A taste of Sugarhill

Laura Cartledge talks flamingos, fashion faux pas and badgers in bowties with one Brighton brand.

One faux pas has not only become expected at a fashion headquarters in Brighton, it is accepted.
“Practically every other week two people will walk in wearing exactly the same outfit,” admits Stacey Saunders, “then it goes on Instagram and everyone finds it really funny.”
Stacey with the flamingo print topIn fact the Sugarhill Boutique and Poppy Lux staff have even been known to celebrate their love of the designs.
“One of the girls did try to get a pink day going but it never happened,” Stacey laughs, “maybe ‘mermaid Mondays’ could be a thing?”
However, outside of their offices, the quirky hand drawn designs and classic feminine shapes have proved popular because they stand out from the crowd.
“People are looking for something special and something different these days, they like that it is hand done and all in house,” agrees Stacey.
“We don’t want to swamp the market – our big stores are John Lewis and House of Fraser but in terms of smaller boutiques we make sure they have exclusivity in their area.”
So what is Stacey’s current wardrobe staple?
“I think the flamingos are great. It is quite kooky but it is versatile as well,” she reasons. “The colours complement each other well – the colour palette is something the designers work really hard on.”
AW Sugarhill Boutique 'Catrina White Feather Print Shirt' £36 & Mendi Scallop Hem Teal Skirt' £38The creations might range from zebra polka dot and ice-lolly flare dresses to beach scenes on powder blue cotton, but they all share the fact they look like everyday garments until you look closer.
Then they make you smile.
“Summer is always one of the most fun collections, we are inspired by the beach and with being in Brighton we get a lot of inspiration from our surroundings,” Stacey explains. “We take the trends into consideration but, because we have our own look, it starts with us.
“We don’t do beige, we don’t do plain,” she adds. “High summer is in stores at the moment and it has had a brilliant reaction, the flamingos print has sold really well and our exclusive mermaid print has been fabulous.
“The girls take that information on when they are designing the next one.”
While Stacey, who is head of sales, has only been with the company for two years she confesses ‘it feels like a lot longer because of the way the seasons work’.
As a self confessed summer girl – ‘I am one of the first people to get in my sandals and one of the last to get out’ – Stacey is in her element at the moment being surrounded by 2016’s offering and working on 2017’s which she whispers ‘is already looking great!’
AW Sugarhill Boutique 'Nita Dalmatian Jumper' £44 & 'Isolde Suedette Skirt' £39However her stand out moment so far was thanks to working on winter.
“One of the highlights for me was just after I started,” Stacey recalls. “We do an animal knitwear range and we were debating if the badger should have a bowtie or not.
“It was brilliant, I just sat back and thought ‘is this really work?’ It is a fab role and a fab company.”
Fun might run through the company as if it were thread, but there’s also a serious side.
“We want things to stand the test of time, to have a longevity to them,” Stacey reveals. “There is a culture of throwaway fashion and that is very much not what we are.
“The conversation patterns, where you wear it and people say ‘I like that’ or ‘that is funny’, is more important to use than trends.”
Looking ahead to autumn/winter there seems plenty to talk about.
The collection boasts 120 pieces and, in Stacey’s words, ‘a couple of different stories’.
“We have pegasus and toadstools going on the magical side, we have 60’s floral and force of nature which features thistles and feathers,” she enthuses.
“It is always great to get the reaction, we know what we like and we hope – after ten years – we know what the customers want, but it is always nice to have it confirmed.”

For more information on Sugarhill Boutique and Poppy Lux, and more styles, visit www.sugarhillboutique.com