With brand new premises in Chelsea building on the success of their Marlow store, we talk to Really Wild’s founder and designer, Natalie Lake.
What inspired you to create Really Wild?
When I took up clay pigeon shooting in 2002 at the Royal Berkshire Shooting School, I was unable to find the sort of kit I wanted to wear. I wanted a feminine fit in pretty coloured tweeds and I soon discovered that country clothing was designed more for men than women. With my design background and love of the English countryside, Really Wild just naturally evolved.
How has the range developed since launching?
Although RW started as a line of contemporary country wear, I soon realised that our customers were seeking clothes that moved effortlessly between town and country, so in 2012 I designed a London collection, putting an urban spin on my designs. I wanted women to feel comfortable & stylish in both settings, with beautifully wearable collections combining classic tailoring with a wild twist.
Can you describe what the brand’s hashtag, #callofthewild, means to you?
The call of the wild is synonymous with our country roots. Our collections are designed to be lived in and are based on the palette of nature’s wild landscape colours.
How important is British heritage and local craftsmanship to you?
Hugely! I love to see the traditional skills of UK craftsmen in use today. Our knitwear is produced in Scotland and we work with Liberty London using their silks to produce our timeless shirts, dresses and skirts. With the present climate, I genuinely believe that we should see the growth of heritage manufacturing in the UK and will support that enormously.
Can you describe how you want women to feel in your clothing?
The women we style tend to have busy lives and they need their wardrobes to be versatile. The coat they may buy from us can be styled for a particular event they are going to or equally thrown over a chunky knit with a pair of jeans.
What was the inspiration for the latest range?
My inspiration for this forthcoming season is taken, as always, from the great outdoors; this season I took my inspiration from the colours and textures of the seascape.
Congratulations on the opening of your Chelsea store. Can you tell us about how this came about?
We are fortunate enough that over the years we have built a strong international following, particularly in the US. After successfully testing the waters with a pop-up shop in the Duke of York Square, off the King’s Road, we found an ideal location in Sloane Square and are very happy to be back in Chelsea where many of our customers live.
What’s the best part of your job?
I am never happier than when I am sitting at my drawing board at home designing. But I love the interaction with everyone who I work with at Really Wild, as the whole team is involved with the process of building the brand. The business now employs 19 people. Having fallen in to this business by accident it has evolved in to a long-term commitment and a passion – I live and breathe it!
What’s next for the brand?
To continue looking after our core, loyal customer but expanding in to ever-greater markets. The development of the RW city girl is an exciting challenge I relish. We will also be launching our men’s collection this coming AW19.