Made in Chelsea’s Louise Thompson and Edward Page talk all things Pocket London and personal style
It’s just before 9am as we make our way to meet Pocket founders Louise Thompson and Edward Page at an apartment in East London. As the door is opened we forget that the sun is only just beginning to breathe its light over the city outside as inside there’s a beautiful musky haze of incense and tea lights.
Today the company will be shooting their new collection lookbook. Evidently at ease discussing clothing ensembles and trends, Edward is busy making preparations for the day with photographer Zoe Lower and model Clary Moore, but makes time to sit with us to discuss the past, present and future of Pocket.
With no prior business experience, Edward had a novel way of learning the ropes: “I used to watch a TV show called ‘How To Make It In America’, which was about two guys who start a fashion brand, so I tried to follow what they were doing on there”. He laughs as he explains that he was then left to go it alone when the series got cut. With best friend and housemate Louise Thompson on side the pair have obviously done just fine without their fictional counterparts.
Born over lunch in Edinburgh, Pocket is as simple as it is novel, aiming to build on the staple jean by introducing a coloured pocket. “It’s high end fashion made more high street”. Already Pocket jeans are evolving from the block colours of the first collection to fantastic prints designed by Maya Finkelstein Amrami. Called the Spirit of London, the new prints illuminate a drab, cold, dingy city: “they take street art and things that many people think are a mess and say you know what, that should be a part of the city, it’s beautiful, go with it”.
Indeed, Pocket not only sells jeans, but promotes a certain lifestyle along with it. It’s a lifestyle led by those who are perhaps a bit artistic, who are willing to get in to London culture, who aren’t afraid to wear the brand’s more bold designs. Alongside the main seasonal collections, Edward, Louise and other creatives (including today’s photographer Zoe) design smaller capsule collections throughout the year: “this is more for us and the people who follow us. We can do anything which is quite fun”.
Off to New York to film a special series of Made in Chelsea in three days, Louise suddenly rushes in straight from the gym, but gets stuck in to work straight away: “I told him I didn’t want that!” she grumbles of the lining in a sample top. Relaying to the room that she’s trying to fit a million and one things in before she leaves for the US we ask Louise the obvious question: how do you have time for both Made In Chelsea and Pocket? “I don’t”, is her immediate answer, “that’s why I’m so lucky to have Ed”.
Calmer, Louise settles in a chair to have her make up done by Andrea Gomez Anzola for the photo shoot. (Louise is founder / designer / model / superwoman of Pocket). Continuing our previous conversation we wonder if there will come a point where either Made In Chelsea or Pocket will have to take a back seat. “The show is such a success I’d be mad to leave it, but I would never quit the brand either because I can see it growing – even if it’s at a slow, steady pace. I’m not in a rush”.
But a whirlwind life in the media and fashion world was not always the plan for the 24-year-old. Louise tells us she was intending on working in the City as a banker, getting the tube to work every morning in a boring suit. Having said this, she remembers that as a teenager she would always read fashion blogs – “I just thought they were the coolest people ever” – and has always struggled with the idea of working for someone else, so perhaps Pocket was always on the horizon.
Louise gets particularly excited by the fact that she can essentially make anything she wants now. “Recently I’ve got to a point where I only want to wear things that I’ve made!” She gushes over the idea of adding feathers and embellishments and cut outs to clothes as and when she fancies. So how would she describe her personal style? She worries that in the past she’s tried to be too experimental, so she’s recently made a move back to monochrome simplicity. Stressing that smart, clean clothes always look good, Louise cites her Made In Chelsea co-star Rosie Fortesque as her inspiration for a glamorous, polished look.
Most important, she claims, is the fit of one’s clothes. (“I’ve worn ill-fitting clothes for so long just because I thought it was cool or had nice packaging”). This is a principle that she and Edward have endeavoured to stick to in designing Pocket jeans, although they admit it was a risk given making the perfect fitting pair of trousers is near-on impossible – “obviously everyone has completely different shapes!”
They believe that Pocket jeans’ slim fit cut flatters everyone, so how would Louise style them for a night out in Chelsea? “The Persica ones are so bold they basically speak for themselves; paired with a black fitted top you’re set to go”. She smiles remembering a night out with a friend who was wearing the jeans: “she got so many compliments, I thought ‘these are obviously a hit!’” She also suggests that the designs showcased in the day’s photo shoot would look great with a tan, and advises only ever wearing white rather than black with pastels.
Styling advice abundant (sunglasses can make any outfit look glamorous, ladies), Louise also offers advice to budding entrepreneurs and designers just before we leave: “don’t give up, and don’t be afraid to change your mind”.