With the Selvedge Fair in Pendle fast approaching, we have a quick catch-up with Fiona at The Stitch Society, who will be exhibiting on the day...

Tell us a little bit about what you do.

The Stitch Society designs and manufactures premium, luxury work aprons for artisans around the globe. We launched two years ago by creating a unique apron design featuring a large pleated pocket and following its overwhelming popularity its pattern was patented. All of the Society’s garments are made from the highest quality, most luxurious and durable sourced cloths.

What’s your background?

The Society's founder Charlotte has a background in marketing, textiles and design and has successfully turned her passion for piles of remnants into the fabric of her working life. The Stitch Society launched while she was recovering from cancer five years ago, and she chose to follow a path she knew would make her happiest - designing and creating.

How have you built up such a major following?

Our biggest success has been developing relationships with our customers. We take any feedback very seriously and often work with customers to create their perfect apron. We’ve also been involved in developing The Textile Academy at Keighley College, where we’ve created a teaching program that reflects the real skill-set needed in today’s market place. Our passion for textiles has been key in the success of the project. We’re passing on the skills, knowledge and passion for textiles that we hope will ignite a new generation of textile enthusiasts. The project is an on-going programme expanding from training industrial machinists this year to launching the apprenticeship programme this autumn.

What do people say about your aprons?

The best compliment we have received was when someone described them as ‘aprons with soul’. Who are your inspirations? There have been many who have inspired our work along the way, but the biggest influence in my life was my grandmother who gave me the skills and confidence in sewing, designing and just having a go with textiles. She demystified the whole process, making it seem simple and allowing me to create whatever I wanted - that was the biggest gift anyone has ever given me.

What’s been your biggest challenge?

Being your own boss is phenomenally hard work at times, but the upside is that you are the master of your own destiny. I have been incredibly lucky to work with some great people, find amazing suppliers and love meeting the customers at fairs such as Selvedge. I wouldn’t want to do anything else.

To find out more about the Selvedge Fair in Pendle and to book your tickets, click here.

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