Colour Conversation with Catherine Tough




To kick off our new lovely series of interviews with colour loving designers, stylists and shopkeepers, this week I caught up with designer Catherine Tough to hear her thoughts on how colour shapes her collections....

How does colour influence your work? 

Colour is the starting point for our collection, as knitters, we are limited to using certain yarns on certain machines, there are lots of good shade cards, but the fun bit is putting together unexpected colour combinations and getting them to work as a collection. I love opening up a new shade card and seeing the new options, the slightest difference in tone makes a massive difference in how colours work together.


Which big colour trends do you see happening in colour for AW17? 

I think there will be lots of dark rich colours like foresty green, inky blues and wine with fluorescent brights and lots of lurex in coppery tones or fun brights.

How do you see these colours introducing themselves in your collections?

We have certain styles that we run year on year but always add a more directional colourway to the collection.  With accessories like the socks and scarves, you can play around with the proportions of these colours and get to know what works through trial and error. The bespoke projects we have been working on all have very strong colours this year and lots of sparkles. 

Interior products are more of an investment for customers, so we will stick to a classic base colour and then use trend colours as highlights.


Do you see colour trends as cyclical? 

Yes, I think everything follows cycles, fashion and colour trends are influenced by global economic and political positioning and how people are feeling about the world, and these naturally follow a cycle, change but always come back round again.

Do you have shade that appears regularly in your work? 

There is one colour called piccalilli that is exactly like a good jar of piccalilli (which I don’t even like eating),  it is a lovely bright but slightly dirty acidy yellow.

Why are you drawn to that particular colour?

It has a warmth and freshness that works well once it has been felted (washed and shrunk and a bit fluffy).  It works well with greys and blues – a lot of our most popular styles are a very wearable base with a flash of bright colour, and it is perfect for this. We’ve even painted the studio doors this colour; there is something fun and very welcoming about it.

Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere, I live in Hackney, and there is a great mix of colour and pattern where ever you look, my daughter is at a school near a bustling food market, so there is always packaging or graffiti in crazy combos. In contrast to this, my parents live in the middle of nowhere, and I find the calmer natural environment full of exciting colours and texture and perfect for looking at proportion and balance of colour as the seasons change.

What made you choose NYNOW to showcase your new collection? What can visitors expect to see?

Well, this is our first international show, and we are very excited. We chose NYNOW after speaking to you and Carola Van Dyke as you both had an excellent response from the show.  The East coast weather is perfect for our woollies, and we thought it was a good place to start. We have a colourful collection of lambswool socks introducing some new creatures…lobsters and pandas are my favourites. New stripy scarves in lightweight Merino lambswool,  honeycomb bobble hats in lovely new colourways and lots of new accessories including mittens for grown-ups and sparkly leg warmers….think I watched too much Fame as a child, that might be my secret reason for going.

If like me you are smitten with the idea of those sparkly leg warmers, do check out Catherine's stand at NYNOW this August and in the meantime you can discover more about her colourful collection at 

I hoped you enjoyed the first colour conversation, stay tuned for more designer musings coming next week.

Susan Lacey Twig