'Pushca Family' photo
HOW DO YOU DO
We are now so close to our launch – we will actually have a product to sell online in days. Blimey, that took some time…. Seriously it’s a long game fashion, at the best of times, but setting up a new business and weaving together all the elements just takes time. We started work on this brand back in Spring 2018 and here we are, finally.
So before we push the button, in this interlude, we thought we’d share a bit about Ric & I, who we are and what we did before.
Never in my life did I long to be in fashion. Have you too found yourself in a job/career that was not the game plan? I loved fashion and was lucky enough to wear labels of the moment when I was a young student. A multi-brand fashion buyer boyfriend (not that we used that ‘multi-brand’ terminology back in the day) ensured that I had an enviable wardrobe stuffed with the likes of Galliano, Gautier, Yohji et all. At that time studying interior design, what I learnt amongst how to draw furniture to scale, was to how to fully appreciate a well cut jacket and a good cloth.
I was a student @ The London College Of Furniture (now no more, its become the posh sounding Sir John Cass faculty of Art, Architecture and Design) and daily took the tube to Whitechapel to immerse myself in the world of interiors. Being a poor student, despite the illusion given from my designer wardrobe, my grim shared basement flat in Clerkenwell didn’t benefit from any of the inspirations.
Stupidly, in retrospect, I dropped out six months or so before the end of the course and left without the qualification. Dumb. Even dumber given that I did the exact same thing with my A Levels. I was too eager to get on with having a good time. “Slow down’ was a much used phrase by my Dad once I hit my teenage years. But by this time I’d long ago left home and the freedom was intoxicating.
When the opportunity arose I swiftly swapped the basement dive for a well-heeled Kings Road, Chelsea flat and the party began.
To be honest I can’t quite recall what I did for some years other than have a lot of fun. Clearly nothing remarkable. But I found myself working for a small but impressive interior design company in Wimbledon village. Designing show houses for a high-end developer was our core business coupled with the spin off’s from purchasers wanting the same. My boss, a good 20 years older than me, was an inspiration. She was beautiful, full of zest and treated me so kindly. I have for all the years since tried to imitate her leadership style. She loved spending time with young folk, respected them, and always found some way to build a little adventure in to the working day. That kind of attitude is infectious and has never left me. Have you been lucky enough to have had that someone in your career? Or maybe you are that person for someone.
Fast forward some years, to the end of the ‘80’s. I met Ric.
He was designing fashion and had a space in the legendary Kensington Market selling these bewitching sequin shirts made from Indian sari’s. Having set up his own fashion business at 18, he never worked for anyone. I think there is good and bad in that. The experience of learning some professional protocols I think can’t be underestimated. But I do think there is an upside; not ever being restricted by another and being able to follow your own vision breeds a certain determination and courage that is mighty useful in business. As his partner I’ve suffered and benefited from both.
We met at a time when the acid house scene was bubbling under. We had the time of our lives dancing till sunrise at illegal parties in highly questionable places. (Often me in one of his beautiful white silk sari shirt. I went through a few). We fell deeply in love.
I frequently skived off work and we’d hang out. He took me to meet the Turkish tailor who was sewing for him from a small North London studio and the gaggle of Indian women doing the same from their homes. The first time I’d seen a production line.
It was summertime, we were high with life and pretty much didn’t have a care in the world. I soon lost my job and he later his business. Hard to make a living when all you do is play.
We adored this new dance scene. The euphoric feelings around this emerging culture were hard to capture. Every weekend was a longed-for and unknowing magical adventure. We all wanted to be a part of it and everyone, from all walks of life, did. Unlikely friendships were formed. It was a time of freedom both physically and spiritually. We had found, without looking, a way to escape from the recession and Thatcher’s policies.
Amongst all the highs the unsafe-ness and filthy dirty-ness of the venues was a definite low. One toilet shared between a thousand or more didn’t add up to the best night out. We knew we could do it better.
In 1990 we launched Pushca. Pushca was a club night that believed in glamour and in doing things well. We convinced film studio owners across London to let us host our one-night wonders in their pristine gaff’s. It was the early 90’s and the British film & advertising industries were on their knees, so we were like a much-needed pay check. We always ensured the clean up team did a good job so they’d have us back. Owners liked us; these 2 young loved-up chancers who were bursting with ideas and stacks of cash.
Pushca moved around. Hosting a different themed party in a different London location each time. We built elaborate set’s, put on the hottest DJ’s, ran the strictest of door policies and created a unrivalled space for a one night wonder of a flamboyant mixed-gay party crowd of like-minded people. We had a statement on our flyers which said ‘Pushca is a mixed-gay club. If you have a problem with this Pushca is not for you’. Tickets were sold from Vivienne Westwood and sold out within hours.
On the back of this we created some smaller spin-off club nights in regular club spaces; ‘Bambina’ which happened every Saturday, and ‘Nancy’s’ which I think fell on Thursday nights. Plus we agreed to a monthly residency @ The Ministry Of Sound for 18 months. Still love James Palumbo’s quote (the owner of MOS), ‘Pushca is the Rolls Royce of clubbing”.
We were also invited to create parties for the fashionable end of the corporate world (record companies, advertising agencies etc). We cherry picked what we wanted to do It wasn’t about the money. We were flattered to be asked and wanted to deliver something extraordinary.
Alongside the London parties we took Pushca to Ibiza for a couple of seasons. We gave Pacha their busiest night in 7 years. Then were invited to return the following year to host a Friday night @ Privilege – a mammoth club space with a capacity for 10k clubbers. It was a wild time in every way and not always the non-stop happy party that one may think a club promoter is having. Behind the scenes there was a lot of crap to deal with. The juggle of shady club owners, slacking partners, unreliable staff, and just trying to run a business when the island is on siesta for 3 hours a day was no walk in the park. Getting up early to catch the morning shift each day ain’t so easy when you’ve only been in bed a few hours, if at all. However on reflection I think I’d say our days were imbued with equal parts of frustration and magic.
Pushca was a special and spectacular club night and something we are still proud of today. We ran it for almost 10 years before selling the brand in 2000 and openly admit to having had one hell of a good time. We were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.
A similar sentiment rings true with our next venture; no added sugar. Creating a kids fashion brand in 2001, at a time when the kids wear market was as dull as dishwater, was incredibly exciting. We’d ended Pushca and took some time out travelling to go figure what the next project would be. We returned, sold our flat in west London and bought a loft in Shoreditch whilst planning to open a bar up the road. Shoreditch was then only just starting to take seed and the opportunity felt right. A bar felt a natural progression from the parties. But I unexpectedly fell pregnant and bailed out. Ric continued but once the baby came life took on a different perspective, wasn’t that a surprise?!
The appeal of late nights in a bar paled. The ‘pin money’ project of creating slogan baby T’shirts accelerated way beyond our imagination and no added sugar proceeded to take over our lives for the next 17 years. To know more of that journey do read our very first blog post ‘Goodbye & Hello’.
So we arrive here in to our newly crafted world of The Middle Daughter. Our third business venture together. Creating a second kidswear brand with the decades of knowledge from the first feels a good starting point. We can begin at a place that suits us better. Do things differently and have the confidence to stick to our beliefs. There is no escaping that we love kids fashion. We have always loved that our product is all about the kids. What a privilege for a day job.
When we started out as a pair of young green club promoters, putting on one-off parties all those years ago we were determined to do it better than anyone else. I’m not sure that we have that same blinding ambition today but we do resolutely hold on to the intention to do something well. We certainly intend to create another thing to be proud of.