We Sit Down With Ford & Guy Founder Suzanne Ford to Hear All About Her Eye-Catching Fashion Brand

Photos: Natalie Owen
Interview: Addie Kenogbon
Wednesday 24 August 2022
reading time: min, words

Combining stunning silhouettes, sustainable fabric and eye-catching graphics, Nottingham fashion brand Ford & Guy may be relatively new on the scene, but they’re already proving to be ones to watch with their designs already being worn by some big names and top social media influencers with a huge following, such as Astrid Zeegen. We catch up with owner Suzanne (Suzie) Ford to find out more about her iconic designs…


How did Ford & Guy come about?
I launched Ford & Guy during lockdown in 2020 but I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved textiles and have photos of me designing and drafting my own patterns at twelve. Not long after, at sixteen, I got my own sewing machine and it evolved from there. Before launching Ford & Guy, my career path has involved studying undergrad and a PHD in biology at Oxford University and then going into research and virology in Australia and America, before coming back to the UK to train as a psychotherapist. It was when I returned to the UK and moved to Nottingham that I had the time to start the business in lockdown, and I remember putting my first thing on Etsy and it selling, and that was a great feeling. And the brand has just grown from there.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
A lot of it has been inspired by artists. So, my Squiggles collection was inspired by this piece of art that I sit in front of every Thursday when I’m a therapist with my clients. It’s called Mother and Child by Picasso. It’s not a very well-known piece, so it’s quite hard to get hold of, but it’s got this fascinating line drawing of a mother and a child breastfeeding. There are all these lovely squiggles all around it. They capture this amazing attunement and love, and it makes you feel warm, happy feelings that you can’t really put into words, and I just loved the expression of it. So, I started playing around with my version of that feeling, and that’s where the squiggle pieces came from.

What would you say makes Ford & Guy so special?
Aside from the sustainability, I’d say the unique designs and their fun and playful nature is what makes my pieces really special. Also, being able to know who’s made each piece is great, especially because, even though a lot of sustainable companies can say that they’re sustainable, it’s sometimes quite hard to tell if it’s greenwashing. So, I limit myself to what I know is okay and, because I’m making it and dying it myself, I cut out so much of the supply chain that can often lack transparency. I like to make sure I’m as sustainable as I can be, so make sure that if I’m dyeing something, I’ll reuse that dye several times or use less water and make it concentrated.

I’d say the designs also make it so special as I don’t make many of each design, so they’re all unique. It’s made to order too, unless I’ve got a market on, and I currently go up to size 22 with a view to going up to sizes in the thirties soon. 

With Ford & Guy, I feel like I’m revisiting my inner child and rediscovering who I am

What are your favourite pieces in your collection?
I always say my favourite pieces are the current pieces I’m working on, but I think the purple and green top and dress combo is something I’m really loving at the moment. I also really love the remnant pieces that I make. They take me a little while, but when I finish a remnant piece, it feels more precious somehow because it took so long. The denim patchwork jacket, for example, is super intricate.

What have been your highlights to date?
A personal highlight, which maybe wouldn’t be on everyone’s bucket list, is being at a market and someone coming up to you and saying, ‘I saw you on so-and-so’s profile and I made sure to get here because I found out you were here’, and then them putting in orders for a bunch of stock. That just makes my day. That kind of feedback is so wonderful as it’s a real personal journey for me. With Ford & Guy, I feel like I’m revisiting my inner child and rediscovering who I am, so to have someone mirror that in me is fantastic. I’ll always love the customer-to-customer relationship, and getting to experience that will always be my highlight. That might not be bells and whistles and awards or anything, but that’s just really special to me.

What are your plans for the future?
Since I was a kid, my dream has been to have my own shop. It’s really romantic in my head but I just have this picture of having a little store with all the products in the front with really unique shapes and patterns and gorgeous pieces. And then in the back, a massive work table where I’m able to sew and do workshops as well.

I would like the shop to have studio space and within that it’d be really important to be able to sell not only my products but also items from other local artists because it’s such a friendly community in Nottingham, and I think everyone would benefit from having a space. I’d also like to sell sustainable haberdashery and fabrics as, at the moment, that’s quite hard to come by unless you shop online - but that means you don’t get to feel or touch the fabric. And, if you’re a sewer, it’s important to see how it drapes. So, that’s the dream and where I really want to be. Whether it comes to fruition or not, we’ll have to wait and see - but I really hope it does, as things have been going really well.


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