20 December, 2019 In conversation with the founders of Galvan Our founder, Deborah Symond O'Neil, sits down in an exclusive Q&A with the four founders of Galvan London—Katherine Holmgren, Carolyn Hodler, Anna-Christin Haas, and Sola Harrison to discover more about the world of Galvan.

 galvan founders

DSO: Tell us a bit about how Galvan was born, was it a linear creation process or more of a “lightbulb” idea?


GF: Created by women for women, GALVAN represents a new kind of evening wear. The London-based label was established in 2014 by four young women from the worlds of fashion and contemporary art. Anna-Christin Haas, Sola Harrison, Carolyn Franks and Katherine Holmgren. The GALVAN brand represents their shared vision for a more cosmopolitan approach to evening wear. Luxurious yet effortless and versatile enough to be styled differently and worn repeatedly. 


DSO:Where did the name Galvan originate from?


GF:Galvan comes from the word Galvanise which evokes energy, excitement and empowerment - we hope our clients feel galvanised when wearing a Galvan piece! 


DSO: As women who have excelled in your previous careers in different realms, what motivated you to embark on a new journey with Galvan?


GF: We started Galvan because we saw a need for a new kind of eveningwear – clean, cool, pared down. This need, which is relevant to so many women today, motivates and inspires us to push the boundaries for an evening brand. Galvan comes from our shared longing for a more cosmopolitan approach, for something fashion-forward yet timeless, which can be styled differently and worn repeatedly.  


DSO: How has your foundation as friends played a role in your relationship as business partners? 


GF: We are extremely lucky to be working together and to be friends. The great thing is because we are based in different offices and travel so much, we are always excited to reunite and as we all have different skill sets, we complete each other to make a powerful foundation for Galvan. Sola and Anna are the creative minds, whilst Katherine and Carolyn are the business brains!


DSO: You have previously stressed the importance of “accessible eveningwear”, and the significance of your price points. Tell us a bit about why this is a fundamental aspect of Galvan as a brand?


GF: We found that there was a gap in the market for luxurious yet affordable pieces, that offer value for money whilst being investment purchases that you will treasure for many years to come.


DSO: Can you talk us through your creative process when designing a new collection? How do you go about bringing the initial idea or concept of a collection to fruition?


GF: Our inspiration comes from all over the world - travel, artists, immersing ourselves into various cultures. For our Resort and Spring/ Summer 2020 collections, our muse was the late German choreographer Pina Bausch, whose work changed the world of modern dance and costume. Blending dance with theatre, Bausch's aesthetic language focuses on the expression of raw and authentic emotion. She famously said: "I'm not interested in how people move, but what moves them." Fashion plays a key role in her choreography, becoming an extension of the dancers and an expression of their true character. Bausch's fluid and timeless silhouettes are full of intrinsic grace and detached from the temporality of fashion. There is a marriage between femininity and strength in these collections: graceful arabesque ruffles contrasts with liquid silks and empowered tailoring, providing a wardrobe to befit the many facets of the modern woman.


DSO: Your designs have successfully found a harmonious balance in being timeless yet contemporary, sexy yet sophisticated, and edgy yet elegant all at the same time. How do you think the attitude towards eveningwear has changed, and how have your designs been able to meet this modern mentality? 


GF: We think evening wear should not be too precious or just for one occasion. The way modern women live today is that they need versatile pieces that they can pack in their suitcase and wear for different events. We always try to find a balance between timeless yet contemporary, sexy yet sophisticated, and edgy yet elegant - whether it is balancing a full sequin look with long sleeves or a high-neck with an open back. We also aim to create pieces that are meticulously crafted and will be cherished forever.


DSO: If you could choose one hero piece from the Mode Edit, which would it be? How would you style it?


GF: The Moonlight sash neck tunic in white paillette is such a fun, cool and versatile piece - it works just as well for a wedding rehearsal dinner, a New Year’s Eve Party or just with jeans for cocktails! 


DSO: How would you describe the Galvan woman? What qualities does she possess?  


GF: We like to think that our Galvan clients are women of style and substance. Mothers, entrepreneurs, ingenues, who are multifaceted and love fashion and the arts. Someone who embodies this is the wonderful actress and writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, for whom we have had the honour of creating a custom dress on the red carpet, and who recently wore our Lena Jumpsuit also.


DSO: The label has transitioned into modern bridalwear and evening handbags – What exciting things can we expect from the future of Galvan? 


GF: We first launched Galvan to fill a gap in the market for Evening wear. Last year we launched Bridal as a natural extension of ready-to-wear since our clients were also looking for sleek, chic bridal options that were in line with their personal style. We also have just launched our first capsule collection of handbags. In typical Galvan style they feature jewel-toned satins, tassels and sequins and are the perfect evening accessory. So far our clients have been thrilled to discover this new category, which we hope will grow in the next seasons.

galvan founders

galvan founders

Shop the look