Sen Wye; these girls really know their 90s. Charlotte Macke and Holly Keepfer, two friends who met at university, launched the brand a few years ago with the ambition of translating the iconic 90s style into a modern and wearable fashionable brand. It’s almost like they have gone back in time, stolen the essence of the era and and then injected it into all their designs… they do it that well.
With the rise of throwaway 90s replica pieces, there has been a gap in the market for a luxury brand that could do the era justice, and this is where Sen Wye has delivered. Each one of their three collections has been timeless, minimalistic yet feminine and always made with the quality of fabrics and construction in mind. Macke and Keepfer want their garments to last throughout the years and make sure their customers know they are getting high quality pieces.
Their latest S/S15 collection is a concoction of dreamy pastel colours, silver metallics and effortlessly sexy shapes and silhouettes that capture the ‘Kate Moss circa 1991’ style in a nutshell. And let’s just say, the whole collection is to die for. From the stark white drain pipe pants with only a zip from the belly button down to the baby pink two piece boob tube and skirt, we want it all. Not only are the aesthetics beautiful, their wide range of fabrics and textures add to the unity of the collection. Silky, shiny, matte and sequins are combined to basically to produce garments that every single 90s baby is going to want on their body this summer.
We caught up with the geniuses (yes I said it), to find out a little bit more about them and the philosophy of Sen Wye…
So where did this all begin?
Holly: Having a conversation on our way to a lecture one depressing morning. From the idea of starting a brand together this actually formed several years later……looking back is quite surreal to see how far we both have come.
How did you two meet and what was your first impression on each other?
Charlotte: We met studying fashion design with marketing in London 9 years ago. A mutual friend had convinced me to go out one night with Holly and a few girls, I thought she was nice but that her dress was way too short.
Holly: My first memory of Charlotte is her getting told off by our pattern cutting teacher for chatting away at the back of the class.
If you girls were not working as fashion designers, what would you be doing?
Holly: Marine Biologist
Charlotte: Environmental researcher
What does Sen Wye mean and how do you pronounce it?
Charlotte: Sen is short for the river Seine that runs through Paris, where I am originally from. The river Wye runs through Chepstow, Holly’s hometown in Wales.
Holly: It’s pronounced “Why” not ”We,” which a lot of people tend to pronounce wrong.
How many collections have you had now? Do you have a fav?
Holly: We are going into our 5th collection AW15.
Charlotte: Our newest collection is always our favourite until we get started on the next one.
What’s your star sign?
Your latest collection is really Kate Moss-esque, what was your inspiration the latest collection?
Holly: Our seasonal references mostly come from detailed research into the mid – late 90s from runway to magazine articles/shoots, a particular muse of the time /now.
You use so many beautiful fabrics, what are your preferred textures to work with?
Charlotte: We love working with embroidery and embellishment. Its always pour initial point of research.
Why is your design aesthetic so 90’s? Can we sense a little child nostalgia?
Both: For us we look to the era and its timeless, classic yet modern forms. We like referring back to it for mood and silhouettes.
It fits well with our style and aesthetic. It does bring us back to when we were growing up but we feel the SEN WYE women, brand essence is more mature in style.
What do you miss in the fashion industry?
Holly: The Face magazine
What are three trivial facts about yourself?
Holly: My great great ancestors were German clock makers and jewellers. Keepfers clocks are still found but very rare antiques.
Charlotte: I am freakishly good at climbing things like buildings and trees & I am ½ French, ¼ English, 1/8 Vietnamese, 1/8 Polish.
You’ve really made your mark being stocked by Opening Ceremony, how did that come about?
Charlotte: We sent them our first look book which resulted in the head buyer Carol getting in touch. When myself and Holly lived in NY 5 years ago we would go in Opening Ceremony and only dream of having our own label stoked in there one day.
What is your favourite look from your latest collection?
Holly: White boxy cropped zip front jacket, maxi long zipped front skirt with the matching bustier.
Whats your favourite thing about London?
Holly: Tinas Coffee shop – Dalston/ Retro Women – Notting Hill / Tonkotsu Ramen – Soho
Charlotte: Towpath café on the canal for people watching, Mangal on Arcola street for Turkish food , London Fields Lido for an early morning swim, Franks rooftop in the summer for drinks.
What did you do for your last birthday?
Charlotte: We both went to watch the gypsy kings play in an old bullfighting Arena in the south of France.
If you could ever live somewhere else, where would it be?
Both: Houston Texas
Who are your style icons?
Holly: No style icons as such but pretty obsessed with the supermodels looks from 90s era.
What are your 3 things on your bucket list?
Holly: Achieve a globally recognised clothing brand, Learn to meditate……you need this with this job, Spending my birthday which is on independence day in the states.
Charlotte: Achieve a globally recognised clothing brand, Build my own eco friendly house, Drive through America and hopefully get to stay with Cowboys.
What do you want to achieve with your brand? Next steps for the future?
Holly: The next step is for SEN WYE to be introduced to more stockists globally.
If you could give a new designer advice on what to be aware when you start a fashion brand, what would you say?
Holly: Like any start up business there will be a lot of hard graft and learning in the early days.. You really have to love what you do to make it work. The results when great are so much more rewarding when its your own.
Charlotte: Make sure to write up a good business plan before you start anything. Identify your unique selling point, consumers and competitors. Be clear on how you want to establish yourself as a brand.
Black or white?
If you could choose just one meal you would need to eat for the rest of your life. What would it be?
Charlotte: Grilled fish and salad. I love Mediterranean food.
Same question but with items of clothing?
Holly: A great pair of well fitting, quality high wasted denim jeans.
Charlotte: Our long midi wrap satin skirt and high neck Angora crop top look from SS13.
If you were an Emoji, which one would you be?
Holly: The red wine one.
Charlotte: The martini one.
Check out the girls stuff at: Sen Wye
All photography by: Amber Grace Dixon
Tags90s, Britain, Charlotte, Designers, fashion, Holly, Luxury, Sen Wye,