INTERVIEW WITH KATE, OUR DESIGNER
Posted on January 05 2018
Would you like to tell our customers a bit about yourself?
Yes, of course. Firstly, a Happy New Year to everyone.
What gets you up in the morning?
In winter, my phone alarm. In summer, lovely daylight.
How long have you been designing for Pigeon and how did it come about?
I’ve been working for Pigeon for 4 years. Originally, Jane (Shepherd) asked if I would help with putting a ‘Home’ range together. On reflection, it was decided that a baby and children’s daywear range was what Pigeon needed. So the home range was put on hold and I plunged myself into a new world of design.
What do you like about Pigeon (assuming you do). Is organic cotton important to you!?
There is so much I love about the ethics of Pigeon. The quality of the clothing, the customer service, the care and consideration of all of those who work for Pigeon in whatever capacity.
…and of course Organic cotton is so important to me (to all of us) – because the crop is grown without the use of all the ‘cides’ – pesticides, herbicides, insecticides. All of which have a devastating effect on the health of those working in the industry, aswell as to the planet, wildlife and eco system. Considering organic alongside style, therefore, goes without saying.
I am also keen to encourage sustainability. As an adult, I buy pieces of clothing that I can wear year after year. It’s more difficult with babies and children who grow so quickly. Passing things down through the family or to friends is very important to me and at Pigeon our aim is always to make clothing that lasts. Rethinking how we buy, re-using items and recycling is what Pigeon encourages and stands by, as much as possible.
Have you always been a designer? What do you think about children’s fashion?
No, I haven’t. I’m not sure I consider myself a designer, more a product developer with a keen sense of design. Perhaps in a few years I might think I qualify as a designer. I worked in fashion and retail for a number of years and I was fortunate enough to spend time working for a charity run by The Body Shop. Seeing their business model which had a keen emphasis on ethical/environmental responsibility, together with caring for their staff, was quite radical in the 1980s/90s. It opened my eyes to what was possible and my desire to put what I had learnt from the company into practice.
I think children’s clothing need to be practical and comfortable. Certainly, there’s always room for a lovely dress or fine pair of trousers for a special occasion.
How do you go about putting a collection together?
I spend time looking about……at what’s around me. I like to look for the new people, locally and globally in the industry, seeing the freshness of their ideas. I tend not to look at trends as I find it so restricting. However, more often than not we find that most of our range appears to be on trend without us going the same route.
What inspires you?
Going to The V&A – sitting and looking and watching.
What do you like most about designing?
I love the iterative process of designing – how an idea develops. I love bringing a colour palette together and to see how the clothing hangs as a range. The process always takes longer than originally planned and there’s always a bit of apprehension as to whether the samples will arrive on time and whether they will work as a collection. We are always so delighted. For me a really good clothing range is one that you can come into the office and see every day and feel inspired by, each time you see it.
The most tricky part of designing is that you are always onto the next collection before the last one has arrived and sometimes even further ahead than that. So some days I have no idea what season I’m working on.
Who is Pigeon aimed at – is there a customer profile?
I’m not sure there’s so much of a customer profile, but Pigeon as a brand definitely has a strong style of its own. We like to think our clothing can be used for every occasion – for playing and for more special occasions. It’s very adaptable in that sense.
What’s in store for SS18 and what do you particularly like about the collection?
We love our SS18 range. It has a soft palette with strong designs. We have been delighted how it has been received by our wholesale customers, which is an indication that it will sell. I love the swimmer design for the girls and the cyclists for the boys. As always we complement the designs with a selection of breton stripes and some very delicate pointelle cardigans and cotton knits.
Where do you think Pigeon is heading for AW18 and beyond?
Although we at Pigeon have no burning desire to conquer the world, I definitely see our Seasonal Range growing healthily.
Manufacturing and using valuable home grown skills has always been important to us and I would love to be able to consider that as an option in the future.
For AW18 we have an exciting and larger range of clothing. It has a really fresh, modern look whilst keeping our Pigeon feel. We have use bold colours and subtle designs, gingham and stripes, together with knitwear.
At present, we are working on SS19. Further ahead? You never know, we might even look at introducing a ‘home’ range.
What luxury would you take to your desert island?
Hmmm…… a solar rechargeable laptop (with wifi). At least I could have some connection with what’s going on. Is that a bit sad? I’m not good on my own forever.