Picking up where Gill Harvey left off at Eliza Jane Howell would be a daunting challenge for any designer, but luckily Gill wasn’t just a design genius. She was also a strategic planner, who possessed a unique and far-seeing vision for the future of EJH. Even when she was ill she never stopped making plans for how the company should progress in the future, and who would be the best candidate to help it do so.
She had no doubt that Catherine Fisher was the right person to pick up the EJH design baton. Gill and Catherine had known each other for more than 25 years. They first met after Catherine had completed a degree in fashion design at Nottingham University, having previously studied design at the London College of Fashion. When she showed her collection at London’s graduate fashion week, Catherine’s self-evident flair had also caught the eye of the Denza International Agency, who invited her to join them.
Catherine and Gill worked closely together to develop the Medici and After Six ranges, embracing stylish Italian knits and occasionwear, while Catherine also applied some of her designer fairy-dust to the classic British fashion house Bernshaw. In addition, Catherine developed her own design business, creating bespoke garments for private clients. Always keen to expand her horizons, Catherine has recently completed a masters degree in illustration, focusing primarily on fashion illustration.
Having to come to terms with an Eliza Jane Howell without Gill Harvey in it was tough for everybody, but Catherine’s arrival was made easier by her understanding of how Gill thought about fashion, and how to add that distinctive edge to dresses for weddings, parties and every kind of special occasion. Being an extrovert Liverpudlian with an infectious sense of humour, Catherine had already endeared herself to Andrea Cutts and the rest of the EJH team, and was familiar with the working methods of the company’s ateliers. From her very first designs, she displayed her total grasp of the how, the where and the why.
It’s the beginning of a new era for Eliza Jane Howell and we are excited for the future.