“I think of myself as a hands-on designer. For me make is integral to my design philosophy. It is crucial how a piece of clothing feels when worn. I’ve always wanted clothes to be the way I drew them – relaxed and lived in, a natural look. I find men’s clothes interesting in their structure, feel
and functionality. I started by designing men’s clothes, and then found that women wanted them.
I’m inspired by the authenticity I can find in nature, people and places, and I think it is the same quality I look for in the materials I choose. For example, the feel of hand-woven Harris Tweed and the irregular slub of European linen. I feel passionate about landscape, and its connection with such fabrics and the skilled people who weave them.
I also find these qualities in other people’s work. In 1970 I was encouraged by finding –at a jumble sale – an old, yet finely stitched pinstripe shirt. Today I still find it exciting to hunt out objects I consider to be well-made and enduring. In particular, mid-20th century products such as Anglepoise lamps, Ercol furniture, and Robert Welch stainless steel cutlery, represent the best of our heritage of timeless functional design.
I enjoy pulling these threads of British tradition, quality and skill together in clothes that are meant to be worn in the real world, where good design is about living with thoughtful style.”
Margaret Howell March 2013.