Each week we will be speaking to our favourite brands to find out a little more about the inspiration behind their fabulous clothes. This week we are featuring sgt.smith.

Please tell us a bit about you and the brand….

I am Vicki and along with my husband Jim we are the founders of sgt.smith. We’re both designers – I have a background in fashion, previously designing for the High Street and Jim is a graphic designer, having worked in the magazine and book trades.

After living and working in London for several years, we decided to return to our Northern roots and put into work one or two ideas that we’d amassed. sgt.smith was born at our kitchen table and began with a small amount of kids t-shirt ideas. It very quickly took off and ten years on we now employ a small team and occupy the top floor of an old Victorian textile mill that we’ve helped bring back into use.

What inspired you to start your own label and how did you come up with your brand name?

From a very young age, I’d always wanted to start my own business, to create a brand from nothing and watch it flourish. sgt.smith is named after my late father who died when I was 13. We were in the early stages of creating our business plan and had yet to find our business name when we were clearing some things out of my mum’s loft. Among them was an old case that had belonged to my dad and attached to it was a brown luggage with his name, ‘sgt.smith’ written on it. It stuck.
Running a business isn’t easy – we’ve had a few ups and downs along the way and there have been times when I’ve questioned naming our brand in such a personal way, but I do think that it shows that our brand is really important to us and that we’re prepared to put our heart and soul into everything that it does. We literally wear our brand on our sleeves!

When coming up with a new season how do you start? Do you have an idea of designs/prints?

We don’t really work seasonally, we work to ‘themes’. We find inspiration in movies, trips to museums or galleries, an unusual colour combination we’ve spotted, a conversation, a joke, books, anything really! For our kidswear, we often think about what kids would love to wear – from Hairy Monsters, Aliens, Dinosaurs to friendly forest animals.

We use Pinterest to gauge what’s out there and we both follow trend inspiration magazines and design blogs. I particularly like Anorak, Milk Magazine, and Earnshaws.

If you had to pick your favourite piece from your new collection what would it be and why? 

I love our Personalised Space Ranger pyjamas. We designed them to be unisex and I’m loving the girl space ranger orders that we’re seeing!  I’m also very proud of our personalised dinosaur range. Our first ever personalised dinosaur t-shirt was designed all those years ago for our then, very young son. We took inspiration from our visits to the Natural History Museum in London and the way the dinosaur exhibits are labelled with the dinosaur name and description underneath an outline of the dinosaur image. To now be working with the museum itself feels like we’ve come full circle and is a lot of fun!


When you look at other designers who is your favourite?

We don’t really look to other designers but for kidswear, I do like what Tootsa Macginty and Bonniemob are doing at the moment. We also look at US designers and I love the laid back, fun aesthetic of designers such as Lindsey Berns and Nico Nico.

If you can say what is inspiring you for your next collection?

We’re currently sketching lots of flying animals (that aren’t ordinarily airborne) and messing about with glow in the dark ink!

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