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It seems obvious to me now that narrative has always played a major part in my life. The flamboyance, the fantasy and the freedom are a motivation now inextricably linked to the styling and design of my Little Wardrobe brand. Quite possibly it stems from my former life as an actress and my time running my own young people’s theatre company at Riverside Studios, perhaps from the stories I was read as a child. In fact, now I think of it, from the earliest memories I have of my childhood – the stories my mother read to me, the books I grew up reading, the shows I saw at the theatre; I developed not only a love of narrative but a gradually evolving perception and appreciation for British culture. The combination of these stories and this culture I loved and wanted my own children to experience.
I first realised when my twins were very young that there was a vast market in children’s-wear, from Gap to Gucci; from every-day rough-and-tumble kind of clothes, to occasion-wear, and opulent, exquisite designer-wear. But within this huge spectrum of choice, there was very little that I felt represented the culture I had grown up with: the fairy tales and books that had been so influential throughout my childhood as well as the energy of London itself, our heritage and diversity. So, it was then that I set about creating a clothing line to celebrate Britain’s heritage, eccentricity and individuality. It started by me making clothes for my own children, and then making small runs of clothes that I market tested. The response was overwhelming and led me to where I find myself today.
I found inspiration in many things – the energy of London itself, our heritage and the diversity of our culture.
My ambition was to create a brand that was genuinely British, which meant not only British design and influence, but we also had to be British made. I spent a long time building up a dependable network of contacts, as well as collaborating with like-minded people who shared my passion and vision.
I worked with a fabulous designer called Mark Baker who designs for British Retro. He’s been working with London based factories for over 25 years and he helped bring some of my first designs to life, assisted in the pattern cutting process, the production of my first commercial collection and introduced me to a multitude of influential people from buyers to consultants who work specifically with British brands.
The company name was inspired by one of my favourite childhood stories – The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, by CS Lewis. I loved the idea of opening the doors to another world. It is one of the most important elements of the brand; namely that we capture and ignite the imagination of children through the clothing. I believe that clothes can inform expression, inspire playfulness, and create the most magical of stories.
Spring/Summer photos by Dani Geddes Photography www.danigeddes.com/