Won­der Woman

The Bri­tish loungewear de­signer bring­ing beauty to the ev­ery­day

Parents + Kids - - Editor’snote -

Rose Ful­bright on tak­ing plea­sure in beauty

It’s swel­ter­ing out­side but Rose Ful­bright is, of course, im­pec­ca­bly dressed and poised. The stereo­typ­i­cal English rose, she’s styling out the sum­mer heat in a silk top of her own de­sign, all clash­ing corals and teal, with a ca­sual denim midi skirt. How­ever, it takes more than an eye for fash­ion to build a lux­ury loungewear com­pany that has gone from zero to the pages of Vogue in just three short years—and to do all that from a baf­fling new coun­try where you don’t speak the lan­guage is a feat that’s tes­ta­ment to the tenac­ity hid­den be­hind Rose’s re­fined ap­pear­ance.

Grow­ing up near Stoke, the hub of Bri­tish pot­tery, Rose never doubted that a cre­ative ca­reer was her fu­ture. Her mother was a de­signer in her grand­mother’s pot­tery com­pany, and cre­ativ­ity is in her blood, with artists, de­sign­ers and writ­ers scat­tered through­out the fam­ily tree. “It made do­ing it re­ally easy for me,” she says, “be­cause I’ve never had to ask if it’s okay to do this as a ca­reer; it was nat­u­ral.” From a young age she would draw and paint, and de­vel­oped an in­ter­est in tex­tiles from ri­fling through a trunk of vin­tage fab­rics her mother had col­lected while grow­ing up in Lon­don in the six­ties.

Rose fol­lowed this pas­sion for tex­tiles to Paris, where she stud­ied cou­ture at Par­sons and learnt the tech­ni­cal skills of sewing and de­sign. Although Paris springs to mind as the dream lo­ca­tion for a fash­ion stu­dent, Rose felt frus­trated there—the weight of his­tory and her­itage meant ex­per­i­men­ta­tion was frowned upon. “I once wore a rib­bon as a belt in my jeans and peo­ple looked at me like I was crazy,” she re­calls, “Parisian fash­ion is very much a uni­form.” She moved to Lon­don to study at Lon­don Col­lege of Fash­ion, which was a breath of fresh air. “Lon­don­ers don’t take them­selves too se­ri­ously, it's way more play­ful and they push things—some of it’s a bit too mad, but its some­thing mad to come back from.”

Mar­ried and liv­ing in Lon­don’s sub­urbs, how­ever, the mad­ness of fash­ion school was soon swapped for the path to­wards kids, a mort­gage and rou­tine. So, when the op­por­tu­nity for her hus­band to trans­fer to Bei­jing cropped up, they took it, de­spite know­ing next to noth­ing about China.

“China was never part of the plan, but be­ing here is great. I have a fan­tas­tic silk sup­plier in Suzhou,” she says, “it’s also helped me de­velop my style as there’s so much free­dom. No­body is look­ing at you think­ing that what you're wear­ing isn’t ap­pro­pri­ate."

She does, how­ever, lament the fast-fash­ion at­ti­tude in China, where out­fits are of­ten se­lected off the peg and qual­ity vin­tage isn’t an op­tion. Per­haps in­spired by her mother’s trunk of found tex­tiles, Rose loves to ri­fle; “my par­ents were bo­hemian and al­ways go­ing to char­ity shops. At first I hated it but then I grew to love junk—i love that feel­ing of find­ing a to­tal gem.”

Rose’s new home has also in­flu­enced her de­signs. “New places of­ten have color pal­lets,” she says, “Bei­jing is gray, with mus­tardy gold from the tem­ples, ter­ra­cotta red from the walls and bursts of green and ocean blue in the sum­mer. In the win­ter it’s an icy, bright pale blue, to­tally clear and crisp.” Rose ev­i­dently has the eye of a de­signer, see­ing her sur­round­ings as in­spi­ra­tion.

But Rose also wants to bring this beauty to our day-to-day lives. Her col­lec­tions are de­signed to bring a bit of so­phis­ti­ca­tion to the ev­ery­day—per­fect for those mo­ments when you just want to throw some­thing on, stack up a pile of toast and work from home.

En­joy­ing the ex­trav­a­gant in the ev­ery­day is a phi­los­o­phy in­spired by the lifestyles of Lon­don’s Blooms­bury set, a mem­ber of whom is in the Ful­bright fam­ily tree. Th­ese English cre­atives were the orig­i­nal hip­pies, valu­ing peace, na­ture, love and aes­thet­ics. They would paint the in­te­rior of their houses in bold col­ors, and sur­round them­selves in lux­ury fab­rics, be­liev­ing in the im­por­tance of aes­thetic plea­sure.

The idea that beauty is an es­sen­tial part of the hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence and should be ac­ces­si­ble is at the root of Rose's col­lec­tions. “Beauty is life en­hanc­ing, hu­mans are the only species to make beau­ti­ful things to lis­ten or read like lit­er­a­ture, art and mu­sic,” she says, “some peo­ple might dis­re­gard fash­ion as frip­peries, but you need bal­ance in your life, and to take joy from beau­ti­ful things is not a crime.” Am­ber De La Haye

Beauty is life en­hanc­ing, hu­mans are the only species that makes art

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