The Queen of Jeans tells us why life online and off is better without rules.

Australian-born Donna Ida is, quite simply, the ‘Queen of Jeans’. Having moved to London in 1999 to follow a career in marketing, she spotted a gap in the market after she realised that her search for a great pair of jeans had been endless and, ultimately, fruitless. When a friend suggested that she launch her own denim-based fashion label, she took up the challenge with alacrity, pouring everything of herself straight into it.

And so it was that her eponymous brand was born in 2006 when she opened her first store in Chelsea. In those nascent days, it drew then, as now, on her family and friends – chief amongst them her grandmother, who was well known for her style in rural Australia and whose legacy inspired the very first collection.

Today, she continues to design with an eclectic group of friends in mind, thus catering to and flattering all body shapes. In her team are Ivy (‘the leggy one’), Rizzo (‘girl about town’) and Jeanie (‘the conservative one’), and her ‘girl squad’, as she terms it, expands with every new collection. The idea, at its core, is to help every woman, regardless of shape or age, to find that elusive thing: the perfect pair of jeans.

Donna Ida proves the versatility of denim again and again; simply, it is worn by anyone and everyone, from the rural hardworking labourers who wore it first, right through to world leaders today. It can stand for rebellion (as it once did when it was worn by the likes of James Dean and Marlon Brando) or be the pressed, neat and smart uniform of off-duty royalty.

Here, Donna opens up her digital black book, sharing us how she’s survived the last few months of lockdown (a clue: the Matches app and Netflix featured heavily) and the momentous moment she sent her first-ever email.

Favourite website It must be, I spend a lot of time on it.

Favourite app

I love the app, for a bit of late night shopping. I add anything new that I love into my wish list.

Favourite blog

I don't read blogs. I feel like I am the only one.

Favourite podcast

I don't listen to podcasts – it's like TV but frustrating because you can't see them. I don't get it.

Favourite YouTuber

The beauty expert,
Nadine Baggott. She’s brilliant.

My most recent buy online

How long do you have? I have literally not stopped shopping since lockdown. What came in today? A Merlette dress from Matches.

Last book I downloaded or read

It was a proper girlie read, which I listened to in the bathroom in the evenings called My Sweet Revenge by Jane Fallon because my friend Georgie recommended it. It didn’t matter if I missed a bit or fell asleep, I knew what was going to happen but it kept me company.

Favourite tweeter

I cannot stand Twitter anymore. I used to love it. It is a vile, mean, bitchy place.

Favourite Instagrammer

I just had a scroll through my feed to see – to be honest I don't have a favourite. But all 1,441 that I follow make me happy in one way or another.

Favourite tech gadget

My iPhone.

The most useful gadget/item on your desk

My MacBook Pro.

Most useful digital resource during lockdown

Going down the Google rabbit hole. I love Wikipedia. As soon as I find someone or something interesting, I will read their/its Wikipedia page.

Most inspirational digital resource during lockdown

Do you know, I have been so busy that all I have done is work and binged Netflix in the mornings and evenings. So probably Netflix. I watched Mad Men finally. Those outfits! So inspirational!

First thing/app you look at on your mobile when you wake up/in the morning

Shopify for the web shop.

Last thing you binge-watched

I binge-watch constantly: Dead To Me.

Favourite brands I've discovered online

I discover loads of brands through Matches, MyTheresa and Net-A-Porter. I let them do the editing for me. Recent purchases are from Caroline Constas, ATM, Merlette, Alexandre Vauthier and Amina Muaddi.

Social media allowed me to meet

Quite a number of my very good friends.

The best digital advice I've been given

You can't be everything to everyone.

My screensaver

A picture of Dazzler [Donna’s husband, Robert Walton MBE, aka Bobby Dazzler] and I.

My standout online memory

When I first moved to London and got a job as a secretary. I had no idea how to use the Internet or email. I called my friend who I moved here with. She was also at her new job, and she talked me through how to send an email. I pinged one to her and she pinged one back and it was like the sky opened. It was a heavenly blessed day (where no other work was done).

My pet online hate is

'Can we schedule a time to call?'

Do you have any online rules or resolutions?

Nope. I rarely set rules for myself in anything at all apart from my eating habits. I'll only break them.

The Internet. On balance, a force for good or ill?

Good! My god where would we be?!

By Lucy Abletshauser
July 2020


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Lucy Abletshauser

Shopping Editor

Lucy is the GWG's go-to expert on the best online buys, from fashion to interiors. An aesthete to her core, she does the trawling so you don't have to.