Maggie Semple

March 2012

Maggie Semple

With ethical fashion and vintage fare riding high in the style stakes of late, it is with great pleasure that we got the chance to interview the wonderful Susan Muncey, talking candidly about her fascinating life so far and her treasured business venture ShopCurious.com. Susan's inspirational business venture offers a refreshing alternative to the 'must-have consumer frenzy' world of branded goods that we currently inhabit, selling unique hand-crafted pieces mixed with a generous measure of vintage and limited edition creations; ShopCurious is the one-stop shop for unique fashion lovers across the globe!

Who is Susan Muncey?
A curiously creative woman who juggles running an online curiosity shop with fashion and lifestyle trend forecasting and writing for several blogs.

What's a normal day for you?
I like to get up early and go to bed late. There is no set pattern to my day, but out of choice, a large proportion of time is spent working and there are never enough hours in the day.

What was the trigger for you to start up ShopCurious.com?
I spotted a couple of new trends in their infancy: Firstly, a growing fascination with curiosities and collecting – and secondly, an emerging interest in 'slow style' – handcrafted and recycled fashion and lifestyle products.

What has been the highlight of your career?
Writing a book, Trends Beyond Life: In Search of Immortality. It was something of a spiritual journey that included visiting cemeteries in Zambia as part of the research. However, I am always bursting with new ideas and am about to embark upon a wonderful new project that I think could be a bigger highlight.

What has been the greatest challenge you have faced throughout your career?
Being too curious! I have actually had many career changes as a result of my curiosity to learn. I was an investment manager in the City, before opening a cult concept store and later discovering internet retailing.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I like it when I have time to indulge my creativity, rather than being bogged down by the mountains of admin involved with running a business/website. If someone offered me the chance to compile and create trend mood boards for a living I'd be tempted...

What is your most treasured piece of clothing/accessory?
That is an almost impossible question to answer as I have wardrobes stuffed full of clothes and accessories – and I am very attached to all of them! However, one of my favourite dresses is a beautifully embroidered and beaded vintage- style, diaphanous silk chiffon dress with a mink collar by Clements Ribeiro.

What is the story behind this and how do you feel when you wear it?
I wore this dress to the launch party of my former boutique, Fashion Gallery, in 1997. It's beautifully designed and totally timeless. I love the lightness of the fabric against my skin – this dress makes me feel feminine in an arty, cultured way. And the embroidery detail of birds, butterflies, insects and flowers is exquisite.

If you could turn back time and give yourself one piece of advice what would it be?
To trust my intuition and ignore doubting Thomas's.

Who are you when no one's watching?!
Alannah Weston – I wouldn't mind being creative director of Selfridges (even for one day!)

Maggie Semple also provides a bespoke feature 'Behind the Seams' which is a personalised gift service that provides a contextual account of a specific garment with details about the time of production, information about fabrics, cut, style, the designers and the inspiration, and any other information our dedicated team of fashion specialists discover along the way. The Behind the Seams book is beautifully illustrated with exquisite pictures that really bring the story to life. We would like to know what you think about this, perhaps as a wedding gift for the bride, featuring the dress?

The Behind the Seams book is a great concept. I have always considered clothes to be an extension of personality. And what better way to remember special occasions than through the clothes and accessories we were wearing.

Jenna Jones