The origins of the world’s greatest brands

It occurs to us that the designers leading fashion and lifestyle brands around the world, household names and multibillion-dollar companies, all started off as one wo/man bands with inspiration, passion, innovation and a lot of challenges.

From Coco Chanel who started life in an orphanage, to the young widow – Veuve Cliquot – who dreamt up the riddling rack from a kitchen table (a means removing lees from champagne), giving us the clear, bubbly liquid we love today, these are stories that inspire and should give hope to new generations of designers and makers.

Craft remains at the heart of these companies, with exceptional quality materials and commitment to craftsmanship evident in every piece.

Join us as we explore the origins of these now world-famous brands, from their often unlikely or humble origins, the ideas they started out with and the evolution of these ideas into creations which have in many cases outlived their parents.

At the same time, we will be exploring the backstories of our own designers and makers alongside these famous individuals, and the unexpected twists and turns in their own careers. Our designers and makers have shifted from such careers as cartography, astrophysics and horticulture into full-time making, putting their creativity and passion at the forefront of their working lives.

Others have come fresh out of university and dived straight into the world of designing and making, yet others have gone walkabout, exploring the field, learning all that they can before dipping their toes. Each has their own unique story, and a story that helps illuminate their practice and shed light on their inspiration.

Witness the emphasis on craft, design, quality and doing something truly different, as true for our designers now as it was for these pioneers at the beginnings of their own journeys.