Saffron Hare

Saffron is wearing our Wellington top in Luxury Jacquard, £155 (Above) 


Describe your job in a few lines?
As Creative Director, I direct and manage the new fabric collections with our design teams. The nature of our business means I might be working across the current collection, the next one in the pipeline and starting work on the collection after that, it’s a fast moving industry. We are very lucky and possibly unique at James Hare because we have both interior and fashion fabric collections. Trends from the catwalk run almost parallel to those in interiors now. Our expertise in fashion fabrics informs our interiors collection, in particular the colour palettes - it’s the perfect partner. It keeps me on my toes but it’s exciting working across both industries.
I travel a great deal, both meeting suppliers and overseeing production but also selling the collection all over the world. I enjoy meeting customers the most.

The fabrics used for the curtains, cushions and chairs in the image are from James Hare's A/W 2018 collection, 'Hatton' (Right)

Were you always destined to join the family business?  
I am the fifth generation of the family to be involved. When I was younger I didn’t really think that would be the way my career would go but inevitably one gets drawn in to it. James Hare has everything - a British heritage and obviously a strong family ethos so in the end I couldn’t resist any longer and actually it’s a huge privilege to be part of it. I have worked there now for 20 years but everyone starts at the bottom, even the family and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I have learnt all aspects of the business from every department and that’s invaluable knowledge to draw on.
Tell me more about your working day and what special projects you are currently working on?

I am at my desk by 8am unless I’m travelling. Every day is different; I don’t always know how the day will unfold. Often there are deadlines to meet and lots of meetings but then I might need to turn my attention to something else unexpectedly. That’s what makes a day fun and I really enjoy a sense of achievement especially when a collection is finalised and I can present it to the team.  Although by then my head is probably already immersed in the next one. 

We are working on September 2019 already and considering introducing wallpapers to complement our wallcoverings. Increasing the silk and artificial silk collections and launching more trims are also in the pipeline.

 

What are your career high’s and low’s?

My career high is every time we have a successful collection, I am really chuffed when this happens as collections take 18 months to put together so a huge amount of work goes into them.  Career lows, there are too many..

 

What do you look for in people when you are interviewing them for new roles?

I like to employ people who are more capable then me and who will do a better job than I ever could. 

Saffron is wearing our Keswick top in White, £65, and Kirby skirt in Teal, £98 (Left)

 

What do you think your own weaknesses are?

That is easy!  I spread myself too thinly and take on too much.  Letting go is something which has taken me far too long to learn.

 

What piece of career advice would you give your 20 year old self?

Get as much experience outside a family company as possible. I believe that family members should bring something to the table and joining the company should not be an inheritance right.

 

Describe your usual work style?

I have what I suppose you would describe as a capsule wardrobe and am a great fan of navy blue, I think this is because many years ago I was told it is less ageing.  Of course I am a huge fan of Libby dresses and the reason is very easy, they can be worn in all sorts of environments, which suits me because we have so many different types of customers. Libby clothes are easy to dress up or down. I know I will look smart but not overly business like, that’s not my style. They manage to strike a perfect balance and are incredibly comfortable. Shoes – flats unless I am going out. I don’t know how anyone wears heels all day. I am constantly on the move around the office so have to be practical.

 

The fabrics used for the wallcovering, headboard, cushions, throw, bench and curtains in the image are from James Hare's new A/W 18 collection (Right)  

 

What’s been your worst office fashion faux pas?

I cringe when I think of my pregnancy months. I stayed in non-maternity wear for far too long and not only felt uncomfortable but probably looked it too. Also, wearing heels at trade shows. That is a mistake you only make once.

 

Should office wear be fashionable or functional? 

I love clothes so for me every day is about looking good whether it’s a casual day or smarter. When I get dressed in the morning I want to look my best, but what I choose is very dependent on the day ahead and I think that would be true for anyone. Functional clothes can still be stylish and in the business I am in that’s important so I don’t think you can have one without the other.

 

What’s your fantasy alternative job?

A detective, I enjoy solving mysteries.

 

How do you keep a work life balance?

I am not sure that I have completely sorted this out yet.  Luckily as a business we are seasonal so the summer holidays are both a quiet time at work and obviously a great time to spend with the children.

 

Saffron is wearing our Exeter dress in Ocean print, £225 (Above) 

What are your favourite Libby dresses?

I like the Lewis dress in Navy and Yellow as it is simple and fun. In fact, I am wearing it today!

 

Saffron is wearing our Wellington top in Luxury Jacquard, £115, and Savoy trousers in Black, £130 (Right)

 

You can learn more about the James Hare company and view their products at http://james-hare.com/ 

 

Interview: Libby Hart

Photography: Mafalda Silva

Accessories: Saffron's own

Shot in Chelsea near LIBBY's Sloane Square store