In an exclusive interview with Bicester Village, Ross Barr-Hoyland – Founder, Designer & Director of Ross Barr discusses his inspiration and The Prince’s Trust.
Tell us how the opportunity to work with The Prince’s Trust came about?
After I finished my degree in Theology, Philosophy & Religion, I knew from years of working for premium retailers I wanted to start my own brand, but with no design training, I was unsure where to turn and where to start. I can’t remember how I learnt of The Prince’s Trust, but I remember speaking to my Enterprise Programme Executive, Chandra Singh. We immediately hit it off. I joined their Enterprise Programme thinking I knew exactly what the brand is, what I wanted to do and whom I was as the designer. However, throughout the process, everything was broken down and taken apart and what emerged is what you see now. I have to thank Chandra for that as she repeatedly challenged me as well as being a shoulder to cry on and there to give me boost when I wanted to give up.
What previous designing have you done?
As previously said, I have no official design training and I didn't study anything related to fashion. The experience I had was working in the high-end premium retail for four years. I spotted a lack of British-made products and that was one the influential factors in establishing Ross Barr.
Your current signature look is the ‘Spencer’ based on a Regency period style, do you have other royal styles in the pipeline, and if so can you tell us what these might be?
I am releasing two new styles this autumn/winter 2016. These are the Elliot and the Hoyland - both of which take inspiration from my own family background. The Elliot was first inspired by a picture I saw of my great-grandfather and grandfather dating back to the 1930s and it also takes inspiration from Marlon Brando, who is one of my favourite actors of all time. The name Elliot comes from the surname of my great-grandfather, which was my maternal grandmother’s maiden name. The Hoyland takes its name from the second part of my surname, which originates in South Yorkshire and means in old Norse ‘farm on a hill’, which refers to my paternal family being farmers since time began. The place of Hoyland in South Yorkshire has experienced some of the most drastic degeneration since all the industry in the area – which consisted mostly of mining – disappeared. The brand ethos and aim is to revive industry and bring back opportunities to areas such as Hoyland, so I thought it was ideal to design and release two products that are personal to myself and my background.
There are two further items that have been named that will be released at a later date, one – The Dandy – takes inspiration again from the Regency period and The Jorvik takes inspiration again from my northern roots.
Would you consider diversifying into womenswear?
Do you think that your Yorkshire roots have a bearing on your designs?
Massively. Most of my lineage is Scottish, but I have strong links and heritage all over England, Wales and Ireland, as many Brits do. I think anyone who is creative uses their roots as a source of the inspiration and, as I am establishing myself, I think it is important to show who I am and what the brand stands for through my designs. No matter where I go in life, Yorkshire and Britain in general will always be the source of my inspiration.