It is my pleasure to introduce Rosie van Custem as our new, inspirational Sophie Lis Girl. Rosie and her sister Lucia are the innovative team behind the incredibly successful British Brand Troy.
Whilst working in finance in London, the sisters noticed a big gap in the market for a flattering, fashionable outwear option built for the British countryside. Growing up in Oxfordshire, the sisters never lost their passion for the outdoors and would escape whenever possible to the countryside. They couldn't ignore the fact all their glamorous, well dressed friends wearing ill-fitting and unattractive coats to brave the elements so the duo decided to do something about it. It was then Troy was born.
Cleverly weaving together their business finesse, sense of style and knowledge of rural lifestyle, Rosie and Lucia created a unique business which is now well known for dressing some of the World’s most famous style icons. Responsibly manufacturing everything in the UK, Troy is a British brand through and through and we are grateful to share a little behind the scenes insight in the hope it will inspire you too.
Photographed at home in Norfolk and in Notting Hill, Rosie wears Sophie Lis jewellery and Troy clothing throughout the shoot. Pictured here in the Fallen Moon necklace, Cross necklace and Fallen Star hoops.
1.) Can you tell me about the pathway that led you to creating your amazing brand Troy – how was the brand born?
My sister and I created the brand as we couldn't find coats that we liked that also worked in the elements. We wanted to wear jackets versatile to our everyday lives that were genuinely waterproof and warm, and also brought some contemporary shapes and styles and luxury to make you feel special as you throw them on. We sketched out some first designs, launched a website and started the business on the side of full time jobs, so it was challenging but so exciting.
2.) Was it always clear to you that you would be an entrepreneur? Were there any indicators in your childhood that pointed to it?
I am not sure I would call myself a born entrepreneur, more that I was keen to sound out the business plan and see whether we had an idea that others would buy into, and fortunately we did! We didn't show much business flair in our childhoods... which were mostly spent messing around outside at our home in Oxfordshire, but I picked up some valuable lessons when co-founding an equestrian and social club when I first moved to London.
3.) Tell us about Troy, who you are and what you stand for.
We design luxury coats, suedes and knits with a distinctly British style. For him, for her, and now for children.
4.) Where or how do you get your inspiration for your collections?
We love looking into the archives for vintage pieces that stand the test of time, such as the classic Safari Style jacket or belted Norfolk Jacket. We modernise these styles by sourcing beautiful natural fabrics and trimming them with leather, brushed gold and quality buttons. All of our designs must endure the years and we also want to ensure the collection works for as many environments as possible - city, field or mountain to name a few!
5.) What was your first collection or piece of clothing you made? Do you still sell it now and how do you feel about it years later?
Our first style was a wool and leather trimmed jacket, styled on the side saddle habit. Looking back it was a stunning design but our lack of experience showed in the number of samples it took to get the fabric thickness correct and the shoulder pads in the right place... a true labour of love!
6.) What has been the most successful design for you and why do you think that is?
Our best seller and core design is a wax jacket with 100% waterproofing that is just a truly great shape- flattering and easy to wear over layers in the winter and over a shirt in the summer. A true all year round coat with easy, two way pockets, a hood and nipped waist. We launched the coat in many colours, some with a pop of colour at the zip, and it is a true winner.
7.) Is jewellery import to you? What is your favourite piece of Sophie Lis jewellery
I love wearing small amounts of meaningful jewellery, and once it is on I tend to wear it for weeks. This is one of the reasons I love the Sophie Lis collection, it is subtle but very special, with glints of gold and diamond to compliment casual or smarter looks and I love the meaning Sophie puts into her cosmos inspired designs.
8.) We love that you make everything on British soil and your commitment to the environment and forever fashion. How do you think we can help educate the next generation away from fast fashion and commit to making better choices for the future?
I honestly think the next generation seem to be more aware than we ever were as to the downfalls of fast fashion. Thankfully David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg have spoken across the generations to raise awareness of the horrendous islands of waste polluting our seas and landfills. We are happy to be making small seasonal collections, and to ensure the quality of our designs ensures they stand the test of time, so our customers can buy less and enjoy their purchases for longer.
9.) What’s the next thing for Troy in 2023? What can we expect or get excited for?
We have many exciting plans, from a beautiful new summer collection launching in the Spring to an extension of our childrenswear collection, and maybe even something for the other loves of our lives... dogs!
10.) Click your fingers and be ….. with …….
Poised at the top of a powder filled couloir with my trusty Elements Parka... and a full hipflask.