Q&A: Samantha Paton, Isolated Heroes fashion house founder – The Courier

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Samantha Paton founded Dundee fashion house Isolated Heroes 10 years ago, bringing her business knowledge and love of sparkle back to her hometown after studying in Edinburgh.
In the last decade, the loud and proud clothing company has dressed big names such as Miley Cyrus, Paloma Faith and Kate Nash, and launched bespoke limited collections every few months.
And with a focus on sustainability and helping others, Isolated Heroes has implemented an 80% deadstock policy, meaning they use discarded fabric from other warehouses to create their designs.
After a meteoric rise and 10 years in the world of fashion, I caught up with Samantha to get to know the woman behind the sequins.
Isolated Heroes has been going for ten years. What’s been the biggest lesson of that decade for you?
To trust your gut instinct!
I’ve realised over the years to trust my intuition when making big decisions and go with what feels right even if people are telling you otherwise.
Your collections are usually themed. How do you come up with/decide on themes?
We have our fingers on the pulse of cultural changes and love doing a deep dive into past microtrends and subcultures.
I love pop culture and love researching past trends and iconic moments that I know will become big again.
You have an 80% deadstock policy – has that changed the way you create your designs?
Yes, we have had to entirely change how we think of our design process as often when purchasing deadstock you aren’t aware of the final fabric quantity until it arrives at the studio, so this means quick decisions on different styles being in alternative fabrics.
We are having to work much faster as our collection drops are now so limited due to the smaller quantities of fabrics coming in.
We’re finding this makes it much more exciting for our customers are collections are becoming collectable and rare.
And we’re noticing a big spike in resale and rental of our pieces on various platforms as collections sell out and are becoming harder to purchase on the release date.
You studied in Edinburgh; why was it important for you to bring your own fashion house back to Dundee?
I love the creative community in Dundee.
There is such an incredibly supportive community of freelancers, stylists, photographers, and PRs who are all more than willing to share their network and offer advice as our business grows.
You’ve worked with major celebrity clients including Miley Cyrus, Paloma Faith and Tess Holliday. Who is it your dream to dress? And what would you dress them in?
We would love to dress Lizzo! She is such an icon to the plus size community and isn’t afraid to be fearless with her style.
It’s important for us to dress people who align with our brand values, and we love that she carries a message of empowering people with self-confidence.
She would have to be in an item from our runway collection, maybe the floor length ruffle dress.
What would you have done if you hadn’t done the job you’re doing now?
I would have been an Art Therapist. That was the route I originally intended to go down before studying fashion.
I love working with people and helping them overcome challenges.
Where in the world are you happiest?
At home with my two young boys and husband.
Favourite part of Scotland to explore?
I’m a city person. I love a day shopping in Edinburgh and lots of good food and drinks.
Last book you read?
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue.
Music you listen to in the car?
I only listen to podcasts.
Who inspires you?
So many people in business in Scotland and my own team!
Favourite holiday destination?
Greece.
What makes you happy?
Family time.
What makes you sad?
Inequality.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
Yes! I’m a massive romantic.
What was the first album you ever bought?
Britney Spears!
What is the best advice you have ever received, and who did it come from?
Don’t compare your hustle to other people’s highlight reels – Emma Gannon.
What do you do to unwind?
Long bath, a good book and red wine.
What or who are you proudest of?
I’m proud to have built my business from nothing while raising my baby boys and making sure I provide opportunities for more women in business who are starting off in their careers.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
To keep going! Keep pushing forward. Good businesses are built from resilience.
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