Get to know our founder and creative director with a question and answer...
"The ethos of Brora is still the same 25 years on: to create beautiful fashion that is stylish yet timeless"
VICTORIA STAPLETON, FOUNDER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to start the brand?
I started Brora in 1993 because I was passionate about Scottish textiles, especially cashmere and tweeds. When my family became involved with Hunters of Brora, a 100 year old tweed mill in Scotland, I jumped at the opportunity of creating a retail arm. This, in turn, led to the establishment of Brora.
How have you seen Brora evolve since 1993? What does this mean in relation to British Manufacturing?
The ethos of Brora is still the same 25 years on: to create beautiful fashion that is stylish yet timeless. I strongly believe in ‘made in Britain’ especially when the particular product is made so very well on our shores. All Brora cashmere is manufactured in Scotland using skills that have been passed down through generations of Scottish families.
Visiting the mills to see each season's garments being lovingly crafted is a real treat.
We know family is important to you; do you consider Brora to be a family business?
Brora is such a personal business and has been such a passion of mine that somehow everyone has become involved. My late father was a wonderfully inspiring entrepreneur and my mother has immaculate taste, so many of the family have modelled and worked for Brora at some stage or other.
What inspires you?
I always find that inspiration can come from anywhere and nowhere is this truer than in my home. I've always loved colour so my leaning is towards strong and vibrant patterns, designs and artwork. I'm such a colour addict so every room is painted a delicious, bold hue. It's very important to have space for self-expression.
Who do you look up to?
The late James Sugden OBE was an extraordinary man and a true inspiration to me as his services to the textile industry were unrivalled. James ran the cashmere mill until 2013 when he joined the executive board at Brora. He believed in me aged 25 when I suggested making colorful cashmere and quickly became my mentor, wise counsel and dear, dear friend.
When it comes to choosing your own wardrobe, have any Brora pieces from the last 25 years stood out to you?
Of course I love all of our designs and the collaborations we do with other designers are such fun to work on. As I rate vivid colour and pattern so highly, the Sibling x Brora one was a real joy. I still wear the Cashmere Neon Leopard Jumper to this day and once upon a time I said that when I designed a leopard knit, it would be time to hang up my boots; luckily I changed my mind!
What is your vision for the brand going forward? Where do you see it in the next 25 years?
Customers have always been, and always will be at the heart of what we do. I would like them to continue enjoying the brand and for more people to wear Brora. I never want the business to grow too big and impersonal so hope we will remain privately owned, personally run, and continue to produce the majority of what we sell on these four shores for at least the next 25 years.
"Customers have always been, and always will be at the heart of what we do."
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I've always been a keen traveller so over the years have been lucky enough to explore places such as Africa, India and South America. Otherwise, time at home in the country with all of the family and our team of whippets is something I rate very highly.
On holiday with my family, 2018.