Chit Chat Friday with Dilli Grey
I met Vicky at a Mothers Meeting a few years ago. I had stood up and introduced myself and my business, then girlstalktoboys and needed some buyer contacts. Vicky came up to me after the meeting and introduced herself and said she knew several buyers I could talk too. I instantly felt comfortable with her. I felt like we had know each other for years. Vicky is truly one of the kindest, supportive, honest people I know and I have a great great deal of respect for her and what she is going with her business Dilli Grey.
Vicky has a natural eye for craftsmanship, quality and colours and you can see this in her designs from her home interiors to her clothing and to her accessories.
I spent a lovely afternoon with her and we talked about her business, inspirations and her favourite places to go to.
Read on to learn more.
Photos by Katrina Campbell
1. TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
I’m a self confessed child of hippies! Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s was a free spirited time and I spent much of my childhood travelling to far flung exotic places attending school in Hong Kong and the Middle East - travel and adventure are infused into my very being. I have early memories of watching batik being made in Bali and trawling through the markets in Hong Kong with my mum picking up vintage embroideries and delicious silks. So, the collectors instinct for fabric treasure hunting is practically in my blood. I always knew I was destined to work in a creative industry and fell into buying after working in retail in the holidays and as a Saturday girl at University. I have spent the last 20 years working for some of the leading UK high street brands as a Head of Buying.
2. WHAT SPARKED THE IDEA FOR DILLI GREY?
Many of the brands I have worked for took me to India and it was love at first trip. I have always been drawn to colour, texture, detail and arts and crafts so it always feels like I am home when I am sourcing or on a design trip. I worked at East as the Head of Buying and had the pleasure and privilege of working with some incredible people in the UK and in India. I was deeply involved in working with the Artisans at Anokhi and Fab India seeing the incredible work by some of the best Artisans in the country, especially hand block printing, it blew my mind every time I visited. I was really drawn to the homeware I was seeing, a seed was sown about creating my own artisan home and lifestyle brand with a modern British/ Indian sensibility. I am also passionate about the female run businesses that I support in India this is empowering for the communities it supports and the individual entrepreneurs as there is still a misogynistic attitude towards working women and their role in society. I am very keen on finding a supporting these women in their endeavours.
3. WHERE DO YOU GAIN INSPIRATION FROM WHEN COMING UP WITH NEW IDEAS FOR NEW PRODUCT/COLLECTIONS?
This is undoubtedly the best part of working for any fashion or creative brand and is the reason many brands are born. An idea will strike at any time and I am hugely inspired by my travels. I think the driving force behind the collections is colour. I am fascinated by relationships of colours together and also with the way they are transalted when passed to my artisans who work with me. There is something very special about hand block printing which is the corner stone of the brand and the end result of the colours are always so beautiful mainly because the fabric is dried in the sun so the colours are always so soft and gently faded. I collect colour boards so if you like pinterest and colour you should follow us as you will find lots of colour inspiration.
4. YOU PRIDE YOURSELF IN BEING A SUSTAINABLE BRAND. WHAT DOES SUSTAINABLILITY MEAN TO YOU?
By definition sustainable means “able to be maintained at a certain rate or level” and ” able to be upheld or defended” I want to do both of those things firstly by helping the Artisana I work with to continue to evolve and produce their incredible crafts and secondly by encouraging our clients to cherish what they buy from us and understanding the process that been undertaken to bring each and every design to them. Buy once and buy well is an ethos I live by, I would like to think of myself as a collector of treasured items rather than a crazy consumer who buys something to wear once and then throw it away.
5. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO GO TO WITH YOUR KIDS/YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE JUST YOU?
Because I am always busy working I adore holidays with my family. My parents live in rural France and it’s a wonderful escape, we are free of some of the commercial trapping of living in a big city and spend lots of time outdoors, walking, being barefoot, picking veg or hang out in my mums studio crafting or painting something she has found in one of her local flea market finds.
For my escapism I adore the V and A. I have been a member for years and often go on my own, to do some reading in the members room or to research their huge archives, in the summer its wonderful to go sit in the little garden they have, blissful in the middle of a huge city. The art shop is incredible, the books , the posters, the pencils…..
6. IF YOU COULD COLLOBARATE WITH ANYONE WHO WOULD THIS BE? WHY?
I think my dream collaboration would be with Liberty. With their rich heritage in print and such respect and support of all things Artisanal I would be honoured to be able to have my collection in their store.
7. WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN? WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO US?
The best advice I have grown up with is that you can do anything and be anyone… Simple advice but effective and powerful when in the hands of an ambitious and inquisitive young person. So my advice is what are you waiting for? don’t procrastinate, get on with it!
8. IF YOU WEREN’T DOING DILLI GREY, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR SECOND DREAM JOB?
I love dancing and when I was a child I participated in so many dance and gymnastics groups, so probably something dance and music related…
9. DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU DESIGN? IF YES, WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO AT THE MOMENT?
My music taste is quite schizophrenic although I always end up some back to the soul and dance groove. It really depends on my mood, if I’m finding it hard to concentrate and need to generate ideas I’ll put a bit of classical on like Ludovico Einaudi which helps me to concentrate. If I’m excited and have ideas then the music goes up a notch and I love a bit of groove or soul. Ive been listening to Ibiza Decades to give me some energy this week.
10. FAVOURITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY.
Oh wow too many…. Holiday to Bali and Thailand when I was six or getting our first puppy
11. WHAT DO YOU WANT US TO KNOW ABOUT DILLI GREY, WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM OTHER BRANDS?
Dilli Grey is a brand with a heart, we care about our artisans and our customers equally. I want my brand to feel like a sanctuary and everything anyone buys to feel like a personal and special experience.
12. ANYTHING YOU ARE WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT? ANY EXCITING NEWS?
I have been constantly asked for more beachware so watch this space we have a fabulous new beach collection coming and other exciting news is that we will be starting to sell wholesale from SS18 with short lead time designs for smaller boutiques and like minded retail partners.