Together, Emma and I have been surrounded by fashion for as long as we can remember. Having come from a long heritage of dressmakers, tailors, knitters and ultimately shearling manufacturers our path into fashion design was pretty clear. As teenagers in the late 1980s and early ‘90s our sense of style was heavily influenced by London’s club, music and fashion scene. We would spend most Saturdays rummaging through vintage at Kensington Market, buying Helen Storey at Hyper Hyper and Vivienne Westwood on the Kings Road.
We decided to study design at The London College of Fashion before apprenticing under my father at Cole of Kent in traditional shearling manufacture. It was not long before we started to push the traditional boundaries of construction and our innovative cricket ball stitch was picked up by Amanda Wakeley.
We wanted to combine our young London style with cool yet commercially desirable products, so took our experimental designs to Spitalfields market. It was these designs that went on to form our first luxury accessory collection after we were invited to show during London Fashion Week, and then Gushlow and Cole label began. My father’s factory closed in 2003, but with our first orders from department stores in Paris, Tokyo and New York we set up two machines in his garage and began to sew the collection ourselves.
Emma and I take a hands on approach to every aspect of our business and the success of our creative partnership comes down to the unique understanding we have for one another. We have very different attributes and design qualities, yet our aesthetics are always in sync. Although innovation is crucial, my father passed down to us his love and understanding of shearling, a meticulous eye for quality and a passion for traditional british make. These qualities are inherent within every one of our pieces and our brand philosophy has always been shaped by these roots we share. To Emma and I, Gushlow and Cole is more than just a brand- at it’s heart is our lifelong friendship, a strong sense of family and a business born of determination and an entrepreneurial British spirit! – Katrina Cole