Citywealth’s April French Furnell speaks to Alice Asquith, the founder and creative director behind the ethical activewear brand Asquith. Alice shares the importance of ‘trusting your gut instinct’, women supporting each other and her next challenge: launching in the US.
Describe the ethos behind Asquith.
At Asquith my mission is to create clothes that make you feel good inside and out. I design styles to flatter your body and comfort is our cornerstone. I design collections to be classic, flattering and multi-functional for today’s busy woman. And we use the best quality, eco-friendly and super soft fabrics which are ethically made in a Global Organic Textile Standard approved factory. We’re the opposite of disposable fashion.
Where does your creativity come from?
I come from a long line of creative women; my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother all designed and made their own beautiful clothes. Many of my earliest memories involve fabrics - Indian silks, Harris tweeds, Liberty prints and the sound of whirring sewing machines. Quality and lasting design was everything in our clothing.
I founded Asquith in 2002, combining my love of fabrics and design with two other passions: yoga and Pilates. From the very beginning it was crucial to me that our activewear was ethically made in the best quality, eco-friendly fabrics that were as soft as they were hardwearing.
Blissful Wrap - Cloud. £65.00 Can be worn in three different ways: tied at the front, loose at the sides or tied around the back.
When launching Asquith, did you have any mentors or sponsors supporting you?
I was working in television when I decided to launch Asquith. I took a 3-month Fashion For Business course at the Portobello Business Centre in Notting Hill, where I live, and the Course Director, David Jones, an amazing Fashion Retail expert, was so supportive during and after the course.
Since then I’ve had so much support over the years from women I’ve met along my business journey. I don’t have a mentor per se, but I do have friends in fashion and we all share and discuss issues, which is wonderful. Women are amazing and so generous at supporting each other.
What was the biggest lesson you learnt launching your own business?
Trust your gut instinct. Always. Whenever I haven’t gone with my gut on a creative, style or business decision I’ve regretted it. I’ve been a meditator for nearly 10 years now and I’m much better at listening to and trusting myself. I sit with a feeling now and trust my heart and how I feel.
What advice would you pass on to women considering launching a business?
Understand your strengths and weaknesses. I know what I’m good at and I know what I’m not good at. Delegate to people better than you at that role. In the beginning, when you start your business, you have to do everything, for financial reasons, which is great because you need to learn all aspects of the business. But, as soon as you can afford to, build a strong team around you. My Asquith team are amazing; loyal, hard-working, creative, fun, and all of them amazing women. I trust them implicitly, adore them, and without them my life and the life of Asquith would not be the same.
Flow with it Leggings - Snake £59.00. Flattering, fitted leggings with a soft elastic waistband and contrast colour side piping detail. 100% opaque
What’s next for Asquith?
We have so many exciting plans on the horizon. We’re about to host our 2nd Asquith event and our first Eco Summit where we invite key influencers and press to an amazing event with a Sustainability panel discussion, yoga, massage, food, music, a gong bath. We’re also about to launch in America and I’m shooting our Spring/Summer 2020 lookbook there.
I’m constantly trying to improve and develop Asquith for our customers, and we’re about to launch a brand spanking new website, which will enhance the customer journey. I’m also researching a new ethical fabric which I believe will have improved ethical and performance capabilities. It’s all exciting. I love to push boundaries and never stand still.
View the Spring/Summer Lookbook here and visit the website.