Global Young Designer Spotlight: Catherine Quin

Global Young Designer Spotlight: Catherine Quin

We chatted to Quin about how she went from lawyer to ready-to-wear designer, find out what inspires her and got the lowdown on her recent road trip to Marfa in Texas.

Quin wasn’t always a designer. In fact, the
Bermuda-born, London-based purveyor
of ultra-wearable, minimal pieces started out as a lawyer at
Lincoln’s Inn. It was only by chance that Quin discovered that
renowned fashion school Central Saint Martins was just a ten-minute
walk from her law firm. Their exciting array of courses drew her
in, allowing her to study design and marketing courses in her spare
time, ultimately resulting in the launch of her fashion career.

Fast forward to today and Quin is founder and creative director
of her eponymous brand which has been showcasing collections since
SS15. At the core of Catherine’s collections is the celebration and
empowerment of women. Troubled by the gender wage gap, Quin is
donating 25% percentage of profits from her latest campaign – Women
of Grace – to SmartWorks, which helps and supports vulnerable
women get back into work by providing interview coaching and

Every piece in the designer’s collection is elegant, minimal,
exquisitely crafted and created with a seasonless wardrobe in mind.
In other words, her dresses and shirts would stand us as well
paired with jeans in London, as they would on a beach in Jamaica.

We chatted to Quin about how she went from lawyer to
ready-to-wear designer, find out what inspires her and got the
lowdown on her recent road trip to Marfa in Texas.


Catherine Quin


Catherine Quin





Type of brand:

Minimal, ready-to-wear womenswear


In the UK you can find us at Modern
Alex Eagle
‘s The Store and The Shop at Bluebird. We also have a handful of
stockists globally, and are growing all the time.

How and why did you start your brand?

The brand began as a capsule collection inspired by the demands
of my life as a busy corporate lawyer. I was never able to find
directional clothing which worked in both a corporate and creative
environment and would be able to take me from the office to a
gallery opening. With my law offices a stone’s throw from Central
Saint Martins, I began taking evening classes in fashion design and
marketing which gave me the confidence to create the brand I wanted
to wear.

Was it always important for you to make a minimalist, versatile
line of ‘seasonless’ pieces?

I always wanted to create ‘forever’ pieces that had an
understated elegance and the sophistication to transcend occasion,
climate, and culture. The brand emerged from my personal experience
of bridging life between
and London, as well as working in contrasting corporate and
creative environments. The advantage of a beautifully simple,
minimalist wardrobe is that it never dates and there will always be
new ways to add individualised personality to the pieces.
Eliminating fuss and frivolity also focuses attention on the woman,
enabling her natural beauty to shine through.

You produce all of your lines in LA. Why did you choose to do
this – and do you think your collection has a more London or LA

The refined, minimalist aesthetic of my brand is in keeping with
the sleek, urban vibe of London or New York. However, I
love to see people wearing my pieces against a sunny Californian
backdrop. The stark contrast between the clean silhouettes of the
pieces set against the blue sky and searing sunshine of LA serves
to highlight the minimalist aesthetic in a way I find extremely

Who is the Catherine Quin girl and how would you sum up the
brand’s ethos?

I’m inspired by women of substance, sophisticated global
travellers and those who have lead purposeful lives travelling the
world. The collections are created for those who lead active lives,
and each piece is designed to compliment the body of the wearer
while effortlessly adapting to her needs and environment. The brand
is built on minimalist design principles and its ethos is
influenced by [German industrial designer] Deiter Rams and his ‘Ten
Principles for Good Design’.

You’d pair a Catherine Quin piece with?

A minimalist Margiela choker.

We’re obsessed with your Instagram. Where do you get your

Thank you! It comes from all over but mainly art, architecture
and, more recently, furniture. Quite a few of my friends are
artists and we often share imagery when discussing our upcoming
projects. I also tend to find myself researching wanderlust
adventures to far-flung destinations where there is notable
architecture such as Tadao Ando’s Church of the Light in Japan.

Is there anything you’ve seen or read that you think we should

Gina Miller’s “Rise”. To celebrate the launch of my “Women of
Grace” campaign, we hosted a Literary Tea at Maison Assouline and
Gina, along with Anjuli Pandit and Women for Women Founder Britta
Fernandez Schmidt, read extracts from their favourite, feminist
literature; reams of reading inspiration.

Tell us about your creative process.

Each season I start a new collection with a concept based on
either a modern artist, an architectural movement or building that
feels particularly relevant to me at that time – be it visually or
conceptually. From there, I begin collecting imagery and sourcing
different fabrics, which inspires new textures and silhouettes,
which are the pillars of every collection. The finished collection
rarely turns out exactly as I had envisaged at the start, but this
is where the freedom and fun come in, so I let the creative process
run its course!

You are involved in the manufacturing process of each and every
piece. What’s it like to be so hands on?

From the start, my personal values and that of the brand
dictated that the quality of each and every garment – the
craftsmanship, the fabric and the construction of each piece – be
of the highest standard. It became clear that to achieve this level
of quality it was imperative that my team and I had an excellent
working relationship with all of our manufacturing team. Being
present and engaged at the factories and taking a hands-on approach
has enabled me to build personal relationships with the various
people tasked with creating our garments. This hands-on approach
also means that ethically I’m able to personally ensure that the
people involved with my brand have a decent wage and a good working

You’ve said architecture inspires you. Which buildings do you

As I said, I love Donald Judd’s ’15 untitled works in concrete’
set across a mile of Marfa desert. They’re not exactly buildings,
but they’re architectural landmarks – the contrast of the massive
concrete blocks against the blue sky is forever inspiring to me. I
also love the simplicity and sanctity of Tadao Ando’s Church of
Light in Ibaraki, Japan.

Catherine Quin’s insider guide to Marfa, Texas…

Tell us about your most recent trip.

It was a sort of pilgrimage for me. I’ve always been incredibly
inspired by Donald Judd and his minimalist ideology and aesthetic.
In the 1970s Judd bought up a large portion of the town with the
help of The Dia Art Institute, and set about converting the
buildings into workspaces, studios and display galleries for his
work, creating a sort of artist campus. I was fascinated to see how
he lived and how he implemented his vision on such a large scale.
His work has always been part of my inspiration mood boards so I
felt it was about time I saw and experienced his Marfa works for

What makes Marfa so unique?

Marfa is pretty much an art island separated from the rest of
the world by a desolate and unforgiving Texan desert. There is so
much creativity and such a sophisticated cultural awareness coming
out of this isolated town, surrounded by hundreds of miles of
beautifully crumbling desert landscape. The juxtaposition of the
desert setting with the rich culture is unique. As you would expect
of such a place, it also attracts an eccentric and interesting
bunch of people. Getting to know them and the social side of the
town is an experience in itself that I would highly recommend.

Where should we…


I was lucky enough to stay with a friend, but otherwise I would
stay at the quirky Thunderbird Hotel.


The Capri at Thunderbird has a beautiful
outdoor area for lunch, but for dinner I think the best food in
town is at Stellina. Fresh ingredients, hearty portions,
communal tables and a fun atmosphere.


The Lost Horse for the saloon experience, with music,
a pool and a patio. Hotel Saint George for something a
bit more refined.

Grab coffee?

Do Your Thing does great coffee and delicious
breakfasts at weekend.


Marfa Book Co at the Saint George Hotel.


The most awe-inspiring place to visit is The Chinati Foundation
which is like an educational campus of experiential art
installations. Not only does it have Judd’s concrete blocks and
aluminium works – which was one of the most memorable experiences
of artwork I’ve encountered – but there are also a large number of
other artists shown there, who Judd was either friends with or
admired. Particularly notable are the six restored barracks housing
unique Dan Flavin light installations, Richard Long’s ‘Sea Lava
Circles’ and the old converted hospital which has been turned into
a large-scale Robert Irwin work.

Discover More
Desert Rose: Marfa, Texas