Irish-rooted fashion label Molly Bracken’s international achievements show that when your vision and your ‘why’ is strong enough, you can achieve great things
With a rich Irish heritage at the core of the brand, it is very exciting to see family-run business, Molly Bracken, thrive in the fashion world. The label has been around for almost 15 years and the genesis of its creation is a lovely family story.
“We’d been in the fashion business for years, and my husband, Julian Sidonio, during family reunions, found some lovely archives of his Irish family, post-Victorian era. In particular, photos of his grandmother Molly Bracken,” explains founder and artistic director Catherine Sidonio of the brand’s origins.
“The images, the way they looked, the context of the time, the portrait of his grandmother – in short, the life that these photos exuded, touched us and inspired us to create our own brand under this label, Molly Bracken. So, this is the story of a return to our origins.”
A family affair
This passion for design and honouring Molly, was teamed with the couple’s experience in the fashion and design sector on behalf of American brands that they have developed in Europe.
“We wanted to launch our own creations based on our expertise. We had a real vision of fashion, of women, and we had some great creative ideas to fulfil. The creation of Molly Bracken gave us that opportunity.”
The business is very much a family affair with each member playing to their own strengths.
“We’re lucky to have very distinct areas of expertise,” says Catherine. “For my part, I’m co-director and artistic director for all the brands. Creation and image are my domain. Marketing is my husband Julian’s area of expertise. He and his team are constantly working to raise the profile around the world. Very early on, we brought all our media, press and general communications resources in-house. This allows us to manage our activities autonomously and constantly source the best opportunities: magazines, billboards, social networks, online. Our two visions complement each other.
“Our children are part of it, too. My eldest daughter, Justine, runs the USA-Canada subsidiary, following in her father’s footsteps. Maxime, my son, has also joined us to work in the communications department. We’re delighted to be growing this business together.”
The next generation
At 14 years of age, Catherine and Julian’s daughter Lili began designing. She created her eponymous brand LILI SIDONIO in winter 2016, which is now distributed internationally, with its own unique positioning.
“Lili got hooked on fashion while pursuing an ambitious course of study Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, King’s College London and Science Po Paris,” her mother explains with pride.
“She wanted to have a high-level generalist education alongside her fashion career. This allows her to have a real vision of the world and to integrate content into her collections.”
“We had a real vision of fashion, of women, and we had some great creative to fulfil! The creation of Molly Bracken gave us that opportunity.”Catherine Sidonio
While Lili’s studies inspired her to learn and think creatively, for Catherine, her inspirations are many and varied.
“I love travelling and meeting new cultures, and I’m a fan of vintage and beautiful objects. My passion for art, particularly contemporary art, photography and cinema, opens up real creative gateways for me. The colours and prints that we develop exclusively, the materials and the shapes, all come from these references.
“We’ve come a long way since we started out. In the number of our brands, our partners, countries and teams around the world. Today, we offer our collections under four labels: Molly Bracken, Lili Sidonio, Molly Bracken Girl (for girls aged eight to 16) and Gabrielle, with its chic, bohemian positioning, alongside capsule collections. We are also opening our own shops in select locations.”
“We’re looking forward to further developing Gabrielle, which has evolved in its stylistic positioning, with a designer and eco-friendly wardrobe opening up new possibilities. In the summer of 2024, we will be expanding our swimwear range. We are also preparing some exciting openings in Spain and other European markets. We are constantly on the move and at the heart of our project every day.”
Catherine’s tips for aspiring entrepreneurs
- Have the desire and the spirit for challenge
- Create and stimulate yourself intellectually
- Be resilient, open to change and, above all, sincere
in your creative approach