We can’t believe we have been making our ethical activewear for over 15 years, 17 to be exact! To mark our 17th birthday we wanted to share with you our journey from finding the perfect bamboo fabric to launching our bestselling Long Harem Pants. Here Alice Asquith, Founder and Creative Director, looks back on the journey of our ethical activewear to show you just how far we have come…
Asquith launches in 2002. I launched the range as sportswear in natural fabrics, with a ‘non-sporty’ look.
The first ethical activewear collection was a mix of soft tonal pinks and khakis with a great deep red wrap skirt made in Indian cotton voile; the softest fabric.
Our first brochure was shot in the society florist Stephen Woodham’s stunning garden, with 2 yoga teachers who modelled and were fantastic and patient – it was freezing out! The photographer, Circe, and I styled as we went along…it was great fun.
Asquith has a great 1/2 page feature in Metro, on my Grandmother’s birthday 2nd April – very poignant.
Marie Claire interview me for a ‘career change’ piece – from crime writing to fashion. I look uncomfortable in the picture because I was on crutches and in agony…hence the rather tense smile.
The 2003 shoot location was at my lovely friend Vix’s house in Holland Park. Friends and yoga teachers Kemi and Alex modelled. Both were beautiful, smiley women, we laughed a lot.
The cruise ship Queen Mary 2 launched – Asquith sells on board. They love the relaxed jersey and the soft lilac and rich grey and purple.
Natalie Imbruglia is a fan! Now magazine wrote a feature and Natalie writes me a lovely thank you letter for the clothes, which she wears for dancing and relaxing and travelling.
The Sunday Times interview me for a ‘business’ article. Quite unnerving but interesting. I talk about my brief fashion training; a 3-month Fashion for Business course at the Portobello Business Centre. A baptism of fire.
Marie Claire’s 15th birthday Alison Jackson Shoot. The Cami and Drawstring Pants are chosen for the Alison Jackson shoot showing David and Victoria Beckham. I’m thrilled as I’m a huge fan of Ms. Jackson’s work. Also Victoria Beckham! (and David).
Asquith sells in Harrods. We launch overseas, selling to the prestigious Sandy Lane in Barbados. Sadly, they don’t ask me to go out there and merchandise the range for them.
The 2004 Collection focuses on trims, satin ribbon and graded grosgrain. Inspired by my love of trims from VV Rouleaux in Sloane Square – a true Aladdin’s Cave.
Fabric magazine does an ‘at home’ interview.
The collection features the cotton voile Drawstring Pants, fabric from India. People STILL ask me about. I wish I could source that fabric again. It softened the more you wore it. And the ‘bell sleeves’ on the Wrap were SUCH a hit!
A lovely and generous Pilates teacher Lucy modelled for me along with my dear friend Scotia, who the photographer totally fell in love with. My girlfriend Gina models whilst 6 months pregnant and loves it. I realise then that the range is great for pregnancy and have some wonderful feedback from pregnant women all over the UK!
Hello! magazine features the collection.
Our first Vogue feature. A childhood dream for me to feature in Vogue. A special personal moment for me as I used to read Vogue with my grandmother from the earliest age.
Asquith moves into a studio below the Special Yoga Centre in Queen’s Park. A lovely space and we had an open door/house policy, which was wonderful, yoga teachers popped in all the time. A great little community.
I’m shot for a ‘what to wear’ feature for Woman & Home and I get to wear a fabulous Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress.
We have an absolutely fantastic season and attend the first OM Yoga Show…our stand was MOBBED! We were the only yoga clothing brand there other than Sweaty Betty. We ran out of stock… I sold the sweatshirt off my back.
After so many comments and requests we decided to do a pregnancy shoot in Queen’s Park. The clothes are so adaptable for pregnancy.
Asquith sells in George V hotel in Paris. An honour.
Asquith launches to an exclusive group of spa managers at Turning Point spa conference at the amazingly luxurious Shangri-La hotel in Cebu in the Philippines and puts on an amazing fashion show.
We launch the range at the Monaco Spa show– the smartest and most elegant show I will EVER exhibit at – our stand had views over the sea.
We launch in Ireland and visit numerous luxury spas around the Irish coast. Then we launch in Dubai at the Middle East spa show.
We launch bamboo bathrobes and bamboo towel sets for Christmas – a HUGE hit. I still love and wear mine. We sell the robes and Wellbeing holdall to Origins and spas worldwide.
Shoot the 2007 brochure at Kubu spa in Henley. An international crew; Russian, Italian and French…and a lot of fun!
I design a menswear line along with my friend Jsen Wintle and a womenswear range with the Givenchy designer Pearl Watt, with a few wonderful new styles including the jersey kaftan.
We do a very ‘fashion-y’ shoot in Wiltshire with a dozen models. Hot day. Hard work!
We launch the new organic cotton range and one bamboo yoga top; the new fabrics are an instant hit.
A new style Wrap Cardigan, the Drawstring Pants are brought back by popular demand!
The range launches in new countries; hotels and spas in Belgium, China and Switzerland.
We launch at three of the One & Only Hotels around the world as well as launching in Denmark and the Netherlands.
The Scandinavian market loves Asquith London’s organic cotton and bamboo fabrics.
I meet lovely yoga teacher Lisa in the Ladies’ Loo at the Yoga Show at Olympia and ask her to model for me! She accepts!
I visit our great new factory in Turkey. A great, hard-working team.
The new bamboo yoga tops are a great hit in 2010.
We launch the Autumn range at the Pure trade show in August 2011. The range is instantly picked up by 15 boutiques in the UK who really see the lifestyle potential.
We see our Twist Front Cardigan on the Pure catwalk. A proud moment!
My biggest Danish client suggests a style that ties at the ankle. I design the bamboo Tie Pants…they’re an instant hit and our new bestsellers!!!
We launch a new style Wrap cardigan; soft, drapey Bamboo, longer and very flattering.
The new Lifestyle styles go down a storm; the Twist Front cardi and Palazzo pants….and the Burnt Orange is a surprise hit! My beautiful Yoga Teacher and friend Tara Lee models the new range beautifully.
The Bamboo Scarf sells out.
September 12th – we launch Asquith on Facebook.
The autumn range is mobbed at the Yoga Show at Olympia in October! We have to order more stock in on day one.
We have a great feature in You Magazine to launch the new spring collection.
Asquith launches on Twitter.
I have a fun interview with The Ecologist, who love the ethos of the brand.
The new spring highlight colours, Taupe and Coral, are bang on trend; fresh and easy to wear. The new hit style….the Raglan Sleeve Top – now renamed the Be Grace Batwing.
Asquith now sells to 40 UK boutiques and over 22 stores around the world, including Finland Norway, Japan, Iceland, The Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Sweden.
Our new SS13 collection features in Victoria Woodhall’s book for Triyoga.
We move all our cotton to organic cotton fabrics. We develop and improve the hand feel of our bamboo.
I visit India for a meditation retreat and feel inspired by the colours.
We shoot Asquith for pregnancy clothing and launch our hugely popular tie-dye range.
Asquith works with Simon Lowe and the Hope Foundation in the summer, giving money to their wonderful charity and supporting their lovely Summer Garden event. We partner up with Asquith fan Lynne Robinson, founder of Body Control Pilates.
We’re proud to launch Asquith in all Triyoga studios in London and luxury Grayshott Spa. We also launch in Japan.
We launch our first major annual competition; winning a weekend for two at Grayshott Spa.
We launch our Asquith Ambassador programme for yoga and Pilates teachers.
We launch our first product online in time for Christmas; carefully selected yoga mats, bags, DVDs, eyemasks from ethical suppliers.
We launch Asquith in One & Only luxury resort hotels.
A new look Asquith – with a new website, new branding and new logo.
We wave goodbye to our Swarovski crystal logo. People still ask me why I did this. And it’s not cost. To me, the Swarovski contradicted the bamboo/organic nature of the brand and was a little too bling.
I study and regrade all our patterns and styles with a new highly experienced production manager and move our production to an ethical factory in southern Turkey.
April 2015 – we launch on Instagram.
The SS15 Tutti Frutti collection styles and colours are fresh and our customers, happily, love them! Our Be Grace Batwing is a huge hit and we have to remake it immediately.
After strong feedback, we introduce free returns.
We launch SS17 at Active Collective activewear trade show in California.
Asquith sells in exclusive Four Seasons Asia hotels.
We start working with in partnership with yoga and Pilates teachers making films that will interest our clients on health and wellbeing; food, posture, and Pilates, etc.
We shoot 3 films set in a Brazilian rainforest to launch SS16.
We’re interviewed by Vogue for an ethical fashion feature.
After much development, our unique natural performance fabric Bambor is born. A beautiful blend of bamboo, organic cotton and elastane. It’s breathable, soft but holds you in.
February 1st we launch our first ever catalogue.
We film 5 films to coincide with our 15th birthday. They feature our ethics, our fabrics and our lovely factory in Turkey.
Our Navy Divine Pants (with Coral and Ivory side stripe down the leg) become the fastest selling style in Asquith’s history!
I present Asquith on QVC – very nerve-wracking but a great experience
In Spring we kick off our Wow Woman series and feature inspirational women that our Founder Alice Asquith meets along the way.
We launch a series of recipes online from inspirational nutritionists such as Annie Clarke, Julie Montagu, Madeleine Shaw, Miss Nutritionist.
Our Asquith Adores Blogger Awards launches featuring the following categories, Eco and Ethical, Yoga and Pilates, Health and Wellbeing.
We shoot Catwalk films for the launch of Spring/Summer 2017 for the website so that we can really show the fit and quality of the styles to our customers.
Bamboo underwear is launched for Christmas…it’s a hit!
We hold our first Ayurvedic and yoga focused event with luxury health and wellbeing resort Ananda from the Himalayas. Pollen and Grace provide the food and the event is a roaring success!
Asquith commissions an Ethical Audit from Ethical Fashion expert Allanna McAspurn. Every aspect of the ethical journey of our ethical activewear is studied and made transparent to customers.
We launch our XXL size. As an all-inclusive brand, we now go up to size 18-20.
For Autumn we write our first Asquith Adores Book Club.
And now we can’t quite believe we are in 2019! Watch this space for all sorts of new developments for our ethical activewear.
And a huge thank you for your continued support…here’s to another amazing 17 years!