Goat couture

Astoria coat, �840.

Astoria coat, �840.

  • British luxury brand Goat took to the catwalk for the Prince’s Trust fashion dinner last week in York. Stephanie Smith talks to its founder, Jane Lewis.
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Amid the noise, chaos and confusion that so often characterises the fashion world, Goat has carved for itself a quietly canny niche, offering luxury wardrobe staples with the design detail and signature twist that today’s discerning style lovers demand. It has established itself as a go-to label for effortless luxe chic.

Last week Goat headlined the catwalk at the Prince’s Trust fashion dinner, held at the National Railway Museum in York. Now in its sixth year, the event has become a highlight of the Yorkshire society and fashion calendar, with money raised going to help disadvantaged young people in the region begin their careers. Last year’s event at the museum raised more than £100,000.

Aida dress is graphic stripe, �460.

Aida dress is graphic stripe, �460.

“The Prince’s Trust does incredible work, helping the hardest-to-reach young people to realise their potential,” says Jane Lewis, founder and creative director of Goat. She was , she adds, delighted to have been asked to take part this year.

As a luxury designer brand, Goat celebrates creating clothing for “real women, who multi-task as intrinsically as breathing, and who want to look and feel their best without fuss or ostentation”. Victoria Beckham, Lana del Rey, Gwyneth Paltrow and the Duchess of Cambridge are listed among the its “discreet celebrity clientele”. Kate Middleton, head girl of yummy mummies, has been snapped several times wearing Goat pieces, notably while pregnant on her US tour last year, sporting a stunning £680 black military- style coat, altered to make it longer, in keeping with regal modesty.

Jane Lewis was in her twenties back in 2001 when she realised she couldn’t find the individual, understated, luxurious pieces she longed to wear, so decided to come up with her own. Although not formally trained, she had been working on evening wear as assistant to Elspeth Gibson, but chose to shift her creative attention to the working wardrobe, beginning her own collection with cashmere, hence the name Goat. “I wanted a name that didn’t have my name in it, and it just made me smile,” she explains, adding: “I started in quite a small way. I thought there wasn’t much in the market for the sort of pieces I found elusive, the unsung heroes of the wardrobe, the things you rely on and go back to again and again. The simplest items are the hardest to achieve. A wonderful pair of trousers. A perfectly cut coat, a wonderful pencil dress – the things that make the foundation of a closet.”

What started as a small range for the fashion cognoscenti has developed into a full ready-to-wear collection, Goat’s signature luxury knits now joined by beautifully understated separates, dresses and outerwear, its horn-buttoned cashmere cardigan, woven pieces and wool crepe dresses among its wearable signature styles. The vast majority of Goat clothing is made in the UK, Jane says.

Artemis dress, �460.

Artemis dress, �460.

In the 14 years since she began, she has grown Goat into a sought-after British and now global brand, stocked in Saks in the US. “We are launching into the US in a focused way,” she says. The flagship store opened last year on Conduit Street in London.

Jane believes her lack of formal fashion training has been an advantage, allowing her to learn as she went, through hard work and experience. “In essence, I was young and really naive,” she says. “But I think that’s a good thing. I didn’t go to fashion school, and it’s quite a fierce world in fashion, and I felt ill-equipped. But on reflection it was a good way for me to learn. Now I’ve grown up. I’ve got three children (they are aged between four and ten), and I’ve changed a lot ... and I’ve survived a lot.”

Twitter: @yorkshirefashQ

• Goat is found in more than 50 UK stockists, including Matches Fashion and Rocca in Harrogate. It is also available online at www.goatfashion.com.

Astral dress in truffle, �660.

Astral dress in truffle, �660.

• For information about the Prince’s Trust or its annual Fashion Dinner, visit the trust’s website at www.princes-trust.org.uk

Lola dress in Clementine, �440.

Lola dress in Clementine, �440.

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