Anna Mackmin began her career as an actor, and her sister Scarlett as a dancer. Four years ago, during a lull in their busy freelance careers both sisters found themselves with time on their hands. Instead of sitting back to wait for the next job, they decided to branch out and began to design clothes. Their ideal was not to create a high-fashion collection of expensive tricksy garments, nor to find a channel for latent creativity. It was simply to design clothes that they could actually wear.

The pair look strikingly similar, the same cheeky smiles and sparkling green eyes. The one difference is their body shape. Anna is shapely and round and would describe herself as a 'bigger woman', while Scarlett has a compact dancer's physique. Anna says: "I used to go into shops and feel like a second-class citizen. Staff were less friendly to me, probably unconsciously, but it does put you off going in, and the clothes never seemed right." Scarlett's gripes were that the clothes in most shops detracted from the body, imprisoning it: "Women seem to wear uniforms, following too many enforced dress codes. As a dancer I wanted clothes I could afford that would work with my body, so I could feel confident, not restricted." This attitude has resulted in a range of clothes that are as individual as the person who wears them.

The clothes are unstructured and adaptable. One jacket may have five ways of being worn, depending on the shape of your body. Scarlett says: "The same jacket can look good on both of us, we just wear it in a different way." Other jackets have detachable sleeves, and wrap-around skirts with an elongated tie can be worn according to where you feel your problem area is - it can be tight and slim, or loose and flowing. One particularly ingenious item is called 'sleeves'. Designed to be worn with a sleeveless dress, they are for women conscious of their upper arms, and they look great. The clothes are very reasonably priced - the classic long linen dress is only pounds 68.

What started four years ago with a market stall in Camden has flourished into a Soho business that attracts all sorts of women. "Some of our customers are professionals, others are mothers with children," Anna says, "but they all have one thing in common when they try on our clothes - they all say 'Oh my God! This is going to fit me.'"

Mackmin, 8 Ganton Street, London W1 0171-494 0779

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