07 September 2009

The woman behind the scenes at GIVe

It's often said that behind every great man stands a great woman. And in retailing guru George Davies's world that woman is his daughter Emma Trayner. Growing up looking at fabric swatches her dad brought home from work it was perhaps inevitable that Emma would end up working in the fashion industry herself. She worked with George at Per Una – 'I'd never been a skirt person until then, but we had such good ones I started wearing them' – and as Director of his new clothing range GIVe, she's been involved from day one. 'It was brilliant to be able to start with a clean sheet of paper.'

'Because it was a totally new concept we were able to set all the ground rules. There was no history we had to abide by so we just started thinking about the customer and what she wants,' she explains of the creation of GIVe, a brand which aims to bring affordable luxury to the high street with a tailor in every store. Working with a small design team of four Emma has scoured the world to find the best people and materials to work with. 'I went to Italy to find our knitwear person as I believe they're the leaders in that area. They still have traditional yard spinners which, the way manufacturing has gone in the UK, we no longer have here,' she explains, before detailing hundreds of different fabrics she's sourced from fabric mills in and around Florence. You can tell she's passionate about what she does.'I try to go to Italy 3 to 4 days a month as they're just so stylish it's inspiring. But we're constantly on the look-out for inspirations. My designers will come back from the V&A with the idea to go big on studding, say, or see a movie and take something from it that goes into the collection.' She's nervous about how the collection will be received when it launches, but excited with how the samples have turned out. It's always a risk that when you pick something up for the first time it won't be how you imagined it to be, something can be reinterpreted in the design process. But there are lots of pieces I know I'll be wearing. I like the cocoon coat that's 80% angora and the Babbs knit that's got studding on the arms.' And she's not the only one. My two girls (11 and 13) are really into fashion and they've already spotted things they like. They need to be a bit taller though!' Hmmm, is this the next generation of the George Davies retailing business, we spy? 'I would love for them to work in the industry. But they'll only work for me if they merit it!' she laughs. Sounds like Emma's learnt more than just a fashion eye from her father then!

 

Oooh, and don't forget if you want to meet the legendary George Davies and his daughter Emma no doubt, then enter our fab competition here. 


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