If there is one thing in common between the Royals in the UK, who appreciate the art of traditional dressing, and chic, in-the-know mothers all over the world, it’s Pepa & Co., a children’s wear brand that chooses to focus on quality over quantity and timeless design. With a new Fall collection on the horizon and a number of other exciting ventures in the works, we sat down with Founder Pepa Gonzalez to discuss her inspiration, the future of the brand, and of course, what little Prince George and Princess Charlotte are wearing.
How did you find yourself working in children’s wear? Was it something you wanted to pursue early on?
I was working in the marketing department for the Spanish Embassy in London when I began looking for my next role, which ended up being a nanny for affluent families in London for two years. That’s when I realized how difficult it was to find high quality, traditionally-styled clothing for babies and children. Knowing we had so many beautiful brands in Spain, in 2013 I decided to start importing them to the UK and selling them. From there, Pepa & Co. was born. I started sourcing specific pieces, researching factories, and finally I developed my own capsule collection.
Was the transition difficult going from nanny to owning and running a children’s fashion brand?
Of course, there are challenges, and on some days, you wonder why you’re doing it at all. However, it’s incredibly rewarding to speak to customers who love their pieces enough to want to hand them down to future generations.
The clothes are so traditional in their style and beautifully made. From where do you draw your inspiration when designing?
Most of the pieces in the collection are meant to be timeless and traditional. I strive to bring back vintage inspired looks for children from previous generations; what our parents and we once wore as children. Soft colours and classic cuts that aren’t too fussy always serve as inspiration for my designs. Luckily, my mother kept suitcases full of my brothers’ and my childhood clothing, which serve as a constant source of inspiration.
What differentiates Pepa & Co. from other children’s wear brands?
Our obsessive commitment to quality, fit, and use of the finest textiles. Our smocking is all done by hand in a family-run factory in Spain by a group of grandmothers who have been making clothing for their own families for generations. We keep to a very traditional, conservative look so you’ll always find beautiful Liberty prints, peter pan collars, mariner stripes and gorgeous knits.
How has having children of your own influenced your perspective when designing?
Let’s just say that my son, Mathew, has a very full wardrobe! When producing clothes, it’s important to me that they remain traditional in style, while also being able to stand up to modern life. In other words, they must be washable, sturdy, and incorporate materials that resist pilling and pulling. That being said, I probably pay more attention now to buttons and fastenings. There’s nothing more frustrating than fiddling with a million buttons on a wriggling baby!
What is one of your favorite fashion moments?
There were actually two, both equally exciting knowing they will be immortalized forever. Seeing Prince George and Princess Charlotte wearing our clothing on their very first public engagement in Canada was a dream come true, as was designing the flower girl and page boy outfits for Pippa Middleton’s wedding. I also love seeing the images that come through on Instagram and when clients directly share how much they love our clothes.
How has business changed since the first time you spotted one of the Royals in your designs?
It certainly helped spring board us from being a “kitchen table start up” to a brand with a strong global platform. We now ship to over 100 countries, direct to consumer, all fulfilled from our team in the UK.
Why do you think you are one of the preferred brands of so many Royals?
I like to think that they appreciate my eye for traditional and conservative design. There is an expectation for their children to be seen a certain way in public and I help them achieve that. I’d also like to think that they wear Pepa & Co. for the fact that our clothes are made ethically, slowly, and with true integrity.
What’s next for Pepa & Co.?
In addition to launching Autumn Winter ‘21 right now, we want to find other ways to speak to our global customers through pop ups and collaborations, as well as expanding into different product categories. Stay tuned!