“I think of myself as a hands-on designer. For me, make is integral to my design philosophy. It is crucial how a piece of clothing feels when worn. I’ve always wanted clothes to be the way I drew them – relaxed and lived in, a natural look. I find men’s clothes interesting in their structure, feel and functionality. I started by designing men’s clothes, and then found that women wanted them. I’m inspired by the authenticity I can find in nature, people and places, and I think it is the same quality I look for in the materials I choose. For example, the feel of hand-woven Harris tweed and the irregular slub of Irish linen. I feel passionate about landscape, and its connection with such fabrics and the skilled people who weave them. I like to work with manufacturers who understand and share this passion for make and quality of fabric: specialists such as John Smedley in fine-gauge knitwear, Mackintosh and their part hand-made raincoats, and the Scottish knitting factories that continue their heritage of producing the best cashmere in the world. I also find these qualities in other people’s work. In 1970 I was encouraged by finding – at a jumble sale – an old, yet finely stitched pinstripe shirt. Today I still find it exciting to hunt out objects I consider to be well-made and enduring. In particular, mid-20th century products such as Anglepoise lamps, Ercol furniture, and Robert Welch stainless steel cutlery, represent the best of our heritage of timeless functional design.I enjoy pulling these threads of British tradition, quality and skill together in clothes that are meant to be worn in the real world, where good design is about living with thoughtful style.”
This is how Margaret Howell described her namesake brand on their official website. In the interview with dezeen in 2018, she told the magazine that she dislikes the term “Fashion Designer” and the image it can portray.
“I don’t feel I am a fashion designer at all. I’m rather embarrassed when people describe me as such, because I’m not.”
“The public has got such a different view on fashion – it’s always the extravagant and the wacky, this has its place and is really admirable, but it’s not what I do.”
She has been working in the fashion industry for 4 decades and become known for her simple, utilitarian and workwear-inspired designs with very deep tone down colors for everyday wear. Some describe the brand as quite minimalistic, but at the same time very constructive.
“I was always more interested in making than selling” she said. “There were people out there that wanted these sort of clothes. But I knew I couldn’t do something for the sake of it.”
Once we had a meeting with Andersen-Andersen in Paris with the owner/designer Cathrine. She asked us what kinds of new brands would be coming to Cultizm and we mentioned Margaret Howell. It was very surprising as she was wearing a skirt from Margaret Howell, and she mentioned that it’s one of her favorite brands. There are several similar stories and that’s why Margaret Howell is described as a designer of designers time and time again.
Margaret Howell is was one of the British brands along with Paul Smith, picked up by Japanese businessmen who came to the UK in the early 80s. Then the brand has flourished in the Japanese market while many others fell by the wayside. Now the brand is still very big in Japan and she mentioned that:
“I don’t really know why the japanese like the clothes so much, but I think it might be the quality or the naturalness of them. That real edited sort of minimal simplicity, which I love, maybe there’s a certain group in Japan that likes that sort of thing.”
To welcome the new brand, we prepared a small capsule lookbook with our own interpretation. By showing the same pictures in similar moods and in different lightshades, color, black/white or even different angles. We wanted to show that they are same, but can look different.
Hope you like it! First delivery is available on cultizm.com