A catwalk down memory Lane- 10 years of Dolls Decadence

A catwalk down down memory lane. Brand owner Paulinah with model Ellie Reeves finale walk at the Midlands Fashion awards 2012
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We are 10 years old!

So, amidst the chaos and carnage of everything that 2020 threw at us all. We also reached a milestone age- a major deal for us as a small brand. Wow, how time has flown! 10 years- say what now?! It’s been 10 years and 14 collections since Paulinah set out with Dolls of Decadence on this fashion journey.

As if, we really made it through; 10 years of growth, passion and achievements. We are so grateful to have reached this milestone and it has reminded us of how far we have come as a brand. Of course, we had made plans to celebrate this special anniversary with you but coronavirus had other ideas… So instead we will raise a virtual glass and take you on a journey of reflection of direction.

How It All Started

Clothes Show x Dolls of Decadence

Every story has a beginning and ours started in June 2010 under our former name, Dancing Dolls UK. Our head designer and brand owner, Paulinah Eboh-Sampson’s background in the performing arts industry led to the creation of the brand, originally based on dance inspired fashion wear- a definite pain to constantly have to explain. Nevertheless, we hopped onto the scene under that lame brand name- yeah I said that- with our introductory collection “Doll Domination”- a collection that presented exactly what our brand was about with a campaign that intentionally featured 3 models of various ethnic backgrounds. Even before being inclusive was a thing, racism in fashion was being addressed and Instagram had existed to be championing any of it, we wanted to make our stance on these issues known and we did it the best way we knew how.  The collection consisted of swimwear...of course and fitted sexy womenswear a plenty; basically an introduction to all the attributes that would form the foundation of the brand.  In our first year we attended fashion events around the country, in a bid to get the brand out as much as possible including showcasing at the inaugural FOTOMODA Fashion Event and the Midlands Fashion Awards 2010 where our first collection “Doll Domination” was awarded the “Best Designer “title at the FOTOMODA event and our appearance at the Midlands Fashion Awards catapulting us onto the main stage of Clothes Show Live- the largest fashion event in Birmingham, at the time. We had made our first mark on the fashion industry and we weren’t going to stop there…

Dolls of Decadence award wining fashion brand

Looking At Our Best Bits

A year later we had secured our first international stockist all the way over in the USA(!!!) with independent womenswear store La Femme Chic Boutique; based in Spring Valley, New York. In 2013 it was back in the U.S for us, this time in Miami with the full DD clan as in our 2013 "Finally Exhaled" collection and the designer, Paulinah herself; to showcase our work at the annual Miami Metropolitan International Fashion Week amongst designers from around the world including Singapore, Canada and Nigeria. So, having explored parts of the West, I guess it was inevitable we then headed East - securing our second international stockists in 2014 with Malaysian based fashion boutique AXOTIQ.

Dolls of Decadence lookbook campaign for international stockist, AXOTIQ

A year on and we were back at the Midlands Fashion Awards 2015 show, where the best innovative independent designers in the Midlands are selected to showcase their work. We showcased our 10th ready to wear collection, “Eminence” securing 3rd place runner up in the Best Independent designer category. A huge achievement for us and not a bad way to celebrate our 5-year anniversary!

From our 2015 EMINENCE campaign. Image Jase Holzer

New Beginnings

With so much achieved in the first 5 years it was time reflect on a clearer direction and to take the next steps on our fashion journey- we had grown so much as a brand and outgrown certain elements of our foundation. We needed room to explore these new avenues of what we wanted the line to look like as this new grown up brand, without any restrictions or limits as to what we could offer.....basically; the name Dancing Dolls UK had to go; dance inspired fashion wear just wasn't cutting it anymore.

 April 2016, we re-emerged as the new grown and sexy Dolls of Decadence. Our new narrative was refined; it was clear, powerful and offered no apology! Considering, we were still operating in our coffin size sweat box studio as a self funded brand, this was pretty damn audacious. But, of course our humble beginnings was never going to stop the wheels of motion and in June of the same year, we had signed the lease for our equally grown and sexy showroom/workshop space, where every product you see from the Dolls of Decadence is currently produced.

Rebrand of the new grown and sexy Dolls of Decadence

With an introduction of new silhouettes, our rebrand was capturing a different kind of attention from the fashion world. Over the years, we had had many features and publications in local, National and International publications: Dreamingless Magazine, Evening Mail, ASOS, Express & Star, Elegant magazine, Style Birmingham and StreetCred to name a few but when Vogue Italia came a knocking in December. Now that was a real “pinch me” moment and an amazing way to finish what had been a phenomenal year for us. Eeek! 

Dolls of Decadence featured in VOGUE italia

2017- 2018 saw more winning moments for the Dolls of Decadence brand from a feature on the Lowdown Birmingham for local TV channel Made In Birmingham TV to a win at the Top model UK model competition, where the model styled by Paulinah in Dolls of Decadence clobber only went and won the 'best personal style' category and yet another 3rd place position from our revisit to the annual Midlands Fashion Award. Not going to lie, it would have nice to have won, but hey| We had still consistently proved our band to be amongst the top 3 Independent fashion brands in the Midlands. We are not mad at that!

Dolls of Decadence designer Paulinah with the Made in Birmingham TV squad and model Sacha and Tania

We also teamed up with event company Lotus Event management to host our own runway show in November 2017 for the launch of the #Fashion4aCause campaign under the Do-Nation UK CIC project. A community interest company founded by Janet Eboh-Sampson, sister to our head designer Paulinah. Through this company Paulinah, along with her continues to push fashion led projects, that support and give back to our local community. Find out more on he community interest initiatives here

Its been amazing to document our journey over the last 10 yeas, so what now for Dolls of Decadence? Well, I guess you have join us on the next leg of it and watch this space. We hope reflecting with us has got you just as excited as us for what’s next to come! Here’s to another 10 years… 

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