As with many game-changers in the fashion industry, it was Niall Sloan’s work behind-the-scenes that taught him the dedication and diligence that’s required to succeed at the top

Graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2006 with a Masters in Womenswear, Sloan went on to design for the likes of Burberry and Hunter. It was the contrast between the two brands’ aesthetics – the former’s traditional high-end luxury versus the latter’s laid-back ‘festival’ edge – that allowed Sloan to nurture his singular style of power dressing mixed with sophisticated insouciance. 

Now at the creative helm of ESCADA (a dream that Sloan has had since his days as a fashion student), the Northern Ireland-born designer is using his unique and playful vision to breathe new life into an iconic brand.

What's the mantra you tell yourself first thing in the morning? 
I’m a night owl: As such, there isn’t much of a mantra first in the morning... Other than “Get out of bed!” The bigger thinking comes later in the day.

How do you take your coffee? 
Black filter coffee – but I do love a cheeky afternoon cortado for that post-lunch-lull.

If you weren't doing what you're doing now, what would you be doing instead? I would be an actor or an entertainer: I always loved being in plays when I was a kid! It’s connecting with the audience that gave me the buzz, and the instant response and feedback to your work. To emotionally connect with other people, to make them feel, is amazing. Fashion still gives you a connection with your audience but, given the timeframes, the feedback loop is always more delayed.

If you could only keep one outfit in your wardrobe, which would it be? 
I tend to collect lots of different pieces that create endless combinations rather than full outfits – although, I do have this fun, navy ‘pyjama set’ that I love! It has beautiful line drawings of dancing men on it... Plus, I once wore it to a friend’s wedding and have such happy memories of that day.

Who's one person you'd love to have dinner with? 
I’d enjoy dinner with Margaretha Ley, the Founder of ESCADA; I would love to hear what motivated her and made her tick. It would be fun to hear what she makes of what we are doing with the brand today. (I’ve also heard that she was a great laugh!)

What's the main thing you would like to achieve this year? 
Professionally, it would be to make significant headway in repositioning ESCADA – largely through the fashion shows, which are the best way to show intent for our new direction. Personally? My buzz word this year is ‘fulfilment’, so perhaps I will finally get a motorbike license, some singing lessons and, if I’m lucky, some romance.

Who would you want to record your audio autobiography, voice-wise?
Sir Ian McKellen – what an incredible voice! It’s so full of character and expression. I really respect that he uses his position to do good for the community, as a brilliant advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.

Why did you end up doing what you do? 
I’m good at it, and I enjoy it. How lucky am I?!

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