White t-shirt stories are…
A series of candid conversations with creatives, uncovering their values and style.
Finella Devitt is...
Founder of Firehorse. Luxury, limited edition pure silk scarfs handmade in the UK. Firehorse is about creative collaboration. Each scarf showcases the talent of individual designers, celebrating the finest of British craftsmanship – hand-finished ‘investment pieces’ which will be treasured for years.
R.M: How would you describe your style & we have to ask if a white t-shirt plays a role?
FD: I adore clothes that are beautifully created in every single respect. Be it the quality, texture and feel of the materials, the patterns and colours used in the design or the final crafting and manufacture of the garment. These details give me so much pleasure and it's why I choose my clothes painstakingly and hold on to them for a long time. As for a white T-shirt, I prefer to buy few but seek out the very best quality I can find. Less is more in my book when it comes to clothing. In my view beautiful basics, including The White T-shirt Co range, provide the perfect foundation around which to build a brilliant wardrobe. Just like getting the architecture of a building right. When the quality of the materials, design and structure are right, then the details shine.
Dreamscape Scarf by Emma Kendall for Firehorse
RM: You've already got a really interesting, busy job so what drove you to launch Firehorse?
FD: Having spent the last 20 odd years as a business advisor supporting creative people and cultural organizations, I decided to fulfil a dream and channel my ideas into a progressive creative brand.
I launched Firehorse to challenge the status-quo. I wanted to engage emerging designers with little or no commercial experience and help give them a much-needed commercial platform. When I commission young designers, they are often overwhelmed; many have been struggling to get jobs and interviews or earn enough freelance income. I love working with young designers as they bring enthusiasm, energy and creativity to the brand. But I also work with a team of people with 30+ years of experience who know how transform their ideas into fantastic products.
RM: Where did the idea for Firehorse come from? Why scarves?
FD: I guess I have always loved textiles. Growing up, my Dad was Director of an Irish textiles company which manufactured the finest Irish linen damask which he promoted and sold world-wide. So I grew up with that love of exquisite quality textiles.
I have also always been passionate about excellence in design and manufacture, which are two things we do exceptionally well in Britain and when setting up Firehorse, I knew I wanted to showcase and celebrate the very best in what we have to offer.
I chose scarves as they provide a simple starting point for a brand with a huge vision! I wanted to produce a product of exceptional quality and by focusing on a simple 'square', I can really concentrate on executing every fine detail to the highest possible standard. Getting this right has given me a great platform from which to grow into other product areas.
Shop the collection of Firehorse Scarfs
RM: It strikes us that your scarves are a great way of bringing change to a capsule wardrobe. Do you have any tips for using them?
FD: When you invest in a luxury silk scarf, you have so many ways in which you can extend your wardrobe. Scarves are great for dressing up or down, be it bringing a vivid twist to a casual jeans and T-shirt look or adding lush elegance to a chic evening outfit.
Styling options range from neck ties including a casual knot, a double loop, a bow tie, a French knot and a 'necklace' to all sorts of 'headgear' such as a turban, headband, bandana, headwrap or tie around a ponytail or bun. Some use their scarf as a shoulder wrap or a belt, cinched into the waist to accentuate curves, whereas others accessorize their handbag, tying it on as a rose, bow, braid or handle-wrap.
Silk scarves are also wonderfully versatile seasonally. As a fine, natural and all-climate fabric, silk allows your skin to breathe, keeping you comfortably cool in summer and luxuriously warm as the temperature drops. A few Firehorse clients wore their scarves as halter or bikini tops or tied together as sarong or kimono dresses over the summer. Silk scarves can also be layered, including under cashmere scarves, for luxurious additional texture and warmth in the winter.
In short, Firehorse scarves provide no end of opportunities to express your style, amplify your personality and have fun with fashion.
RM: It may be a silly question, but are there any trends with scarfs?
FD: There certainly are! Scarves are very much in vogue this season taking centre stage on the AW18 catwalks. They were worn not only around necks and on heads, but as tops, skirts and dresses also. Faustone Steinmetz created a full boat neck top using a large piece of silk, while 3.1 Phillip Lim used a vibrantly coloured scarf to jazz up a classic white shirt. Martine Serre wrapped one around a long sleeve black neoprene top and Jacquemus used a scarf feature to create a soft drape on a blouse.
RM: And finally as a new entrant to the fashion business, what brand values are most important to you?
FD: For me, it's about ensuring ethical sourcing of materials and working with responsibility-minded individuals and partners in the design and manufacturing process that we can help to support and promote. I have great faith in young people. I love their energy and progressive thinking. They understand and are very much tuned into sustainability and responsible fashion.
They are also wonderfully creative and free-spirited. Like the Firehorse!
All of Finella's scarves are hand-made in Macclesfield which has a silk heritage spanning four centuries. Local limestone infused waters are used to gently wash the silk, enhancing its beautiful lustre. The designs are then printed onto the fabric before careful finishing by a team of artisans. The edges of the scarves are softly rolled and finally, hundreds of fine stitches are applied by hand. Finishing the scarves this way is true work of art with the luxurious roll providing Firehorse scarves with subtle, elegant structure and drape.
Each scarf arrives beautifully gift wrapped with the story of the designer.
You can learn more about where and how Firehorse scarves are made here.
Please visit Firehorse to view Finella's full range and learn more about the talented artists behind the designs.