How and when did Aspiga come about? Were you always interested in fashion?
Whilst I was on holiday in Kenya in 2005, I was struck by the artistry and craftsmanship of the beautiful hand-beaded sandals, intricately adorned belts, and bold bright jewellery all made locally. Inspired, I spent the following year designing and developing a sandal and belt collection with a supplier I met there. After launching the collection at Top Drawer in 2006, the sandals and belts were snapped up by 40 stockists including Fenwick of Bond Street. Thrilled by this response, I made the difficult decision to leave the charity I was working for at the time and focus full-time on building Aspiga.
I wasn’t always interested in fashion, I always wanted to be a vet but as life went on I became more interested in it and I knew I always wanted to become my own boss and have my own business.
Do you have a favourite Aspiga piece? Or a piece you come back to year after year?
I have two favourites: the corduroy Victoria dress and our corduroy trouser suits – I love them both equally.
We hear you’re big into sustainability and ethical production, can you tell us more about this?
From the very start, Aspiga has been a responsible fashion brand with a mission to create beautiful products that enrich communities and preserve and protect the planet. As sustainability has been written into our DNA from day one, achieving B Corp status in 2022 felt like the natural next step for the brand and shows that we consider people and the planet as important as making a profit. As Aspiga grows we continue to amplify our sustainability commitments, embrace innovation and educate our customers about the benefits of responsible fashion.
Slow fashion that lasts is woven into all of our designs and each piece in the collection uses the best quality sustainable fabrics that we hope customers will treasure forever and love for years to come. Every decision we make at Aspiga is geared towards minimising the impact we have on the planet – as a business and as individuals.
From our production processes to the materials and packaging we use, we’re always finding new ways to reduce our environmental footprint and sustain our future.
Do you have a favourite spot in west London?
It has to be Westbourne Grove which has the best mix of fashion shops and cafes.
Are there any Aspiga stores, or are you exclusively online?
We currently have 12 Aspiga stores with one on the King’s Road and are opening our 13th in Bath, in early December.
If you hadn’t gone into sustainable fashion, what might you have done?
My first big job was working for King Charles’ charity, Business in the Community where I stayed for 15 years driving a number of different initiatives getting big businesses to give back and help deprived communities within the UK. Making a difference is something I am really passionate about, so I imagine I would have stayed in the charity sector. I was recently diagnosed with ADHD and am now researching charities to support, and am especially keen to help children through education.
Who designs the pieces for Aspiga? And where are they made?
I am very involved in the design and aesthetic of the collections and have built up an excellent in-house design team. The majority of the collection is made in both India and Kenya.
You don’t have as much menswear as women’s, might you add to this down the line?
Our men’s collection is growing and we have just launched some great Merino zip-front knits which are selling fast. It’s currently a capsule range of linen shirts, loungewear and shorts and are looking into what direction to take this range.
Which causes or charities are closest to your heart?
We give back to the suppliers that work with us by providing financial support to smaller suppliers to enable them to buy tools, build workshops and expand their business. One of our most fulfilling initiatives is the support we give school children in Kenya – each month 12 children volunteer for a Beach Clean in Malindi – and in return, we pay for their school fees and we also support another school in Kenya in Watamu called Bluebells and in India we support Water Harvest, an excellent charity supporting women and children by setting up water harvesters on rooftops so the young girls and ladies are freed up from collecting water and so can go to school or get a job.
Having been recently diagnosed with ADHD I want to do more charitable work in this sector.
Is there an aesthetic or fashion you just don’t get?
I don’t get the grunge trend, that said I do love the individual style but it’s just not for me – I am more of a feminine dresser.
Describe your ideal weekend for us…
At home in Hampshire with beautiful weather, spending the day outside with my dogs and horse and doing lots of exercise.
If you could save one item from a blazing inferno, what would it be?
My dogs and my photos.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Any plans for world domination?
We have recently launched into America, and hope to become a leading sustainable fashion brand in the USA. We are working on Aspiga to become a household name for stylishly sustainable fashion. Other territories include UEA and Australia.
Giving back is core to your DNA, and we plan to grow our supplier communities through social responsibility programs, supporting education, infrastructure development and entrepreneurial opportunities in Kenya and India.