Summer may be over for this year, however there are plenty occasions to look forward to – cosy evenings spent at home, special events and the general excitement leading up to party season. Ruth Guise (above, middle) is the founder and owner of boutique fashion company ‘Shibumi’ based in Gloucestershire, England, which features designs in silk and cashmere for both her fashion collection and interior design range. Actress Sienna Miller has worn a reversible cashmere dressing gown from Ruth’s collection; the HRH Princess Anne wore Shibumi for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations earlier this year…

I’m very lucky to have HRH Princess Anne as one of my clients; also the Duchess of Cornwall, Lady Jane Fellowes, Kate Moss and Sienna Miller to name a few…”

Ruth Guise, Shibumi

Shibumi was formed after Ruth had spent a year living in India; now her clients include international VIPs, British royalty, supermodels and Hollywood stars. Here we discuss inspirations, the importance of names/branding and how Ruth started the company…

C&B: “Ruth, you’re clearly producing very successful designs; what first inspired you to launch your own brand?”

RG: “Back in 2004, I had a vision of people wearing classic cut jackets casually, as well as for smart occasions. The idea of designing them myself literally came out of the blue – ‘divinely inspired’, some may say. I wanted people of all shapes and sizes to be able to wear something they’d perhaps bought for a special occasion to be able to wear it again more informally; I’m a fan of ‘slow fashion’, keeping garments long term rather than throwing them away after just they’ve been worn only once or twice…”

C&B: “What do you believe gives your Shibumi designs their longevity?”

RG: “They’re timeless, very wearable, dressed up or down; they’re never going to go out of fashion as they are not about changing fashions – they’re just elegant, classic cuts that are here for the long run…”

My designs are inspired by nature, and also artists such as the painter Alphones Mucha (above, left) and the fashion house ‘Etro’ (above, right)…”

Ruth Guise, Shibumi

C&B: “The name ‘Shibumi’ is very unique and distinctive, why did you choose it for your line?”

RG: “The word shibumi means ‘nature seeking expression‘ in Japanese, so it was the perfect name for my company as the fabrics I design are natural and express themselves that way, whether as clothing or in a stunning bedthrow. Also, my parents were going to call me ‘Bhumi’ as my mum thought she was going to have me whilst staying at Bhumi Hills in India; I always wished I’d been called Bhumi so I decided if I had a daughter I would call her Bhumi as it means ‘gift from the gods‘ in Sanskrit. However, I started my business before I had my daughter and I was itching to use the name so I used it as the brand name instead. So, originally my business was called ‘Bhumi’, but then it morphed into ‘Shibumi’, with the meaning of the word being ‘nature seeking expression…”

My most high profile moment is probably HRH Princess Anne wearing ‘Shibumi’ this year at the Queens Platinum Jubilee…”

Ruth Guise, Shibumi

C&B: “What is your are typical client profile and what attracts them to Shibumi?”

RG: “I would say my demographic is age 25-100yrs! At the moment, I mostly dress the age bracket from 50-80yrs, both ladies and gentlemen. Some clients are looking for a mother of the bride outfit, or an outfit for attending a wedding as a guest, to wear as father of the groom, etc, and I also design smart/casual jackets for ‘ladies who lunch’, or those who require stylish office wear…”

Swanning around like a god or goddess (as Sienna Miller did in her La Mer commercial, above left) in one of our reversible cashmere and silk gowns is a very good start and/or end to your day…

Ruth Guise, Shibumi

C&B: “How to potential clients contact you in the first instance and where do you operate from?”

RG: “I have a studio that I had built in my garden and clients come to it throughout the week, by appointment; it’s great meeting so many lovely people, some of whom have travelled from as far away as the States and Australia to come and find some special, original outfit that can’t be found on the high street! I’ve staged many shows over the last 18 yrs; that was needed in the beginning to get my brand name out there – we don’t do so many now as we haven’t needed to, however, we’re always open to being involved in private shows and sales where there will be new clientele and people who like our designs. We’ve also thought about putting a small selection of the clothes in high end wedding boutiques…”

“In our society, I’ve seen that if you’re not a size 10-14 you may not find a beautiful outfit that isn’t at a crazy price; I want to dress all shapes and sizes with elegance. To the potential clients reading this who don’t think of themselves as ‘elegant,‘ I will change your mind! I hope I can inspire people to shine from within and be confident to wear something gorgeous…”

Ruth Guise, Shibumi

C&B: “Where do your clients most often wear your designs?”

RG: “Mostly to weddings, but also at the opera, the races, important social occasions. And the cashmere gowns, of course, at home – and often out as well – looking and feeling like a total Goddess!”

My inspiration is to spread colour and good vibes around the world. I want every person that comes to me for an outfit to leave feeling amazing…”

Ruth Guise, Shibumi

C&B: “Can clients come up with their own cut and/or fabric design? If so, what has been the most memorable and/or impressive?”

RG: “Clients can come and have a design we already stock and have it tweaked and made to measure. They can have designs altered, like having buttons added, different necklines, lengthened, shortened, any changes really within our style and this means we can dress every shape and size. When they book I have many clients say they’re an ‘odd shape’; we love odd shapes! Our dream client is someone who struggles with their body image and puts on ‘Shibumi’ and feels a million dollars…”

C&B: “What would you say have been your most significant challenges while running your company?”

RG: “Being a single mum and it’s also challenging working with my contacts in India! My daughter Coco gives me all the energy I’ve needed to keep going when times have been tough; India is an entity unto itself and anyone who has been there knows what I mean – there are always challenges but it’s the attitude you adopt that makes things easier. Running a business is all encompassing and you don’t stop until you have a brilliant team, which luckily, I have. I think balancing it all is the biggest challenge; finding time for myself has been hard as everything needs my attention. I’m a positive person though, and I love what I do. You have to have your heart in it for the business to work for you. What I’m most proud of is being an independent woman, running a successful business whilst being a single mum and spreading positive vibes around the world…”


Comments are closed.