Bertioli by Thyme and Pepa London - Behind the Collaboration

Bertioli by Thyme and Pepa London - Behind the Collaboration

Capturing the essence of nature and quintessential British style and sharing the same values of quality craftsmanship and responsible design, Pepa & Co and Bertioli have come together to bring the creative visions of founders, Pepa González and Caryn and Camilla Hibbert, to life.

Inspired by nature and botanicals in Thyme’s English country garden and woodland surroundings of the Cotswolds, the limited-edition collection is made up of womenswear and childrenswear pieces in classic styles, adorned with an exclusive in-house designed hand-drawn ‘Bumble Bees & Forget-me-Not’ print. The ditsy, rambling design celebrates this delightful flower and their loving relationship with bees.

Our founder, Pepa Gonzalez explains the evolution of Pepa & Co, and the inspirations that have brought this partnership, with Bertioli by Thyme, together.

Where did the story of Pepa & Co first begin?
After living in London for three years as a Nanny, and being surrounded by children all day, I noticed that there was a gap in the market for traditional and quintessentially British clothes for children. I was born and raised in Malaga, Spain, and brought up in traditional and very British-style/inspired pieces. These outfits hold such a special place in my heart and it’s something I wanted to create for the children today.

Can you tell us about a moment you have been most proud of in your journey with Pepa & Co?
I always been so proud to see the evolution of Pepa & Co. and I’ve loved seeing many #littlepepas in our designs all around the globe. A particular moment that stands out to me is Pippa Middleton and James Matthews’ wedding in 2017, we were delighted to be chosen to dress the pageboys and flower girls in our very special celebration pieces.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Clothing, to me, had been a huge part of my childhood. I now love to look back on the outfits my mother would dress my brothers and I in, and how they have shaped special memories of my happy upbringing. It is so important, to me, to see children dressed as children in timeless outfits that can shape their memories, as they did mine. My inspiration comes from my British in-laws and my large Spanish family. My mother would dress me in traditional silhouettes and embellishments, including handsmocking, which is a signature detail in our designs today, and my four brothers in classic shirts and smart trousers that could be passed through one another. - this answer is too similar to the first one.

How do you ensure sustainable practices in your production?

Sustainable practises are at the heart of our company; in order to preserve the beautiful traditional and hand-made techniques which we are known for, all of our clothes are made locally in Spain. We also strongly believe in producing the best quality, lonest wearing clothes, so they can be used for years and passed down siblings and even generations. In producing timeless and special pieces, we encourage our customers to cherish the clothes and to not quickly replace them with a new fast-trend item.

In creating Pepa & Co. what I have also sought to address is our obsession with fast fashion, which is a particular issue with children’s clothing. We want to encourage our customers to buy better quality pieces that last longer. To keep what you buy, care for it and save it for the next arrival in your family. With every item I design, I am hopeful that it will be worn by generations to come

How do you combine both Spanish heritage and classic British design in your pieces?
The blend of British and Spanish designs, long predates the start of Pepa & Co.. Spanish Children’s clothes have been heavily influenced by traditional British designs for generations. Children’s clothing in Spain has an enormous focus on craftsmanship. Older women in the family were always making beautiful garments for the new baby in the family, using old techniques. Hand-embroidered dresses, hand-knitted sets for newborn babies, beautiful delicate lace blouses and many other unique pieces that some of us are lucky to keep as heirloom pieces.

Those old techniques are sadly being lost through the generations, which is one of my main motivations to keep building the Pepa & Co. brand. With that, I have combined my inspiration from my British in-laws and the Spanish traditions to make luxury and timeless pieces. Spain loves British classic childrenswear details and designs, Peter pan collars, Liberty floral prints, tartan, handsmocked or mariner shapes have been used for many years as inspiration in my home country. There is a beautiful and traditional connection between the two countries so full of Story behind traditional children clothing.

Patterns inspired by nature are at the essence of Bertioli’s designs. What role does nature play in both your designs and also in your daily life?
We create signature pieces every season in fashion from tradition and heritage. England countryside bring us every season a full palette of colours where I get inspired from. I love visiting the countryside with my husband, Mike, and my son, Matthew, all year round and to get away from the busy lifestyle of London. I found the beautiful countryside of Gloucestershire and the breath-taking grounds of Thyme work synergistically with Pepa & Co and is a true representation of why I love the British country so much.

We asked Caryn her reasons and inspirations behind the collaboration, and what it has meant to her.

Please tell us the origin of Bertioli and Thyme?
Thyme’s evolution has been an organic one, slowly growing the business and place over the years we have learnt a great deal along the way. The story started with the restoration of the beautiful but derelict farm barns that constituted the agricultural part of the historic Cotswold manorial estate that is our home. The restoration began with the 17th century Tithe Barn and Olive Garden, which in 2007 became Thyme’s founding ingredient: the cookery school. Gradually as the business grew, we have added the adjacent houses and cottages, operating more like a boutique hotel. The final big investment was to create a restaurant in our magnificent Ox Barn, with its original herringbone boarding and massive 56 feet single span beams it is a truly inspiring space. I still can't believe how everything has now come together to create our 'Village within a Village’ that it is today.
Bertioli is my maiden name, and my parents were integral to the project. With my father driving much of the restoration project and my mother, a keen gardener, instilling a love of plants - it felt the perfect name for what I like to call the 'colouring in' of Thyme, our family lifestyle brand.
I have loved creating Bertioli, which is really everything that I love. I am passionate about nature, its flora and fauna and so through my illustrations of the botanicals that inhabit the gardens, farm and wild meadows at Thyme we have created patterns and scents that tell the story of Thyme. We also have our Breathing and Bathing collection that has been inspired by the Water Meadows at Thyme, the need for sustainability within the beauty and hospitality industries and the positive well-being effects of breathing and scent.

Please share a moment you have been most proud of with Thyme and/or Bertioli?
I am immensely proud of my family who all play an important role in the business which is very much a family affair, and I most certainly couldn't do it without them.

It is wonderful to see our guests enjoying both Thyme and Bertioli, and that of course would never happen without our team. So, it is our team I am most proud of, who keep everything running smoothly and help us in being the best that we can possibly be.

Where does the inspiration behind your designs for Bertioli come from?
All of my designs are rooted in a love of nature and both the patterns from our collections and our Breathing & Bathing range have been inspired by the flora and fauna that inhabit Thyme’s wild spaces.

On my morning walk through the gardens and meadows with my dogs, I will often pick a flower, branch or vegetable that I will take home to paint. I am constantly observing the nature around me and find that inspiration comes from the small things in life – life’s details that can be so easily overlooked but that carry wonderful stories.

Please tell us why you wanted to collaborate with Pepa & Co.
I was very excited when Pepa & Co reached out to us to collaborate on a Mummy & Me collection. Not only has it been a privilege to collaborate with such an iconic British brand, but with my children now grown up, to jump back into the world of childrenswear has been such a joy.
When the children were growing up, I delighted in dressing them in very much the vein of the clothes that Pepa now makes. I think Pepa’s designs truly celebrate tradition and history whilst maintaining childlike playfulness, and all the while with a commitment to craftsmanship and quality which is so important.

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