Kate Southworth, Brand & Commercial Director at Anya Hindmarch 

Meet Kate Southworth, Brand & Commercial Director at Anya Hindmarch, and our co-founder Anna Singh’s best friend since the two were in their twenties. Eight weeks into lockdown, Kate shares her experience of juggling home working with home schooling as well as discovering some surprising upsides to our new ‘normal’.     

You are Anya Hindmarch’s Brand & Commercial Director, can you tell us a little about that?

A long time – 16 years. My role’s developed over the years and I now oversee all the teams that are involved in anything to do with promoting and selling the brand – from e-comm and wholesale through to marketing and visual merchandising. I work very closely with Anya on all aspects of the business and I love the variety of my role because of that. It’s never dull as we have a very ‘can do’ culture and we do a lot of very creative projects. It’s pretty full on but our office is only ten minutes from my home and my boys’ school so that makes everything work somehow – or did in the old days of going to an office and school.

How has your day-to-day role changed since working from home?

Quite a lot. It’s really intense and involves endless list writing – and I’m a list addict at the best of times but now it’s off the scale. I have had to adjust to managing people in a different way now that I can only see them on Zoom. And we have gone from having meetings about, say, producing a physical pop up in Tokyo to meetings that are all focused on digital or new projects like an important NHS one making Holdsters for ICU staff, probably the most important ‘bag’ we will ever make. Plus there is so much to do on top of the 'normal' work – first it was the planning on how all the teams would work remotely and which projects we would pause and now it’s thinking about how we get back to a ‘new normal’, how we change our fashion calendar, how our shops will operate, how and when teams will come back to the office. We are a very close group who have a lot of fun working together so we have a weekly Zoom meeting with the whole company to try to maintain this spirit and keep everyone in touch and up to date.

How do you switch off in the evenings and at the weekends?

Wine every day. Since working from home I’ve actually got much better at stopping work at around 6, that really surprised me, but you need to set the boundaries between work and home when it’s all happening in the same space. And after that I don’t want to look at a screen at all. The weekdays are really full on and I crave the weekends more than ever, which also surprised me given we can’t go anywhere different. There’s something very relaxing about not being able to rush around doing things or feeling like you should be out doing things. The pressure is off in that respect. I read a lot, play games and watch a lot of episodes of Friends with the boys and we spend as much time outside as we can. And I do endless laundry. Why is there always so much laundry?! Then feel I guilty that I’m not clearing out a cupboard and so I drink more wine.

How would you describe your at-home style?

At the moment I just crave comfort - feeling cosy and cocooned. But never sloppy. Pared down, simple clothes. And things that have sentimental value – long, well-worn beach dresses that I’ve bought on holidays, vintage workwear trousers bought in my favourite shop in Cornwall where my partner is from. I’m always cold so head to toe in a C&P cashmere tracksuit is always a good option. And socks with everything. Clean hair that’s not been blow dried once since lockdown. A touch of Perfumer H scent to make me feel pulled together. I did actually put my favourite long, red dress on at the weekend because our boys very sweetly made us a ‘date night’ so we got dressed up.