Hi Jackie. Thanks for speaking to us. Please start by telling us a bit about yourself, your career and lifestyle?
I’m now a professor at the University of Manchester but my career pathway has been a very wiggly one. I’ve always been in education in some shape or form though and it has been instrumental in my life and where I have ended up.
I started life as a maths teacher and then in my thirties found myself a single mum with two small boys. I went back to studying and then into a role in business engagement and developing services for education. Seven years ago I won a big grant to set up a work placement scheme for undergraduates and have been running that ever since. I like to think of myself as the person in my students' lives that I wish I’d had when I was their age – so even though I’m a late bloomer I think I have found my purpose.
How and when did you find out about Beaumont Organic?
I walked into the shop in 49 Hilton Street one day in around 2014 I think, just after I changed jobs, and was just bowled over by the quality of the clothes and the simplicity of their design. My dad was a tailor, so I had grown up surrounded by cloth and sewing machines and pins and needles and I know what’s involved in making good clothes.
The minute I touched the fabrics I knew this was something special. And knowing about the clothing history of Manchester made it feel even more special. I remember buying a cotton all-in-one jumpsuit which was my signature piece that year.
How does the sustainability and slow living ethos of Beaumont Organic sit alongside your everyday values?
Sustainable clothing is my thing. I only wear natural fabrics and so Beaumont Organic is my go-to place for items of quality that I know will last and last. I have to say I wish I had a slower pace of life though. I’ve always worked full time and have had 3 kids, so life is always busy busy busy.
My sacrosanct time every week is a Thursday evening when I go to a small and brilliant Iyengar yoga class. My ideal holiday would be a yoga retreat!
We think clothing can be transformative. How do the right clothes make you feel and why do clothes matter to you?
Oh I love this question – and I agree. Purchasing good quality clothes that make you feel wonderful is such a brilliant way to look after yourself, in body and mind.
In 2017 I had breast cancer and my body has changed as a result. In 2020 I was affected by a very rare neurological disease which has resulted in more changes to my body. I am heavier and more curvy now compared to my younger self, but I am also incredibly grateful that I am still alive and have been lucky enough to have three wonderful children – now all adults.
This year I turned 61 and more than ever I know that clothes can make the difference between feeling great about myself or not. I love good clothes and Beaumont Organics are in my favourites pile.
What does your everyday wardrobe look like?
If I’m working from home, I wear trousers and a loose soft natural fabric jumper or top (I love the rust hoodie I got a few years ago). I love layers too. In the summer I really love loose floaty cotton or linen dresses or jumpsuits. A combination of big and baggy tops and tighter ¾ length trousers is probably my go-to everyday wardrobe.
Has your relationship with clothes changed post-lockdown?
Not really – other than to say comfortable clothes made of natural fabrics are probably more important than they’re ever been!
If you could change one thing about the fashion industry what would it be and why?
Hmm, that’s a tough question. I think it would be to challenge the throwaway culture. But also I’d like to see more recycling – either of fabrics (in a sustainable way) or encouraging celebrities to wear outfits more than once and make this cool.
I also have a friend who is a designer and she’s into no-waste clothes so it would be good to see that take off in a big way. Basically, I hate waste and anything that could be done to prevent the fashion industry being wasteful would get my vote.
If you had to pick a favourite from the new collection, what would it be and why?
I love love love the Unity-Ann jumpsuit!
But the quality of all the cotton in the range is simply sublime.
And do you have any favourites from past Beaumont Organic collections that you wear on repeat?
Lots! I have yet to throw (or give) away a piece I have bought. I often wear my black organic cotton Rosanna jumpsuit and I adore the Alessandra and Yasmin jumpers.
And I recently chose Terry shirt to wear for a photoshoot to celebrate winning an award at Women in Data 2020 - recognising the nation’s leading female data science professionals.
Your clothes are my treats to myself and I am going to keep it that way.