The parents of fashion designers are often the greatest collaborators of all... Mums and dads of fashion, we salute you!
Collaboration is second nature to many of London's new wave of designers: whether interacting with a stylist to bring a fresh perspective to a new collection and show, or hooking up with a high street store, resulting in more affordable ranges for a wider public. But behind the scenes comes a much less publicised, though no less meaningful collaboration - from the parents of the designers. Far removed from the sentiments portrayed in Philip Larkin's 1971 poem, This Be The Verse - 'They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do' - the mums and dads you meet below are the ever-supportive long-term champions of their talented offspring. From day one, Cozette McCreery's parents have witnessed, nurtured and encouraged their daughter's commitment to design, from tentative school projects, to accomplished graduation collections, prior to professional success and its accompanying media acclaim. Such enduring loyalty has ensured that 21st century fashion is a better-dressed place! Mums and Dads of fashion, we salute you!
When did Cozette first show an interest in fashion?
She was always very stylish as a child. She was wearing Biba clothes by the age of four. We used to visit the Biba store on Kensington Church Street and then later on Kensington High Street. She liked hats. I remember there was one she liked that looked like a hat one of The Wombles wore! When she was two she modelled for a company called V.I.P. photos in Edgeware Road. It was a photo shop, very ahead of its time, and they did huge pictures of her that went on display in the window.
When Cozette expressed an interest in pursuing fashion as a career, did you have any doubts?
We never had any problems with Cozette. She was always very self-motivated, very outgoing and she doesn't suffer fools gladly. She did an awful lot of clubbing and was friends with that DJ chap, Fat Tony, who isn't actually fat! She used to look after him for his mum, because he always seemed to be getting into some mess or other. She didn't want to go to University, even though all her friends were. She went into retail and joined MaxMara. Then she worked with Jasper Conran for many years - she used to boss him about! She then went to Israel for a couple of years to a Kibbutz where she trained as a shepherd. She later worked with the designer Bella Freud. Cozette and Bella were like two peas in a pod, they look quite similar. Sid from Sibling was involved with Bella as well.
Was there any specific advice you gave her at that time?
Just to look after herself. She did kickboxing, so she can look after herself actually! But some of the clubs she was going to in Soho then were not places I would dare go to.
Do you always go to see Sibling's shows?
I go to all the shows. I had a long chat with that accessories designer chap, Judy [Blame], after one show who explained to me that fashion isn't just about making money, it's about expressing yourself and being true to your talent and art. The last Sibling show I went to was very big, but I remember when they were doing shows in a space the size of two telephone boxes tied together.
Which other designers or brands do you like?
Up until the early 80s I wore everything made-to-measure, including shirts. Then I had some business interests in Italy so I started to buy things off the shelf. I used to buy mostly Versace, Valentino and Armani. Nowadays I'm an old bloke, and I like to wear Jaeger and cashmere.
How would you describe your own style?