NEW PURPOSE: Catherine Quin, who is best known for her minimalist, fuss-free designs, wants to redefine the concept of the “It” girl and present her audience with alternative role models to look up to.
That’s why she created “Women of Purpose,” a photographic project that spotlights women Quin was drawn to for their professional achievements or charity work.
“I wanted to celebrate women who are making real contributions to society and substantial achievements in their lives. I thought that for too long we’ve been celebrating youth to such a degree that we were reducing a lot of the success that older and more mature women make. I wanted to give a new type of role model to women out there,” said Quin.
Some of the women featured in the project include cultural entrepreneur Hikari Yokoyama, Indian actress Freida Pinto, playwright Polly Stenham and Zimbabwean model Nyasha Matonhodze, who is now working toward starting her own charity to help women in Africa have better access to health services.
“It’s just people who we’ve researched, from different industries who really are living life and doing things on their own terms, but still making a really interesting contribution to the world,” added Quin, also pointing to the hospitality executive turned filmmaker Lucy McIntyre and the architect Zoe Chan Eayrs. “Zoe came first in her year at Cambridge and she’s brilliant because she wants to do things slowly, she takes a couple of years on each project and she does it one at a time.”
The women are shown in their homes or workplaces via intimate, raw portraits that also depict Quin’s fuss-free design aesthetic.
“I wanted to focus on portraits, because that felt like the best way of making the women relatable. I love classic portraiture, which is all about having a plain background and just letting the women shine through. That’s very much the ethos and values of my brand and of the clothing that I make. It’s not about noticing the clothes first but about showcasing the woman and her personality,” added the designer.
To coincide with the launch, Quin created a “Women of Purpose” capsule collection which focuses on her signature monochromatic palette and staples such as wide-leg pants, blazers, jumpsuits and dresses featuring simple, linear lines.
To launch the collection, she worked with Brita Fernandez Schmidt, the executive director of the charity Women for Women and another face of the “Women of Purpose” series, to launch a partnership between her label and the charitable organization. As part of the tie-in, 25 percent of the proceeds from sales of the collection will go to Women for Women and more initiatives will follow suit.
The collection is sold on the label’s e-commerce site, another launch for Quin. She tapped Chan Eayrs to model the clothes online, furthering her commitment to using her brand as a platform for showcasing a diverse group of women, even beyond the “Women for Purpose” project.
Quin hosted a dinner for friends and family to mark the launch of her new project. The likes of Caroline Issa, Quentin and Jemima Jones and Women of Purpose participants Chan Eayrs and Matonhodze joined the Lonon-based designer for an al fresco dinner set on a charming, cobbled street outside her West London home.