Scamp & Dude is a kid and grown ups clothing brand designed by Jo Tutchener-Sharp. Jo previously ran her own PR agency until she had a brain haemorrhage and her life changed forever. She came up with the idea behind Scamp & Dude in the hospital while recovering from brain surgery and missing her children. Even though Scamp & Dude clothes are playful and cool, the heart of the brand is all about helping kids deal with separation anxiety and providing them with an extra sense of security when they need it most. Scamp & Dude believes everyone needs a Superhero to have their back. Here Jo shares her inspiring story, read our interview with her below.
HOW DID SCAMP & DUDE FIRST COME TO LIFE?
I went through a life changing experience which inspired Scamp & Dude. I suffered a brain haemorrhage when my children were 1 and 3 years old and a couple of months later had to have surgery to remove a blood tumour from my brain. I came up with the idea behind the brand when recovering in hospital and desperately missing my children. We had to be apart for ten days which was so hard, this is what inspired the creation of the Superhero Sleep Buddies. The Superhero Sleep Buddies are dinosaur and bunny Superhero shaped cushion comforters which sit on the bed watching over kids while they sleep and keeping them safe. Designed to deal with separation anxiety, a pocket on the back holds a photograph of whoever they want to keep close. My biggest fear was that I wouldn’t survive the surgery so I thought a lot about my children growing up without me and how they would cope without a mummy. My kids were lucky but so many aren’t, so we donate a Superhero Sleep Buddy to a child who has lost a parent or is seriously ill themselves for every one sold.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME AND WHAT IS THE IDEA BEHIND IT?
Scamp & Dude are the names I use to describe my two boys. Sonny is a total scamp and Jude is a proper little dude. The brand was inspired by being separated from them both while I was at the hospital, so it felt only right that they also inspired the name.
WHERE DOES THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR COLLECTION COME FROM?
Everything in the collection is inspired by superpowers but in a stylish way. I wanted to create clothes that kids would love but the aim was to design a collection that grown-ups would want to wear too. We made some of the collection in adult sizes and now can’t keep up with demand… we have even had Robbie Williams wearing our adult sweatshirts! I created a leopard print with a lightning bolt to make it our unique superpower-infused leopard print. We have a Superpower Button on every garment, an embroidered neon pink lightning bolt. The swing tag gives the child a choice of Superpowers that pressing the button will give them, they can choose from powers such as ‘expert fairy finder’, ‘super cool shapeshifter’ or ‘loud dinosaur roar’. Our slogan which is ‘a superhero has my back’ is written on the back of all plain tops and written along the inner neckline of all of the tops, reminding kids that someone is watching over them even when they can’t see you. I am inspired by everything around me, I got the inspiration for one of the AW 17 designs from a fish I saw at the zoo in Amsterdam. It had the most amazing markings and colours so I have worked it into one of the new designs.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO DO A KIDS LINE?
It all started with the Superhero Sleep Buddies, wanting to help kids when they were apart from their parents. Then it moved into a clothing range when I thought kids needed an extra sense of security when on the move too. Heading off to nursery or school without their parents can be tough on kids (and parents), so it seemed only right to give kids a little Superhero to watch over them.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT DESIGNING FOR KIDS?
I am in my element designing, it’s one of my favourite parts of the job. I love prints, we will always have fun superpower-infused prints in the collection as well as lovable-but-cool Superhero characters. When Vogue called us their ‘favourite new kid’s clothing brand’ I had to pinch myself that I get to do this for a living, and that Vogue was giving us the thumbs up!
WHAT DOES YOUR WORKSPACE LOOK LIKE?
I have a temporary office at home at the moment, as I am currently decorating my new office, having just moved the Scamp & Dude distribution out of the house. I used to have a room where all the stock was kept, which is now being redecorated to become my new office. I have a fluro pink chair which sits at a vintage pale grey wooden desk. I surround myself with street art like an original Jamie Reid Sex Pistols print and a graffiti mermaid by Faile. These are mixed with some pretty vintage furniture and some ornate mirrors giving it an eclectic modern vintage feel.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO LISTEN TO WHEN YOU’RE WORKING?
I actually like silence when I am working, I open the windows in my office which overlooks my garden and listen to the birds. My husband can’t work without loud music and I’m the opposite unless I’m designing, then I love listening to Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson, Basement Jaxx, and Pharrell.
WHAT IS THE SS17 COLLECTION INSPIRED BY?
The SS17 collection is more of an extension of our core line. It has more of our leopard print in more summery colours, lightweight fabrics and some new pieces like our new retro shorts and some super soft t-shirts. We have a new print incorporating our slogan ‘a superhero has my back’ which is superpower-infused and comes in leggings, t-shirts and sweatshirts in various colours.
WHAT IS THE DESIGN PROCESS AND HOW ARE THE COLLECTIONS MADE?
The collections will always have contemporary prints and will feature our main two characters, Scamp (the dinosaur) and Dude (the bunny) but they will come in different styles depending on the collection. For example, AW17 is called ‘The Jungle is Massive’ and it’s a collection inspired by a superpower-infused graffiti jungle. So we see Scamp & Dude in a new graffiti style and the rest of the collection has also taken influence from street art, jungle and cool prints. They will be in super soft fabrics and contemporary colourways.
IF YOU COULD CHOOSE ONE KEY STYLE FROM THE SS17 COLLECTION WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I love our new Superpower Jacket, a super soft varsity jacket with lightning bolts embroidered on the front and our slogan ‘a superhero has my back’ printed on the back.
IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE YOUR BRAND IN THREE WORDS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
Fun, contemporary, compassionate.
AND FINALLY, DO YOU HAVE ANY WORDS YOU LIVE BY?
Be kind and be loyal.
It isn’t about how important or powerful you are (or think you are), what ridiculous title you give yourself or how many followers you have; it’s about how you behave, what difference you are making and how you make others feel. Life is short – live it. Have adventures, push yourself, take risks, work hard and have no regrets. Wear your best pants, burn your candles and drink your best wine. You never know what is around the corner so make each day count.
With thanks to Jo Tutchener-Sharp X