one day too!
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