MEET PAMPLEMOUSSE W/ ROSIE
Pamplemousse lingerie was founded in 2019 by Berlin based / Northern England raised, Rosie Simpkins. Rosie brings a fresh approach to lingerie design, and is part of the new wave of designers for whom creating with surplus material is a no brainer; aware of both the rich potential of existing materials and the huge waste problem in the industry. Rosie gave us an insight in to the journey she's been on with Pamplemousse, so far...
When did you start Pamplemousse, and what inspired you to?
Pamplemousse started just under a year ago when I moved to Berlin. I’d been thinking about making underwear for a while but didn’t really have the time until I moved here. I’ve made clothes my whole life but was getting bored of trying to be a fashion designer in London because it feels like that’s what everyone is doing. Also my options for nice underwear were very limited and realised I could just make my own, and so why not combine two of those negatives and make a positive by creating my own lingerie brand.
Tell us about the team behind the brand...
The team is just one Person, Rosie. I come from Manchester, UK. My favourite thing to do as a toddler was to dress up and do fashion shows for my mum and then from around 10 years old she taught me how to sew and so it’s the only thing I’ve ever really done. I studied fashion Atelier at UCA where I REALLY learned the importance of having clothes that are well made and designed for longevity not just a season.
I am so in love with what I do and honestly a bit of a control freak which works for me doing everything on my own because I really enjoy every part of it. I design, source materials, draft the patterns, make the pieces, take the pictures. I do have a couple of amazing female friends who I go to for help with little things sometimes. I always try to work with women as much as possible because I think it’s important to support each other and keep each other going.
What’s been your highlight for the brand so far?
I would say because the brand is still so new, the highlight for me is that it’s actually been successful enough that I have just been able to quit my part time job to be able to do this as my full time job. I’m quite overwhelmed by the fact that the brand is less than a year old and I have come this far. At the start of the year instead of doing New Years resolutions I wrote down some goals I wanted to achieve by the end of 2020 and most of them were career related. All of the goals I’d already surpassed after 6 months and I’m still in shock. I’m just so happy that other people understand my message for the brand and are into the things that I make. Because honestly I don’t think about any particular customer in mind when I design I just make the things I want to wear myself and feel comfortable in. So knowing other people need the same things too is amazing.
You see a lot of basic underwear like cottons and crop tops around these days. Your lingerie is completely different, with luxurious materials and shapes - what inspired this style?
It’s hard to say exactly where it came from. When I think about what I want to design I more just go with a gut feeling. I never draw anything down I just make what I see in my head. I’m also always driven by the fabrics I find. I source fabrics first and then think about what I can do with them. So far I’ve never used stretch fabrics because at university we just were taught how to make clothes without them, so I guess that’s the real reason I’ve stayed away. But also I’m just really in love with natural fabrics and so cottons and silks will always grab my attention before anything else. I think also training as a fashion designer I still think with my clothing brain rather than a lingerie brain so I’m probably also merging both to create something a bit more in the middle, which I think is refreshing.
I’ve always been obsessed with Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and I think I definitely have a bit of that ridiculous luxury vibe going on. I’m probably inspired a lot by that without realising. I think everyone should watch Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette if you’re interested in fashion at all because the outfits will bring you so much joy. That's what I watch instead of porn. That’s how I want to look every day.
Why did you decide to work with deadstock fabrics?
I am very eco conscious. I’m also very aware that the more stuff in general that’s created the more waste gets made. So my solution to that was to try and make lingerie out of whatever I could find that was already made (also another one of my reasons for doing lingerie was that most of the patterns are small enough to make out of scraps or leftovers). I decided to use deadstock fabrics because it’s taking someone else’s waste and making something beautiful and wearable from it! I also find fabrics from other places too. For example I use old or unwanted clothes, go to thrift stores and see what I can find. Recently I went to one of my favourite ones here in Berlin and found a load of really good quality table cloths that I used to make my Anais tops out of. During quarantine I also stole some of my boyfriends old bedsheets.
Do you find this limiting in any way when you design?
It’s limiting but I like the challenge. It makes it more interesting for me. I let the fabrics lead the design and it pushes me to really think about what I can do. I think otherwise I would just get stuck repeating the same things over and over again. Especially with lingerie it can be hard to be inventive and create something completely new because realistically that’s not going to happen. I just like to have fun and play around. I guess I’m still doing the same thing I used to do when I was toddler doing fashion shows for my mum, except now they’re for everyone on instagram haha
We believe Good Design means that 'creating a positive impact on people and the planet' is a central consideration in the design phase. How do you approach this at Pamplemousse?
Well mostly my sustainability comes from my fabric choices. But I’m constantly searching for ways I can be better. I've recently switched to using reusable and biodegradable packaging for online orders, and try to find organic or animal friendly fabrics as much as possible. I also have been wanting to get into natural dying which will hopefully happen in the very near future now I have a lot more time. With lingerie it’s a bit more difficult because it involves so many trimmings like elastics and hooks etc, which are never made sustainably, but whatever I can do I will.
What’s next for Pamplemousse?
Well. Honestly I have no idea. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I’m actually a full time designer and people are happy to give me their money to make them something. But now it is full time I really want to work on making more pieces and more styles. Because I was so restricted on time before I wasn’t as adventurous as I would have liked to be, so now I’m really excited to see what I can come up with. Hopefully in the next couple months I will have a website which will be great. In general I just take every day as it comes and don’t like to plan too far into the future because you never know what will happen, so it’s as much as a surprise for me as it is for everyone following Pamplemousse. I don’t know about everyone else but for me it’s very exciting!
You can find out more about Pamplemousse and shop the exclusive PARO collection here.