Designers quit top Australian fashion label

Last updated 14:44 04/07/2014
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FASHION STARS: Heidi Middleton and Sarah-Jane Clarke developed their market stall into an Australian-based global fashion empire, turning Sass & Bide into a household name.

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Sass & Bide designers Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton have left the iconic brand they built from scratch.

They're the queens of free-spirited style, and not just because of their cult-hit label, Sass & Bide.

Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton forged a friendship over 15 years ago, which led them to launch a label now synonymous with Australian designer fashion.

The pair started Sass & Bide in 1999, leaving Sydney to try their luck selling the now iconic "east village hipster" jean at London's Portobello Road markets.

Fast-foward two years and the Sydney girls had expanded into seasonal ready-to-wear and were making a name not just in Australia and New Zealand, but across New York and London.

Now, Sass & Bide is estimated to be worth an impressive $50 million and is available across the globe. 

Today, the duo has announced they will be leaving Sass and Bide, telling Vogue Australia, "We wanted to leave the business in really strong health and leave the brand while it was flourishing. We've had an amazing run especially in the last five to seven years.

"There's a great team in there that we believe can take the business forward. We've just appointed an amazing CEO who has great international experience and really understands quality brands and luxury.

"It was an instinctive decision that we both felt and we've always based our larger decisions in the business on intuition."

Heidi went on to tell Vogue Australia that she planned on moving to Paris indefinitely, while Sarah-Jane is "just excited to be walking into the unknown."

Back in 2011, Australian department store Myer acquired 65 per cent of the brand for $AUD42.25 million, and now Sass & Bide has appointed a new design director, Anthony Cuthbertson and art director, Bonnie O'Hare.

Both have extensive fashion and retail experience, with Anthony Cuthbertson earning his style stripes with luxury brands like Victoria Beckham, Mulberry, Ralph Lauren, and MaxMara.

- PopSugar

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