For most of us it’s difficult to imagine defining who we are in a short paragraph but as co-founders we have done our best so we can share our story with you!
I am a mother, grandmother, photographer, textile designer, former publisher and curator of experimental ‘labs' for writers, artists and scientists. I’m also an avid traveller. I especially love my trips to India visiting friends, taking photographs and designing shirts for myself, family and friends at home in England. My treasured Indian Khadi shirt collection is the basis of my wardrobe and my identity on all occasions, all year round. Based on one simple, fluid, easy to wear design that hasn’t changed in 30 years. I have a relationship with my clothes which is comforting and effortless.
The concept of Shirt Story was born in 2013 when at the age of 75 I was encouraged by family friends Raju and Samvit Sarabhai in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, to design my first collection for the Western market. We made samples and our first order in 2015 came from London's Victoria & Albert Museum Shop. They sold out! Then reordered and have had many more orders & sell out designs since. In 1958 as a textile design student at the Royal College of Art I spent many hours studying the V&A's superb textile collection. It is wonderful to now see Shirt Story in the V&A Shop all these years later.
My granddaughter Josephine and I have slowly built Shirt Story together, we enjoy travelling in India in search of inspiration and working on new ikat designs. Family, handmade textiles, beautiful simple design and sustainable ethical fashion are the predominant characteristics of Shirt Story.
One of the most special things about Shirt Story is the familial love for design that has passed down through generations and I’m so proud to be able to share this with the world through our shirts. I have inherited a love for art, fashion & India from my family. So much of my inspiration has been from my grandmother who has shown me how to curate aesthetically beautiful chaos in every aspect of life: experimental cooking, bold photography, storytelling using alternative mediums, quirky fashion choices and an unconditional open door policy to artists from all over the world.
When this wardrobe experiment of Granny’s began it was totally unknown to the both of us that we would end up as business partners. Granny was wearing our now aptly named “Adya” (meaning Perfect, First Power) shirt in the kitchen in her flat in London and I proclaimed that ALL of my friends would want one! Having worked at Thomas Pink as Assistant to the Creative Director a few years earlier, it was clear to me that this was an iconic shirt and the start of something special. I helped her with the first order from the V&A Shop and Shirt Story was born soon after.
I am a creative soul with a love for making things and always dreamed of having my own business. I could have only wished it would combine my love for fashion, storytelling, travel, creativity and family so I feel very blessed. I’m passionate about caring for sustainability in society & the environment and this has become part of the DNA of Shirt Story. I hope striving for slow fashion means my future grandchildren will enjoy wearing Shirt Story without a care in the world.