I recently bought Wren the Bude trouser by Tootsa MacGinty from a great local kids shop. I was intrigued by the name (as we live in Bude) and wondered if they were a local company. A quick google told me no, they're based in London, but no doubt designer Kates' love of surfing inspired the name (this is a major surfing area!) I am very impressed with the quality and style of the trousers and bought them, fully intending that they would eventually be passed down to little brother Fred. It turns out that all Tootsa MacGinty's clothing (apart from a few dresses) is unisex. Kate founded the brand in reaction to the overwhelming genderisation of children's clothes – sludgy colours and camouflage for boys and glitzy princess themes for girls. “I believe our world is filled with colour, and everything is a possibility,” she says, “children like colour, they have big imaginations, they enjoy pretending, they love to dream and for them the world is full of possibilities. I don’t intend to limit their imaginations or make their world smaller by putting them in a sea of pinks and blues, or clothes that look like they were meant for adults.” I couldn't agree more and contacted Kate to find out more about the brand.
What inspired you to start Tootsa MacGinty? It’s a complete cliché but the birth of my daughter! And a subsequent return to living in London after living in Australia, the US and France since my late teens. I was working as a womenswear designer and was shocked by the stark gendering of children's wear and toys on offer on the British high street, so set about creating a stylish alternative. Where does the name come from? It is actually a term of endearment my daughter’s father uses. It is completely made-up gobbledygook! I didn’t want to choose a name that already had a preconceived connotation. I like that it is phonetic, sounds nice and looks good when written ….and is easy to Google! What are the ideas behind the current collection? The current Spring/Summer 2013 collection is inspired by the long summer holidays of childhood. In my memory they felt endless (no doubt, when my daughter starts school, as a parent they’ll feel eternal!) British seaside influences are found throughout the collection, such as the colourful “bunting” all over print, deckchair stripes, ice lollies, donkeys and sea creatures. What materials do you use and where do you manufacture? We always use natural materials (100% cotton, lambswool, cashmere etc.) and choose fabrics that wear and wash well; it is important that the garments will last to pass down to another child. We do most of our manufacturing in Portugal and a very small amount of denim comes from China. Everything is delivered softly pre-washed, itch free, pre-shrunk and ready-to-wear. What is your favourite thing to do with your daughter? Walking our big hairy sheep dog Rufus, going to see a good movie together (a bit of a rarity in kids film but when you see a good one it’s great to watch her little face light up!) Also, I like to get my running gear on and my daughter will jump on her scooter. No personal bests are ever achieved but it’s a good way to let off some steam. Plus baking and cooking – her favourite bit is the washing up! What is your favourite children's book? I love all the books by Allen and Janet Ahlberg. I read them as a child and now enjoy reading them to my daughter. Dr Seuss is great too. Fabulous to read-out-loud and always with a great moral story – The Lorax has felt particularly relevant of late. Does Tootsa MacGinty have any exciting plans for the future? We have extended our range up to a size 8 year old - available in late July/early August 2013. We've also just launched into the US market and I am looking forward to returning to New York this summer to build on the contacts and stockists we have already made.
Thank you Kate! Please visit the Tootsa MacGinty webshop here.