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London-based womenswear label ISA ARFEN was founded in late 2011 by Serafina Sama, following a small collection of summer dresses inspired by the retro glamour of Slim Aarons’ society photographs. The pieces were sold exclusively through private sales, and the enthusiastic response led the designer to develop these initial themes into a broader collection that combines a strong sense of tradition with a modern, eclectic attitude.
Growing up in Ravenna, Italy, Serafina was surrounded by strong female figures whose individual, eccentric and irreverent styles are reflected in the ISA ARFEN design aesthetic. Drawing on the canons of Italian style with equal doses of pride and irony, the label is relaxed, feminine and fun, shot through with a touch of aristocratic sensibility.
“To me fashion is about desire, beauty and fun. It’s not about dressing up in a costume. Isa Arfen is about a real woman dressing for her real life and really enjoying it.”
Serafina Sama graduated from Central Saint Martins School of Art & Design in 2006 having gained studio experience at Marni, Lanvin and Marc Jacobs. For the following two years she worked in Paris as design assistant at Chloé before returning to London in the summer of 2008 to start a family. She subsequently worked on free-lance projects for Chloé, Louis Vuitton, Acne and Charlotte Olympia.