Neil and Sophie Chadwick, Co-founders, Seasalt
The origins of Seasalt – the Cornish fashion brand known for its maritime stripes and unique prints inspired by the region’s past and landscape – lie in a Penzance shop. But its future ambitions are to take the Cornish inspiration and lifestyle to a wider market.
The family-owned business traces its roots back to 1981 when Don Chadwick, a Midlands retailer, decided to buy a coat for his son, David, but actually bought the shop it was sold in!
Don’s three sons, David, Neil and Leigh, worked in the family shop all their lives, on and off. When their father passed away in 2001, the brothers decided to create a clothing brand inspired by all the things they love about Cornwall. Seasalt is now one of Cornwall’s largest private employers. Sophie Chadwick, Neil's wife, designs for the firm.
Above: Neil and Sophie Chadwick are at the heart of family-owned Cornish clothing brand, Seasalt. Image: company.
Seasalt has built its success on two differentiating characteristics.
It focuses on offering workwear-inspired, beautiful womenswear and accessories that reference Cornwall’s maritime and artistic heritage. It was also the first fashion company to have its clothing achieve the Soil Association (SA) certified organic status back in 2005. Since then it has become one of the largest retailers of SA certified organic clothing in the UK.
Both approaches have fuelled the company’s rapid growth. It now has more than 35 shops in the UK and has customers all around the world.
Germany has become a particularly strong market for Seasalt where it has over 100 wholesale accounts, thanks in part to the popularity of Cornish culture (and in particular Rosamunde Pilcher’s novels).
Success has not been achieved at the expense of its values. The business places great importance on its treatment of staff and suppliers and agreed not to sell its goods online at lower prices than its wholesale partners.
It is also a supporter of Cornish cultural traditions, such as gig rowing races, and whilst a consistent contributor to many Cornish charities it has also raised over £25,000 for national coastal charity, the Fishermen’s Mission who support fishermen, their families and their communities
Planned well before the recent Brexit vote, Seasalt’s Spring Summer 17 campaign focuses on what actually unites Britain and its European neighbours..
Named ‘100 years of friendship’ it features images of the collection that draw on the shared creative heritage of Cornwall and Brittany, such as the similar artists of St Ives and Pont-Aven and the “Onion Johnnies” who famously visited the South-West each year.
The collection is split into six key themes, each one speaking of the creative ties between Cornwall and Brittany.
More at https://www.seasaltcornwall.co.uk/