A New Year brings a New Range and a Spectacular New Window Display
High Tea with Mrs Woo celebrates Chinese New Year this year with a new season range and an in-store installation by artist Jen Denzin.See our handpicked guides to Newcastle
The fashion industry can be a relentless one, with trends changing in the blink of an eye and the fickle 'now you're hot and then you're not' mentality taking its toll on the uninitiated. So ten years could be considered a lifetime to many, however when you chat to the ladies from High Tea With Mrs Woo you very quickly understand why not only are they still in the business after ten years, but why they're getting better with age.
Sitting down with Rowena and Angela, two thirds of the High Tea team, it was refreshing to hear that in today's world of big business and mass production there are still some who choose quality over quantity.
The ladies commitment to supporting the local manufacturing trade and following a fair-trade practice, whilst watching many of their peers go off shore, has been one of their biggest challenges in business.
Yet they emphatically agree that they wouldn't have it any other way. Based predominately in Newcastle the ladies keep a pretty tight ship with only a handful of sewers on board, only larger projects are outsourced to Sydney, the sisters are hands-on in every step of the production process.
Angela and Rowena both comment that their decision to be based in Newcastle, whilst exhausting at times, has provided them the space and freedom to create, and not be caught up in the hecticness of big city living that can sometimes cloud the creative process. This space has also provided the sisters the opportunity to remain focused on producing their own individual design and signature style. When asked what provides the inspiration for High Tea With Mrs Woo Rowena and Angela say it could be as simple as seeing a piece of fabric, a situation or even a moment that allows their imagination to run wild. Family also plays an enormous role in their creative process with the ladies saying their mother, grandmother and many aunts continue to inspire them on a daily basis. One must also mention food, check out the High Tea Instagram account and you'll see what I mean, the ladies love to cook.
So what lies ahead for the High Tea label, well all I can say is that it's exciting times with lots of new projects on the horizon. Their Islington workshop is under construction with plenty of ideas and big plans floating around as to how the building will be used in the future. The trio like the idea of taking things back to basics for a while and working on some interesting projects such as the apron collaborations with local businesses like Baked Uprising and Maudie Mac's.
Ten years maybe a long time in fashion but you get the impression that the High Tea sisters will get through the next ten in the same stylish way that has seen them through the last ten and more importantly will continue to support and give back to the community.