Whether she’s being mocked by Keith Lemon on Celebrity Juice, welcoming our favourite bands into the Radio 1 Live Lounge or strutting her stuff at a red carpet event, we at Source love Fearne Cotton – and we love her even more for spreading her wings beyond broadcasting to dip her toes into the world of business. The gorgeous Ms Cotton sat down to talk fashion and beauty with Lindsay Cochrane.
Your latest beauty collection is in Boots stores now. What inspired you to give beauty a go?
I really love the business side of things. I’ve been working in TV for 15 years now, so I really wanted to challenge myself in a different way. It had to be something that was authentic to what I love and know, and I do know a lot to do with make up so it seemed like the next natural step. Boots are the biggest and best at doing beauty and toiletries – working with them was a total dream come true.
What did you learn about the business side of things?
You’ve got to know how to PR stuff that you’re doing, how to make products for the customers, know what your demographic is – all the different factors that come into it. There are so many things to consider in beauty too. Packaging was a big thing for me, because I really love art and design, so I really wanted to nail that. In the actual produce side of things, as well as thinking about the aesthetics like colours and textures, you’ve got to look into what products are wearable, which ones last long. Even the smallest things like the feel of a moisturiser. That’s been a really fun part – trying out lots of products and seeing what’s worked!
What’s your favourite item in the new collection?
I love the toiletry side of it because we’ve expanded so much on it. I love the big hatbox, there’s loads of really lovely things in it and that’s always a good Christmas present! I love the nail sets – I obviously spend a lot of time picking which nail colours go together for each set. Once I get those, I love wearing them.
Of course, you Boots range isn’t your first business venture – you’ve just launched a new collection with Very.co.uk too. How did you get involved in fashion?
Growing up, I loved shopping and I’d never get bored of buying new clothes and trying out new things. It’s always been a bit of a dream to do something like this but I didn’t know if it was very realistic. When Very started, they were looking for people to have a go at designing and to head up the brand. I had a chat with them, they were really good about letting me be involved and designing it all, rather than just being the face of it. When I realised that I could actually do it properly, I was really intrigued.
How does the design process work?
I’ll start off making loads of mood boards of images that have been in magazines, things I’ve found online, photos I’ve taken, fabric samples I’ve found down the market and start sketching from there. Once I’ve sketched, I’ll take all my drawings in to the Very team and talk them through it and then the designers will sit and do some more technical drawings and maybe we’ll collaborate on some ideas. We get the samples ready, look at things again and eventually end up with a nice collection.
You’re often spotted wearing your own designs, which is obviously testament to the fact that you love what you’re designing…
I don’t want to design things that I wouldn’t wear myself. Why would anyone else wear them, do you know what I mean? I think you’ve got to make something that you like otherwise there’s no point. You can be quite selfish that way, which is good!
What’s been the most exciting moment of your fashion career?
Definitely seeing girls wearing my clothes in the street. I remember during the Royal Wedding, there was this girl who ran across the Mall really early in the morning when I was down there presenting for the BBC, and she had one of my dresses on. I was just so excited to see someone on such a wonderful day wearing one of my designs – that was really special.
Are there any plans to take the Fearne Cotton brand even bigger?
For now, I really want to concentrate on the clothing and the make up, but I’ve got lots of other ideas that I really want to put into practice, a few things I’m working on at the moment which are slightly outside of fashion and make up.
We’d love to see a Fearne Cotton boutique!
That’d be an absolute dream! I would love to do that one day. Fingers crossed – I’ve got a lot more to learn. That’s one of the most fun things about working with the guys at Very – you learn so much about the inside stuff that you’d never find out about normally. I’m definitely trying to soak up as much as I can.
Between broadcasting and designing, what do you enjoy the most?
I really enjoy doing the design element of it. I love drawing; it’s always been one of my main passions. Putting that into an aspect of my work is really exciting. I love doing that and I’m really passionate about it. Obviously, I love radio too because I get to listen to music all day and talk about it! That’s really fun.
If broadcast hadn’t taken off for you, where do you think you’d have ended up career-wise?
Maybe I would’ve ended up in a fashion-y sort of job, or something arty. I’m not the sort of person who would want to do anything particularly academic – I didn’t really have any aspirations to go to university, I just wanted to get out there and work as soon as I could. I think going to uni is great, but there are a lot of other options for just working hard and working your way up the ladder if it is a creative industry.
Catch Fearne Cotton weekdays from 10am on BBC Radio 1.
Source Autumn 2012