I’ve been called a ‘tailoring perfectionist’ because nothing leaves my studio without fitting you absolutely perfectly. Which also means promoting your assets and disguising your insecurities. It’s a passion of mine. People often ask what is my major influence. Well, I’m inspired by military tailoring – with its perfect faultless form and functionality. Perhaps that’s because my naval captain father wore exquisite boat cloaks. I still have one. It is perfectly divinely executed. In navy ones with two gold lion heads and a chain. I find it so glamorous and elegant.
And what prompted me to start Pip Howeson? My devotion for tailoring and the rejuvenation of the British textile industry, that’s what. At the core of my vision is a commitment to protecting and promoting the practices and traditions of the artisanal British textile industries. I love working with small British textile companies, helping breathe to some new life into the industry. I’ve built close relationships with weavers, designers and artisans up and down the British isles. Everywhere from two-person subsidiary mills on the Borders to large fabric mills supplying the likes of Chanel. This allows me to acquire beautiful materials that are truly unique. More often, ones to which only I have access. From hand-woven cashmere to bespoke Harris tweed, though to the loveliest of linens and much more. I Then handcraft my creations from these using only the finest British fabrics.
There are other things that make my work so special. I like to create clothes in which people feel at ease, comfortable and authentic —however formal the occasion. If you wear a Pip Howeson cashmere coat you (and it) will feel equally at home at a point–to–point or a wedding. They are never left in a cupboard waiting for that special occasion.
In essence, I bring together the best of modern Britain and a keen admiration for the past to create hand-cut pieces that become heirlooms. Like the best country houses, my designs —whether home wares, garments or curios— will never go out of fashion. They simply get better with age.
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ME: I was born and grew up in Cornwall in an Art Deco house on a cliff near the fishing port of Mevagissey. Surrounded by sheep and the crashing waves of the English Channel, this is Famous Five territory - and it’s this connection to the British countryside and country pursuits that is at the heart of my work. (Incidentally, I love riding sidesaddle and adore the irony of time spent polishing kit and then getting it really muddy.)
As for my career history, I worked at Jack Wills. It’s here that I introduced British heritage clothing to a younger market and developed the classic hacking jacket that they’re still selling today, a decade later. I worked too for Selina Blow —who fuses the bold colours of Sri Lanka with the clean tailoring of Savile Row; a fit that I’ve taken into my designs. During my years of working with the theatrical bridal designer David Fielden, I learnt about the innovative use of textiles and movement of fabric —and have incorporated these aspects into my creations too.