Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

My fashion life - Catrin Watkins

The head of design for young fashion brand Paper Dolls has a passion for vintage clothing.

You’re the designer for the Little Mistress Group’s brand Paper Dolls - what’s the best thing about your job?

First, it would be designing. I could design every day of the week and it’s great working with such a brilliant team.

What trends are you working on now?

Our next collection will involve more soft separates and matching sets as we are seeing a huge success in this area, and working with some abstract prints. We’re even popping in some vintage-inspired designs with the influence of pin-up girls.

Which pieces tend to be the fail-safe bestsellers?

At the moment, the body-con trend is still working very well for us, and lace will always play a strong role.

You also consult for another of the group’s brands, Girls on Film. How involved are you with the design process?

At the moment we produce in China and the UK. My main focus is to be working and growing the China side, especially as I lived in China for a year designing.

You work closely with [chief executive officer] Mark Ashton. Can you tell us something about him that might surprise us?

He used to be menswear manager of the Armani store in Manchester, and while there dressed David Beckham - he’s a bit of a stylist at heart.

If you could design a dress for anyone in the world, who would it be?

I admire so many inspirational women who are stylish. From Dita Von Teese to Gwen Stefani, I love women who express themselves through fashion and continually set trends.

You were the founder of womenswear brand Maggie & Me, which closed in 2012. Would you consider starting another brand yourself?

I would love to. As it so happens, I’m talking with Mark about a huge opportunity that would be very different from the current brands under the umbrella.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

From all over. I’m lucky to travel a lot and get to see different styles and fashion from all over the world. I love Pinterest and Instragram as you get to see so many different viewpoints, but it could even come from the tube ride to work in the morning.

Where’s your favourite place to travel?

There are so many places I would love to go, but top of my list is Asia. If I could go away tomorrow, I’d head straight for Bangkok.

You also own vintage store Found Loved on Cheshire Street, just off Brick Lane in east London. What made you move into retail?

I worked in retail through my teenage years and loved to be face to face with customers. With such a passion for vintage clothing and having a growing vintage wardrobe, I felt it was time to share amazing hand-picked clothing with others. As a young girl I always dreamed of having my own fashion brand and store.

Why vintage?

I’ve always loved vintage clothing, and was inspired by photos of my nana and my mother and their stories of fashion. I was given a dressing-up box from a young age, which had so many wonderful pieces and helped me fall in love with different eras of fashion.

What’s the best vintage piece you’ve ever found?

My favourite piece is something I was lucky enough to have given to me, and it isn’t for sale. It hangs on the wall in the store as
a piece of art. It’s a 1960s Petite Française [a British label] dress that was given to me by my grandmother. She wore it to my parents’ wedding.

Where is your favourite place to shop?

Of course I would say my own store first, but my favourite place in the world to shop is Toyko. There is not only great fashion, but so many inspirational, stylish people.

Are you a trousers or skirt kind of person?

I’ve always been a jeans kind of girl, but lately I’ve been loving wearing pencil skirts or flowing midi skirts. To be honest, it depends on my mood - so now I would say I’m both.

Do you prefer working as a buyer or designer?

My first love will always be designing, but working as a buyer for my store has given me a new dimension and inspiration. But it also links closely, as when you design you need to think like a buyer and understand what the customer will want and
what will sell.

What is your favourite brand?

I have an eclectic sense of style and have always mixed vintage with high street and designer. My favourite brand would be Alexander McQueen or Vivienne Westwood. Their eccentricity and creativity are the epitome of London design.

How do you like to spend your weekends?

Most of my weekends I spend in my store, as I love seeing people try things on and their happiness in their finds. If I’m not in the store, I love to spend time with my family and friends.

If you weren’t in fashion, what else would you be doing?

I can’t even think of not being in fashion, but when I was younger I would always say either I will be a fashion designer or a cartoonist for Disney.

Have you got any good jokes?

No. I’m awful at jokes as I can never remember the endings.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.