“Wearability”, “quality”, “consistency”, “quiet luxury”…These words are tripping off Jane Lewis’s tongue with barely a pause for breath. Of course I’m hanging on to every word. As the founder and designer of Goat, Lewis has been translating those words through her collections for the last ten years. Famous for her immaculate trousers, tailored knits and precise tunic dresses, she has created a successful business where her customers keep coming back. “There’s theatre of fashion and there’s wearability and there’s a difference,” says Lewis, in between bites of sushi during my showroom visit. “Our collections are made in Britain and everything’s the highest quality. These are building blocks for a wardrobe. A pair of our trousers will absolutely move forward with you; they’re your everyday trousers that you put with somebody else’s top and you can mix them with anything. Quiet luxury is the nicest way to dress.”
In ten years Goat has seen and kept up with the broader changes in fashion. At the moment the brand is enjoying a colour renaissance, so its popular Kendal dress and sleeveless tops in intense lipstick pinks and jade greens are likely to be big hits when they arrive at Bicester Village on 21st March as part of the third British Designers Collective pop-up boutique. Dresses are also more popular than ever. “Fashion is so cyclical. Now we have an unbelievable dress business because it’s a one stop outfit. You want a dress to take you to a work meeting then a dinner party. Literally you just change the shoes and bag and a dress can work five different ways.”
Seeing them up close, it’s easy to see why Goat’s minimalist, slightly a-line, post-60s silhouettes are so popular. Immaculately tailored, they’re flattering and versatile and although not ‘fashion’ they nod to the current vogue for demure, couture-lite silhouettes. “People always like that tunic-y shape as well as the more retro, feminine, slim waist style’ agrees Lewis. “The simplest things are hardest to achieve. When you’re working with solid block colours and structured pieces, there’s not much room for error.” A savvy business woman, Lewis has a clear cut editing system in place to determine which pieces make the grade in each collection. “I get my team to ‘shop’ the collection and get their feedback. If we’re shopping the collection successfully then that to me will sell.”
Goat is part of this year’s British Designers Collective at Bicester Village which is open from 21st March to 10th May. A collaboration between Bicester Village and the British Fashion Council, other designers confirmed include Preen, Bella Freud, Jonathan Saunders, Lulu & Co, Nicholas Kirkwood and Peter Pilotto.
Read FIFTEEN MINUTES WITH BELLA FREUD here