It’s not often that I scan through social media and stop dead on one particular page. But something just made me stop and stare. I feasted on customised leather jackets featuring Bowie, Cats Eye sunnies featuring fierce metal spikes and rock & roll slogan tees that could be seen on Mossy at Glasto.
Who was the brand? Step forward STARLOVER. Even the name drips cool.
After seeing some snaps of my friend Dawn Hindle of Pikes and Ibiza Rocks fame, wearing a white biker jacket adorned with stars and slogans in the grounds of Pikes hotel Ibiza, I had to reach out to Donna Ganley – the designer behind the brand. Just about resisting the temptation to buy their entire range, I caught up with Donna to discuss STARLOVER.
A: Tell me how it all started?
D:A couple of years ago now, and I have spent the time building its reputation since then. My background has always been art and fashion based. I worked on many art commissions, creating work for private clients and for various establishments, which I still do and love.
My experience with fashion ranges from having my own independent store which stocked other brands, plus styling fashion shoots. I’ve even used my flair for art to work as a make-up artist, working on London fashion week, amongst other freelance work. I’ve swapped make-up brushes for paint brushes for good now though.
I decided to combine both of my loves when I stated hand painting onto jackets, mainly leather. I began to get requests and orders, it’s all gone from there, and the concept has grown. So far, I’ve had the opportunity to work and collaborate with some amazing people.
A: Who are you style icons and fashion influencers?
D: Music and popular culture are a huge influence on the brand and on my own style. The 60s and 70s are the eras that inspire me most, which I hope you can see through my work.
There are so many icons I admire who inspire me daily, mainly people with a natural style of their own, with an edge, that draw me in. The list is endless but Kate Moss (an obvious choice), Jimmy Hendrix, David Bowie, Debbie Harry, Grace Jones, Robert Plant, Marsha Hunt, Chrissy Hynde, Grace Jones, The Warhol factory, Edie Sedgwick, Pauline Black. I could go on and on!
Ibiza has also played a huge part in things for me. It’s an inspiration in so many ways… the spiritual side of the island, the hippy ideal and the whole vibe inspires creativity. I have been lucky enough to work and create art for the legendary rock n roll Pikes hotel. Starlover just sits so well with everything the hotel stands.
A:What’s next for STARLOVER?
D: The launch of our much anticipated website is next! It’s taken quite a while to pull together if I’m honest.. this is because I started with the wearable art side of things but constantly feel the need to create and my head is always bursting with ideas. This has lead on to more and more things being added to the range to create the full picture. We are very nearly there now!
A: And finally, what are your wardrobe must-haves?
D: Obviously the classic biker jacket. whatever the weather. Ours are so soft and wearable. They become your best friend!
Plus a cool, floaty maxi and or jumpsuit to waft around in… watch this space!
Or a versatile scarf to style up any outfit and give it some edge and pull together a look.
ALWAYS always… sunglasses, in any season. We do our own range now which I’ve been wearing on repeat!
(I couldn’t agree more.)
Social media has been a critical tool for Starlover in building a reputation, an image and a customer base. We sell everything this way (mainly Instagram) Many brands are doing this now. Full stop, with no website at all.
I have met and collaborated with some fabulous people including fellow designers, bloggers, artists and art gallery owners all through the power of social media. I now consider some of these people friends, engaging every day at all times. For a fashion brand, there’s nothing quite as important.