Autumn/Winter Collection is nearly here!

Our Autumn/Winter Collection is being printed as we speak and we are so excited to see the final collection completed.

This collection has been inspired by feathers from pheasants which we can regularly view from outside the studio which is based on the farm, and also peacock feathers. Experimenting with the unique colours produced by both birds, intwining & manipulating the feathers together to create distinctive beautiful patterns. 

Heres a sneak peak of what this collection has to offer.

 

PART OF THE LOCAL FABRIC

LUCY Sheringham is as at home in a tractor as a design studio. The young designer, who moved back to Norfolk last year, is combining fashion with farming, working on the family farm near Swaffham and her design brand, Lucy Sheringham, dedicated to creating prints to produce scarves made in the UK.

‘Having graduated with a BA (Hons) in Multi-Media Textiles from Loughborough University, I gained invaluable knowledge and experience in high-end fashion, whilst working for Jonathan Saunders, Philip Treacy and Tatty Devine,’ says Lucy.

‘This led to the decision to start up my own company in June 2014. I moved back to Norfolk and set up a studio on the family farm from where I run the business. I have designed a collection of digitally printed silk scarves and a smaller range of silk/ cotton scarves.’

The farm has inspired Lucy’s Spring/Summer collection: ‘I named each scarf after each field on the farm, including Western Wells, Ladylands and Old Pasture.

‘Designing your own collection is a highlight for me, being able to express your own design ideas without any limitations.’ You can buy Lucy’s work from www.lucysheringham.com

How to juggle farming and fashion design

There can’t be many fashion businesses run from the cab of a tractor, but one woman is doing just that, as Mary-Vere Parr discovers.

Lucy Sheringham has an unusual job title – arable farmer cum fashion designer. 

With her father, James, and two full-time employees, the 26-year-old works the family’s 283 ha (700 acre) Corbetts Lodge Farm near Swaffham in Norfolk, and contracts a further three arable farms, totalling 809 ha (2,000 acres).

At the same time, she has set up her own eponymous business designing and selling silk scarves.

See also: What’s hot in ag student style

“When we’re really busy on the farm, like in harvest, I sometimes have to deal with orders while corn-carting,” says Lucy. “You’ll see my tractor parked up in the yard while I dash into the office to process an order.

“But most of the time, I am lucky that I can work designing and getting stock ready in the quieter months so I’m ahead of the game for the busy times.”

From corn-carting to exhibitions

Lucy admits that she couldn’t combine the two careers if the family business were a livestock enterprise. But turning her hand to corn-carting in the summer and cultivating in the autumn, she can work the peak periods on the farm and devote the winter to designing her silk scarves, getting stock ready and attending trade shows like Top Drawer at conference centre Olympia London.

These two disparate worlds have always co-existed for Lucy. “Growing up on the farm, I was always interested in fashion and decided to pursue what I loved.

So I did a textiles degree at Loughborough University and then spent a year working in London for designer Jonathan Saunders, milliner Philip Treacy and jeweller Tatty Devine. 

Lucy has always been very down-to-earth, as adept at learning how to drive a tractor with her father as running up a hem on a sewing machine with her mother Lynn. “It helps in both jobs to be good with your hands,” she says.

“While working in London, I was back every weekend helping out and having long conversations with my parents about whether I could move back and combine the two careers, farming and fashion.”

Farm inspiration 

Last year, she moved into a farm cottage and set up her studio on the farm.

“The view from my studio is a wood and a field – everything that inspires me. But being a stone’s throw from the farmyard means that if Dad wants me to move a bag of fertiliser or something, I can down tools and pop out.” 

“In the fashion world, people are fascinated that I come from a farm and can’t believe that I sit on a tractor.” 
Designer and arable farmer Lucy Sheringham

Lucy launched her first collection in July last year, a range of nine silk scarves featuring designs derived from photographs of frozen water taken around the farm.

“I have always taken photographs around the farm, especially at harvest,” she says.

These she reworks on her computer, layering images over each other and adjusting colours to create abstract patterns.

These are digitally printed on to silk rolls at a printer in Middlesex and then cut to size and hemmed by Lucy in her farm studio.

Unique selling point

The first Lucy Sheringham spring-summer collection featured blue and purple designs, each named after a field on Corbetts Lodge Farm: Priory, Western Wells, High View Old Pasture, Bobs Folly, Upper Meadow, Ladylands, Clover and Garden Piece. 

“The farm is my inspiration and also, to coin a phrase, my unique selling point,” Lucy says.

“In the fashion world, people are fascinated that I come from a farm and can’t believe that I sit on a tractor,” she laughs.

“They’re a bit surprised, but really interested and keen to find out how it all happens. They never expect that I got that idea while working in a field, but I think that makes me more unique and makes me stand out.

“I am a sociable person so it’s odd that I have chosen to work alone and in farming as it’s one of the loneliest professions,” she says. 

TV stars

I love going to trade fairs and learning from experienced designers there.” She is chuffed, that at Olympia London, stars from TV’s Made in Chelsea tried on her scarves.

“To start with, I was pathetic and took criticism to heart. Now I’ve got tougher and learned to take it on board and move on. But the fashion world is not friendly or polite.” 
Lucy Sheringham

“But back at home I have to get my head down to get enough stock ready to send out when website orders start coming in and I am busy on the farm.

“My wardrobe has two sides: one side fashionable, the other just jeans, jumpers and the gilet I live in on the farm and in my studio,” she says.

But the farm wins hands down as the better work environment.

“Farming is so much more pleasant and friendly,” Lucy says.

“I have worked alongside – and learned so much from – my Dad and our two farmworkers. That doesn’t happen in the fashion industry. To start with, I was pathetic and took criticism to heart. Now I’ve got tougher and learned to take it on board and move on. But the fashion world is not friendly or polite.”

Lucy is working on her 2015 autumn-winter collection, a shooting-themed, feather-based pattern in bronze, gold and brown to be printed on silk and wool.

She is experimenting with smaller sizes than the 130x130cm silk squares of her first collection, sold for £120 a pop. “With a business start-up, it’s important to respond to what customers are saying,” Lucy says.

“But I think they like the scarves big so they can wear them in their own ways.”

Expansion

If the business expands, what will she do? “It has the capacity to grow, as has the farm,” Lucy says.

“But I have learned that you have to start with one product and once the orders start to rack up you can start to grow. Getting your name out there is the first challenge.

“In fashion it’s hard to delegate, but if the business does take off I could get a student in to help – lots of people want an internship in the fashion industry.”

But for now, farm work will always have to come first, she insists. “For one thing it funds my business set-up.”

Her father James backs her up. “Most of the year Lucy can work around the farming,” he says. “We couldn’t manage without her and it’s nice to have the new generation coming in and looking through fresh eyes.”

“I used to get odd looks driving a tractor,” Lucy admits. “But I don’t see why people are shocked as more and more women are going into farming. Mine is a strange combination of careers, but I don’t see why I can’t do both. You just have to work very hard.”

Eastern Daily Press Article - Fashion & Farming

A big thank you to the Eastern Daily Press (EDP) for the lovely article on Farming & Fashion! 

 

Designer is balancing twin passions for farming and fashion

Fashion designer Lucy Sheringham, who has set up a business making silk scarves, will now divide her time between farming at her family farm in Necton, and designing. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Chris Hill, Agricultural, Food And Farming EditorFriday, January 16, 2015 

It’s a common theme for farming families... how to continue the agricultural tradition when the younger generation decides to pursue a different career. But one Norfolk farmer-turned-fashion designer has proved it does not need to be a choice – you can do both.

Lucy’s home farm is design inspiration

Lucy Sheringham’s unique designs are derived from photographs of frozen water taken around her home farm.

She re-draws the patterns, and layers them over each other on a computer, altering the colours to create the abstract blue and purple designs which feature in her first spring/summer collection.

There are nine digitally-printed designs and each is named after a field on Corbetts Lodge Farm: Old Pasture, Bob’s Folly, Upper Meadow, Clover, Ladylands, Garden Piece, Priory, Western Wells and High View.

Her autumn/winter collection will have a country sports theme, with tweed greens and pheasant-feather motifs.

“I get lots of ideas from the farm and I am always photographing around harvest time,” she said. “That is what I explain to people at the trade show. They are a bit surprised, but really interested and they ask a lot of questions. They never expect that I got that idea while working in a field, but I think that makes me more unique and makes me stand out.

“The idea that I would go out and sit on a tractor… they were pretty surprised at that too but most were really interested as well and were keen to find out how it all happens.

“Initially they thought of that twee image of a farmer with a bit of straw hanging out of the corner of their mouth. But then I explained the size of the operation and how big and expensive the machinery is that I’m using here. We just bought a £240,000 combine and people are horrified at how much they cost.”

Miss Sheringham’s future ambitions could include branching out into clothing design.

“I would like for the business to get bigger, but I have learned that you have to start with one product and once the orders start to rack up you can start to grow,” she said. “It has got the capacity to grow, as has the farm.”

At first glance, farming and fashion design would seem an unlikely pairing of career choices.

But those diverse threads have been sewn together seamlessly by one Norfolk farmer who proves that creative ambition should not stand in the way of family tradition, for those who want to maintain their agricultural heritage.

Lucy Sheringham swapped a life among the fashion elite of London to set up her own business making silk scarves back at the family farm in Necton, near Swaffham.

The diversification allows her to manage the new enterprise while continuing her vital role in the day-to-day running of the 700-acre arable farm which her family has been running for 30 years.

Miss Sheringham said she is equally at home mingling with London fashionistas or getting her boots dirty out in the fields – something which has come as a surprise for her industry contacts and boutique customers.

But the enterprising 26-year-old says there is a mutual link between the two halves of her working life, and that each can benefit the other.

The farm is both her shared passion and the inspiration for her work, with her designs rooted in rural scenes. It gives her products a unique selling point which could help her stand out in a crowded market place.

And even though she may occasionally have to leave her tractor to process a customer order, her ability to continue working on the land could offer a route to succession when her father James nears retirement, helping to safeguard the future of the family business.

“It is a strange combination, but I don’t see why people can’t do both,” she said. “You just have to work very hard. Not everyone is interested in agriculture, but I think it is important to carry on our family farm.

“I know that I am very fortunate to be able to have a studio on the farm, but it works both ways. I learned from my dad about driving tractors but I can help him on the computer side and the office side.

“The two things seem to be mixing quite well. If dad needs me to do something I can just pop out of the studio to grab a bag of fertiliser or something.”

But would there be a conflict of priorities if, for example, a big order arrived while she was in the middle of combining the farm’s wheat crop?

“If that was the case, the harvest would come first,” said Lucy. “I could get some help in – lots of people want an internship in the fashion industry, and then there’s always my mother (Lynn). But harvest would always come first. It has to.

“I started in July, which is almost the worst time to do it. I was taking orders on my phone while we were working. You would see my tractor parked on the driveway while I’m running into the office to sort it out.”

As well as their 700-acre Corbetts Lodge Farm – which grows wheat, oilseed rape, winter barley, sugar beet and spring beans – the family also carry out contract work on another 900 acres of neighbouring land, and oversees a farm business tenancy on a further 330 acres.

Miss Sheringham’s father James, 55, said: “It is always harvest time that’s the bottleneck. Apart from that, we can work around it.

“Cultivation and drilling is not constant, so most of the year Lucy can work around the farming. We couldn’t manage without her.”

Mr Sheringham’s other daughter Kate, 23, is working for a publishing company in London.

He said there was never any guarantee that any farmer’s children would choose to carry on the family business – in fact the Sheringhams carry out agricultural operations for one such family where the next generation has decided not to pursue a career on the land.

“Out of two daughters, it is nice to have one who is keen on working on the farm – although they both enjoy it,” he said. “It might help with succession.

“There are more women coming into farming, and there is no reason why they cannot. It is more about machinery and being technologically savvy. Farming is changing all the time, so it is nice to have the new generation coming in and looking through fresh eyes.”

Miss Sheringham finished her textiles degree at Loughborough University in 2013 and then worked for a year in London, learning the ropes from a broad spectrum of high-end fashion companies, including designer Jonathan Saunders, milliner Philip Treacy, and jewellery firm Tatty Devine.

She said: “I knew that this was what I wanted to do, but I also missed the farm. I was always coming back at the weekends to help out, and I know they need me. So I decided to set up on my own, and do the farming at the same time.

“I have got the farming side from my father and the fashion and textiles side from my mother. She has helped me to set it all up and she has a good eye for design.”

This week, the designer took some samples to the Top Drawer trade show in Olympia, where visitors to her stand included Oliver Proudlock and some of his fellow stars from TV show Made in Chelsea, who tried on the scarves and helped drawing attention to the business.

“They are the sort of people who I think would buy them, so they were the perfect people to endorse those products,” she said.

Top Drawer London

Just back from Top Drawer Trade Show! 

We had an amazing time at Top Drawer, showcasing the Spring/Summer Collection. A great experience to meet buyers, the press and other exhibitors. Thank you to everyone who visited the stand. 

A few images from the show. 

Magazine Publicity

We're so pleased to have been featured in Norfolk On My Mind Magazine in the Christmas gift ideas pages. And to Red Magazine for the feature in the Fashion & Accessories pages! Thank you to both magazines for the great publicity. 

Norfolk On My Mind 

Norfolk On My Mind 

Red Magazine 

Red Magazine 

Top Drawer London

We are very excited to be showcasing at Top Drawer London on the 11th-13th January 2015. The show is held at Olympia London. We're on stand 706 so do come and say hello! 

For more information see the link below. 

http://topdrawer.co.uk/

 


Launch Party Photographs

Thank you all who came on Sunday for the Launch of my Spring/Summer Silk Scarf Collection it was great to see you all! How lucky we were with the weather! 

Canapes and pimms on the lawn on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Mannequins were dotted around the farmhouse and the garden for people to view. A big thank you once again to BIGPHATPHOTOS for taking some photos from the event.   

My website is now officially live so do take a look! 

Launch Party

So I have been planning my Launch party for my Spring/Summer 2014 Silk Scarf Collection, which will take place on the 8th June. 

The launch will take place in a beautiful empty farmhouse with mannequins drinks and canapés dotted all over the empty rooms. This is an opportunity for people to view the collection first hand before the website goes live. 

Thank you to everyone who is coming to support, I look forward to seeing you there! 

Mannequins at the ready

Spring/Summer 2014 Photoshoot

So I have finally got my blog up and running, and thought I would start with my S/S 2014 Collection. 

My photographs were taken by BIGPHATPHOTOS, a big thank you to them for taking such beautiful photographs, and for making shooting so enjoyable. Shooting the scarves was great fun experimenting with the many different ways you can wear a scarf. 

Thank you to my beautiful model Fern Anderson and for everyone who helped on the day.