A Letter from Abby

“Hey, babe, there is a letter here from someone called Abby from Manchester. She wants to ask you a question”. That’s my husband. He is reading the questions on his Red Hand Files.

“Really? What’s the question?” That’s me.

He reads it to me.

Hi Nick,

I have written many questions to you before, however I hope you don’t mind or find it rude of me in directing this one to your wonderful wife, Susie.

Susie, long have I been a fan of your creative spirit. I feel it is much underappreciated, and if I had my way, your dresses would be on the front cover of vogue every week. Not only are your designs beautiful, they capture a spirit of grace, maturity, youth, nostalgia and beauty that isn’t so easily captured in modern fashion My question is: where do you source your inspiration? I’m curious to know.

Much love, Abby


Dear Abby,

Thank you so much for your email! It was so kind. It is a strange time right now in this enforced isolation, but I recognise this feeling. I have to say, isolation comes pretty naturally to me, I feel practised at it, and it gives me time to think and to make things—to draw, to invent, to design—and to be with my family.

On the Stuff Page for the last few years I have been trying to show that my dresses come from somewhere, and that they are part of a larger network of inspirations—writers and poets, musicians, painters, ballet dancers, actors, movie-makers, designers, animals, nature and such things. Very soon I will have written my four hundredth Stuff Post (I’m very excited about that!)

So, what is my source of inspiration? For sure, I owe a lot to the work of other people, but I think that my dresses really come from a feeling I have toward the world. I see the world as a beautiful, sometimes melancholy place that has the capacity to be indifferent and cruel (we are all seeing this now). I think it is our duty to attempt to fill the world with as many beautiful things as we can. I see the act of creating beautiful things as an act of joyful defiance. It is also an act of kindness. It helps bring the world alive. So when I make a dress, I try and think of it in terms of its own singular beauty, so that it acts as a counterbalance to the world’s indifference. In whatever it is we do, in all aspects of life, we should all attempt to do this—these acts of kindness.

I hope you remain well, Abby. It means a great deal to get your letter and to read your lovely words.

Love, Susie x