Why was Live Unlimited London born?
Live Unlimited was born out of sheer frustration to be perfectly honest! I have always been around a curvy size 16 (sometimes a bit bigger, sometimes a bit smaller!), and I could never understand why more brands didn't cater for anyone over that size. In a lot of cases, some of the brands I'd have loved to have shopped with actually stopped at a size 14, which seemed crazy to me, as well as frustrating!
My background was in retail buying before Rachel, my amazing business partner (and bestie!) and I set up the manufacturing business over 30 years ago ( I honestly cannot believe it was that long ago!). We had gained so much experience supplying most of the major high street groups that we decided we should launch our own beautiful, premium brand, where our customers would never be limited by their size.
That's how it all started, and although it seems a lifetime ago, our first collection was in Autumn 2014, and I still have some of the pieces in my wardrobe now.
What’s your favourite piece from the new collection?
It's way too difficult to choose just one!
I absolutely love the modal hoodie as it’s just the most beautiful basic, and the fabric is just so soft and snuggly, but I'm completely in love with our T-shirts because they are the most flattering tees EVER for anyone with a bit of a tummy – I'm honestly wearing all the colours on repeat.
I’m also madly in love with our powder blue coat, as it looks amazing over black, or how I love to wear mine – over the ivory modal hoodie and jeans. It simply elevates whatever outfit you've got on, and I know I'll get so much wear out of it through early spring too.
How do you want Live Unlimited’s clothes to make the women who wear them feel?
I’ve always truly believed that it is not what size you wear, it’s how you wear your size, and I am passionate about that. I want our clothes to fit well and flatter, be comfortable, be versatile, and to make a woman feel confident, sexy and ready to take on the day, and the world!
What did you do before you founded Live Unlimited London?
I had a bit of a strange first job, given what I’ve ended up doing in my career! My very first job after school was working as a Trainee Underwriter at the Royal Exchange in the heart of the City of London. Whilst it gave me no relevant experience whatsoever (as you can imagine), I maintain that it gave me a very good grounding in office life and all of it's characters!
Predictably, it wasn't for me, and at 19, I answered a job advert for Trainee Buyer at the Burton Group, where my journey in the fashion business began.
What does your day-to-day look like?
One of the things I love most about my job is the unpredictability of it – no two days are ever really the same. I could be shooting the next collection at a studio, or working through the shots to ensure we have the very best image to show our product.
I try on absolutely every garment we develop, so I am often wearing and trying on various different things throughout the day! Most days I have some product development meetings with the design team – this week we've been finalising colour palettes and print ideas for next high summer, as well as coats and knitwear ideas for next autumn/winter. I've also been approving the artwork on all the new packaging we're launching for next spring, which is so exciting.
Whilst this year has brought a whole new set of challenges to the way we work, I am so proud of everyone in the team for how hard they work, and how passionate they all are about the brand.
What’s the most challenging part of the job?
There are too many challenges to list! There are many pieces of a pretty complicated jigsaw puzzle that have to come together, and suffice to say that things don't always run smoothly when producing fabrics and garments out of China, Sri Lanka, India, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Romania and Bulgaria – but when something is a best seller it makes it all worth it.
What’s been your favourite highlight of Live Unlimited London?
There have been many highlights, and I am so passionate and so proud of 'Live'. I think my proudest moments in the last 12 months have been launching in some of the John Lewis stores after our online launch in February, and travelling to New York in January to finalise plans to launch in Macy's, which is happening this week!