At 11:30 am yesterday morning in the gorgeous Bath Assembly Rooms, Sophie Chadwick of Cornish fashion hub Seasalt, spoke with Red magazine’s Alice Olins about the inspirations, techniques and family values that underpin this hugely successful clothing brand.
Seasalt began in 1981 when the Chadwick family entered a small shop, known then as General Clothing Stores, to buy waterproof clothing and left having bought the shop itself! In 2004, Sophie met Neil Chadwick and Seasalt as we know it today really took off. From these humble beginnings, they have now expanded all over the country and boast 33 stores with almost seven hundred people—all working to keep this nautical fashion powerhouse running.
Sitting on stage wearing the Seasalt Lyonesse Dress teamed up with a wonderfully contrasting mustard cardigan and surrounded by other Seasalt pieces, Sophie Chadwick explains how the company’s clothing collection comes together.
Her husband, and Creative Director, Neil set an initial theme; from this Sophie and the rest of her team are able to create prints, colours and designs that will eventually make up that collection. For example, Seasalt’s SS13 range was assigned the theme Isles of Scilly and each sub-collection represented one of these islands.
The creation of Seasalt prints is perhaps one of the most striking things about this company. According to Sophie’s husband, Neil, Sophie lives in a ‘print bubble’ and, after watching the video in her studio about how she comes up with her designs, I see why. From detailed illustrations, to hot wax drawings and even potato prints – Sophie fills sketchbook after sketchbook. Taking the landscape around her, which just so happens to be the stunning Falmouth harbour. As well as the collection’s theme Sophie transforms leaves, fish, flowers, boats, the sea and much more into wonderfully inspirational prints. I couldn’t imagine a more satisfying way to spend my time.
A truly innovative brand, Sophie talks about how Seasalt came to be one of the first fashion companies to be awarded certification from the Soil Association. Previously, the Soil Association had focused on organic foods however, Seasalt were interested in creating clothes using organic materials such as cotton. Sophie herself went abroad to try and convince farmers first hand to switch to producing organic cotton, which is not only better for the farmers as they no longer have to come into contact with awful
chemicals, but it’s also better for the environment and our very own skin.
Interestingly, Sophie reveals that after many customers contacted Seasalt asking them to produce clothes that could be worn by slightly older women they have now created and altered pieces that bring their target age range up to eighty-plus. Not many brands could pull off creating clothes that would suit both twenty-five and eighty-year-old women but, Seasalt impressively achieves it. And in case you were wondering if the company could get any better, Sophie and Neil have plans to expand their size range to 24 and are passionate about creating clothes that can be worn by women of all body types.
I don’t know about you but, after immersing myself in all things Seasalt, I can’t wait to get down to Cornwall beach!
To find out more about Seasalt and to purchase some of their amazing clothes, head to: seasaltcornwall.co.uk
Do you love Seasalt as much as we do? Tweet us a pick of you wearing your favourite Seasalt garment @MilkBathSpa
There are still plenty of Bath in Fashion events to check out. Buy tickets online at: bathinfashion.co.uk