Inside the Industry | willaby
Congratulations on the launch of another gorgeous collection! When picturing your range, what are a few words that come to mind that best capture it?
Thank you! When I take a step back and look at all of the pieces as a whole, I'm reminded of my goals for simplicity, integrity, and subtlety in dressing children.
Tell us a bit about your journey as a clothier and what led you into creating retail pieces.
I've sewn at home for a long while, mostly as a hobby. Then, about five years ago, I started a small business making and locally selling baby toys and accessories. During that time I had my son. Giving birth and becoming a mother made me much stronger, more determined, more focused on my goals. My experience of making and buying clothes for him gave me total clarity on the kind of pieces I wanted to contribute to the retail market. I felt that it was no better time than to launch a clothing line for children, which I'd been dreaming of for some time.
Is there a story behind the name willaby?
Yes! My dad used to call me Willaby. She's a little girl in a book by the same name. She draws many pictures in the story, and I loved to draw, too. For me she represents fulfilling a childhood desire to be creative, to be prolific. Using the name for my brand constantly reminds me to stay committed to that identity, which I think is at the core of many children's lives.
The fabrics you select are a large part of what makes each piece so uniquely beautiful. Does the fabric typically inspire your designs?
Yes, I tend to start with the fabric. I think that I see the clothing as a canvas for the print, texture, and color of the fabric. This is probably because I spent so many hours painting in art school, working on canvas. Another thing is that my mom is a quilter. Quilting tends to favor the process of falling in love with a bunch of fabrics, stock piling them, and then later working them into a design. I've been in my fair share of fabric stores with her since I was a kid, examining bolts upon bolts of fabric to find the best ones, then figuring out a way to use them later.
You've previously mentioned on your Instagram account that you use local talent to help create your collections. Knowing that you provide work for others must feel so rewarding. What have you found to be the most rewarding part of the business?
It's very rewarding to provide work for others. I used to think that I wouldn't want to give up any autonomy. At the same time I knew that employing others would open up so many avenues to form new relationships, to meet the needs of stores and retail customers, and to grow as a business. Equally rewarding is seeing all of the work translate into real life, seeing the clothes on children, and hearing from customers who truly delight in them.
Your style whispers of a vintage era and is what many people have come to love and expect from you. How do you see your designs growing in the next couple of seasons?
I do love classic vintage. It stands the test of time, and that's what I see as worthwhile design. I will continue to stay true to that vision, while experimenting with fabric. I'm always looking for fabrics that take my breath away, and for Spring 2015 I'll be expanding my repertoire with some new weights and textures.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! We can't wait to watch willaby continue to bloom!
Thank you so much! It's been a pleasure.
owner & designer, willaby
Supporting handmade companies that value quality has always been important to me, so naturally, willaby is a label I adore for my own girls. A new classic for children, the latest range is a collection of minimalistic cuts and beautiful fabrics, striking a perfect balance between simplicity and style. Take a peek at my littlest in a couple of the sweetest baby pieces...
Willaby is offering our followers free shipping for domestic shipping using code FREEMINISHIP today and tomorrow only! And don't forget to check out @willabyclothier on Instagram!