It’s in her jeans
The creator of Ruby London reveals to Laura Cartledge the secret that’s seen her denim designs attract a superstar status.
Diamonds were a ‘girl’s best friend’, the little black dress was the wardrobe staple – now both have competition from the revolutionary jeans by Kate Eccles.
The Felpham-based designer already has a star studded fan list, with the likes of Jo Whiley, Victoria Beckham and Kate Moss wearing her denim creations.
So what makes her brand, Ruby London, stand out from the crowd?
“We are renowned for the fit, it takes about 200 samples to get it right. Ours are cut like a tailor’s pair of trousers,” she replies.
“They sit across your stomach and flatten that, they go up into the curve of your back so when you are bending over nothing shows and the front panel is smaller so it slims the leg.
“We do half sizes too which is important,” Kate adds, “some people are between a ten and a 12, we will do an 11.”
Each pair showcases the skills Kate picked up while working alongside, and for, the fashion industries finest as well as a lifelong passion.
“I was always drawing and pulling things out of magazines from four years old,” she confesses. “I had my first market stall at 11.
“I went to Joseph, the designer, when I was about 20 and they taught me everything I know really, there were only five of us then,” she recalls.
“At 23 I opened my first store, Plum London, All Saints took that over and I went to New York working for Joseph and co-managing the American side of the business.”
Having returned to the UK, following the birth of her son Joseph, Kate continued to add to her impressive CV.
Roles ranged from being a product developer for Warehouse to supplying the likes of Miss Selfridge, Hobbs and Barneys New York while working for ‘one of the best mills in Turkey’.
“I launched Ruby in 2005,” she explains. “When we started people wanted stretch denim so we worked with Frost French on the super skinny jean.”
From then things developed quickly and, wanting to keep her perspective, this saw Kate add a special ‘fortune cookie’ message into each of her designs.
“It is about grounding us,” she smiles, “in this industry you can forget what it is all about.”
Whether the message worked or not would soon be put to the test as 2007 would prove to be a big year.
Not only did ‘fashion kick off in the UK’, which saw Kate concentrate her business on boutiques, but family life would see her relocate to the south coast.
“I had another baby so I couldn’t commute to London all the time so I brought a house in Felpham,” she says.
“I found there were so many creative people around without jobs so we opened an office and we get a lot of locals coming to work for us.
“Now we do all the shows and selling in London and we do all the product design in Sussex,” Kate adds. “It works quite well, the mix, because we can take the natural elements from here and go to the city for the fashion.”
Nearly ten years on since Ruby London began, the momentum is stronger than ever.
“We are scaling it back up,” admits Kate, “and plan to open a stockist a week.”
While many things have changed in the last decade it seems fashion is still faithful to its old favourite.
“Jeans are really important,” she agrees. “We are designing for people with busy lives and they need to be smart, we don’t do ripped jeans but we do a heritage wash, a vintage wash.”
Kate prides herself, and Ruby London, on always being ‘first in fabric’.
“We brought out the wet look jean before anyone else,” she enthuses, “and we started the coloured jean about ten years ago.”
This trend shows no signs of fading, so what does Kate predict will be the big shades of the autumn/winter season?
“The claret Vera will be popular,” she replies, “it is very slimming and looks great with oatmeal sweaters. Then there’s the black jean and ash blue, a new blue for the winter.”
While the benefits of being a designer are obvious, Kate admits she ‘has hundreds’ of pairs, she confesses that Ruby London has a drawback…
“The downside of Ruby, for us, is that a pair will last you for years,” she jests, “but we do get people repeat buy for different washes.”
For more information, please visit www.rubylondon.com