Amie and Mike, founders of Ivy and Rig.
I recently discovered NEW sustainable lifestyle British clothing brand, Ivy and Rigg, on Instagram and I am very excited to become a brand ambassador for them. Ivy and Rigg has been created by Amie and Mike and is founded on their passion to bridge the gap between style and ethical, eco-friendly living. Their style is simple and stylish and definitely appeals to those wanting to live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle. I caught up with Amie and Mike to find out a little bit more about their story and the inspiration behind their new brand.
I am really excited to become a brand ambassador for Ivy and Rigg (as you can see from the smile on my face!)
What did you both do before starting up Ivy and Rigg?
We met whilst working as wildlife consultants in Northumberland National Park a few years ago. We both did environmental studies at University.
What inspired you to set up Ivy and Rigg, and when did the idea first come about?
We both have first-hand experience of working in conservation; Mike as a marine research diver in Asia and Amie in South Africa over a number of years. It was during this time that some of the most devastating environmental problems facing the world today including plastic pollution and wildlife poaching, were really brought home to us (Amie has actually hid from poachers in the bush!).
Earlier this year we decided we wanted to pursue a venture to promote and raise awareness of environmental problems. We decided on sustainable fashion, as this gave us not only the chance to tackle the issues raised above but to draw on our rural heritage in Northumberland as well.
Elida, one of my Highland's helping me to photograph my Ivy and Rigg t-shirt.
What is the story behind the name? (I LOVE it!)
We wanted something which combined our environmental and natural passions and interests with our Northumbrian heritage. Rigg was an easy one with Hadrian’s Wall Steel Rigg, the location of the famous Sycamore Gap, on our doorstop. When we researched Rigg further, it meant to clothe, which fitted perfectly. Ivy then stood out for us, meaning wonderfully classic, stylish and fearless, as well as being a natural evergreen plant. The On The Wall bit comes from Hadrian’s Wall, revered as a hardy, Northern frontier, it leaves a long-lasting impression. Both are of English origin and these meanings all represent the core principles we want to grow Ivy and Rigg around.
You are based near Hadrians Wall which has obviously inspired the 'Hadrian Wall' collection, will you continue to take inspiration for your designs from your surroundings?
Yes all our future collections will be inspired by Northumberland heritage and geography. There’s a lot to draw on and Mike is a history buff!
I am wearing a ladies organic slim fit t-shirt from their Hadrian Collection.
What is the main ethos behind your brand?
We keep it simple. Supreme quality, timeless style, classic designs and the utmost comfort, without sacrificing environmental integrity.
You donate a £1 from every item sold to Save the Rhino or Ocean Clean Up, how did you first get involved with these amazing conservation projects?
Our history meant these charities meant a lot to us. Every few months we will both choose a new charity or imitative to donate to.
Have you started to design your second collection yet, after the immediate success of your first collection?
Yes we have, and we have exciting new products lined up for the near future!
How would you like to see your brand develop over the next few years?
We hope to create an environmentally and socially conscious, go-to brand that is high quality and people are proud to wear. Raising awareness to protect wildlife and the environment will be at the centre of all of this.
I had great fun testing out Ivy and Rigg's ladies organic slim fit t-shirt from their Hadrian Collection, it is so soft and comfortable. It is a really simple, high quality product which as well as being stylish is perfect for practical everyday use which is great for farm life. A big thank you to Amie and Mike for taking the time to tell me a little more about their exciting new brand and I look forward to seeing the new designs and products. If you are interested in purchasing any Ivy and Rigg clothing, take a look at their website > www.ivyandrigg.com.
A BIG thank you to my sister Cecily for taking the time to help me AGAIN by taking the photos for this blog!
After my visit to Holly and her beautiful Percheron's, I returned to the studio with all the photographs I had taken. It was so interesting to see all the different aspects of preparing Mabel but I was actually rather nervous about creating a hand stamped print of a horse as this is the first time I have done one! There is so much detail and character in the face and head of a horse, it is really quite a challenge.
Holly turning Mabel out into her field, you can see how much character and personality Mabel has by just looking at these photographs.
The pencil sketch I drew of Mabel.
The hand stamped print I created of Mabel.
I am actually really pleased with the result of the hand stamped print, it has created a striking and eye catching design. The hand stamped, textured nature of the print has really complimented the dappling of labels coat. I also really love the colour braids which Holly plaited into Mabel, the contrast is really bold and effective.
Another BIG thank you to Holly and Mabel for spending the afternoon with me. I look forward to following their progress on the show scene next year!
Last weekend I went to visit 18 year old, Holly with her Percheron heavy horses. As well as the Percheron's, Holly's family farm rears cattle, sheep and the odd chicken wandering around the yard! I was really looking forward to this blog as I haven't done any horses yet and I especially love heavy horses. When I am at agricultural shows, however busy I may get I always make sure I go and look at the heavy horses. They are so majestic and impressive with their sheer size and presence. I was in absolute awe of Holly from the plaiting and braiding of Mable's tail and mane to the way she handled her with such ease.
Holly with her 4 year old Percheron mare, Mabel.
How long have you had Percheron horses and how did you become interested in them?
I have had Percherons for 3 years now and first became interested in the breed when my mother, Sharon, bought our first horse.
What made you choose the Percheron over other heavy horses?
Firstly the Percheron is clean legged, meaning they have not got feathered feet (hair on their legs) and although Suffolk is our home county the beautiful dappled markings of the Percheron caught my eye.
Holly with her two yearling Percherons, Bonnie and Lass.
Where do they originate and what is their history?
The Percheron is a breed of draft horse that originated in the Huisne river valley in France which is part of the Perche province and where the breed takes its name. They are usually grey or black in colour. Percherons are well muscled, and known for their intelligence and willingness to work.
How many Percherons do you have?
We have three Percherons in total, a 4 year old mare and 2 yearling fillies.
Mabel enjoying a scratch.
What do you do with your Percherons?
The Percherons are shown at both smaller fairs and county shows but more recently the oldest mare Mable we have began breaking to ride and drive, beging with leading her around in our village to get her used to different sights and sounds, then long reining her and from there pulling a tyre.
Do you hope to breed Percherons in the future?
Yes… However at the minute breaking in the eldest mare and with training the two yearling taking up a lot of time 3 is just enough!
You show your horses, why is this important to you?
Having spent many years showing the familys Pedigree Simmental cattle and my own Southdown and Beltex sheep, the show ring is a familiar sight. It just seemed natural to show the horses. Learning how to show them, plait and braid had been very challenging but with a few championship’s under my belt its all been worth it.
Over the last three years Holly has learnt how to plait and braid for the show ring.
Mabel waiting patiently while she is plaited up.
What do you look for in a ‘good quality’ Percheron?
Being a heavy horse, they are built for working, so good legs and movement are essential when carrying or pulling heavy loads. The horse must be something you enjoy looking at in the field so for me the most important part is the head, with females a fine feminine head is an essential. Along with this the horse needs a good body and to be broad throughout. But like every breed and species each person’s opinion is different.
What advice would you give someone looking to get into heavy horses?
Working with heavy horses is a dying art and without new people owning and working them the breeds will soon die out, everyone in the societies are so helpful and encouraging and will do anything to help! Heavy horses isn’t all about expensive carts like you see at the shows… you can have just as much enjoyment out of riding, showing or breeding them.
I would like to say a HUGE thank you to Holly for taking the time to introduce me to her stunning Percheron horses and for showing me round her family farm. As well as meeting the horses I got to meet the sheep, chickens and cows, including Molly the Jersey calf, who was Holly's 18th birthday present! I had such a great afternoon watching Holly work with Mabel and seeing the bond between them, it was so impressive to see Holly work alongside these gentle giants. I am looking forward to getting back to the studio to draw Mabel, I am a little nervous though!
I am Izzi, farmer’s daughter and textile designer at IzziRainey. If I am not designing or sewing you will find me out in the farmyard with my cattle. I am constantly seeking inspiration for my prints, not that I have to look very far. Growing up on the farm, I have always been influenced by my surroundings and this combined with my passion for farming is what inspires my designs. I love spending time on the farm but I also enjoy learning about other people’s animals, passions and stories, which are also influential to my design process. I hope you enjoy reading ‘Over the Farm Gate’