This week Kimberley from the STLA had the chance to sit down with the uber-talented Victoria from We Are Rushworth.
First up, can you tell us your name and a wee bit about yourself and your business?
My name is Victoria Rushworth, and I studied at The Scottish College of Textiles, Heriot Watt University, Galashiels for a BSc (hons) in Textiles & Clothing. On graduating I worked for various high street retailers and suppliers as a technologist/product developer. This involved working with factories around the world, trouble shooting production problems as well as ensuring quality and ethical production. After a career break watching my 3 children evolve while living in Paris for 4 years I was inspired to create a clothing label for “Triers and Doers”. We Are Rushworth was born in 2012, it is an innovative, evolving clothing label, rooted in Scotland. The brand has a variety of unique ranges from artist designed t-shirts to locally produced knitted hats, scarves, headbands, tank tops and blankets. These are manufactured using luxurious pure lambswool, merino and cashmere fibres.
What made you want to get into the industry?
My father worked around the globe in the textile industry, mainly for the UN on development projects. He would bring us some textile-related gift home from every country (Afghan waistcoats were pretty exotic in the 1970’s). Therefore from childhood, I was surrounded by textiles and the experiences we gained from living overseas instilled a fascination with clothing and textiles which contributes to what inspires me today.
Who are the influential figures you look up to for inspiration?
My father and grandfather both worked with textiles and their attention to detail as well as appreciation for good quality products has stayed with me. More recently, the designs being created using wool by International Woolmark winners Christian Wijnants and Marcia Patmos are a great inspiration.
What exciting projects do We Are Rushworth have in the pipeline for the near future?
We are working with our local manufacturer on merino cycling tops which will have everything we love, great design and look but importantly showcasing the qualities of natural fibres.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
I am passionate about the qualities of natural fibres and manufacturing quality garments here in the UK. The design process is rewarding however nothing beats seeing the finished products arrive.
What advice would you give to up and coming designers/makers/manufacturers in your field?
Focus on quality and being retail ready: it is a competitive world with large retailers able to manufacture in bulk at competitive prices. So find an innovative idea, pursue it; but be aware that this is a business. Retailers have strict product specifications to ensure a garment is fit for purpose and safe under the consumer protection act. Buyers want to avoid returns and quality issues so the quality assurance and the factory audit are crucial. Know your manufacturer and understand your responsibilities to your consumer. But above all, enjoy it, be authentic and your enthusiasm will spread.
What are you looking for from the textile industry currently?
The greatest challenge for startups is the sourcing of sample garments, and good quality manufacturers who are able to support small runs. Also, it would be useful to get some impartial advice on website designers and photography.
For more on We Are Rushworth:
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