Shabby Chic with Cabbages & Roses: The Happiest of Collaborations.....

A collaboration made in heaven.

On a sunny summer's day in a field in Sussex, I met the famed Rachel Ashwell. A little bit 

starstruck I chatted nonchalantly in an attempt to find out more about her and her brand Shabby Chic.

Before I knew it we had spent most of the summer together hatching plans for a collaborative

scheme bringing Shabby Chic and Cabbages & Roses together in a collection of

beautiful organic cotton jersey.

To launch our new collection I thought I would find out more about my new friend

in a series of questions that you might find interesting. Interspersed with images

of our lovely new collection,

which, as you read you will find on line now.

Q:   Had you heard of Cabbages & Roses when you stumbled upon Christina in a Sussex Field?

Rachel Ashwell in a field in Sussex at The Country Brocante

A:   Even though I have been based in Los Angeles for 40 years I always favoured UK Home Decor 

magazines, so over the years I had seen many articles on Cabbages & Roses. I always loved the 

simplicity of their prints and the authenticity of their British Brand as though the Queen decorated 

her house with their pieces.  Also we share the same publisher who over the years had hoped one day 

Christina and I would meet. For some reason I had expected a very polished, manicured and fancy 

lady, so part of me was a little intimidated at the thought. So I was pleasantly surprised when we met 

for the first time at a Brocante in Sussex last summer, that she is a creative, beautiful, intelligent real 

person. Instantly, she felt like family.

Q:   If you had to describe Cabbages & Roses in a sentence what would it be?

A:  Cabbages & Roses to me is like an authentic English garden translated onto fabric to wear or 

for the home, designed beautifully and subtly with organized chaos.

Rosabell Organic Jersey
Organic Jersey Collection 

Q:  Our collaboration came about in the Cabbages & Roses tree house design studio – from where do 

you design in your home town of Los Angeles?

A:  When I’m At home In Los Angeles I have a home office. It’s not very big - just a couple of pale 

blue harvest tables and loads of mood boards lining the walls and a wonky chandelier. I have several 

large baskets and boxes filled with what looks like scraps of nothingness. But I actually know every 

single thread in there. Sometimes they get pulled out for props for photo shoots as for an element of 

inspiration. I then have a large design studio within my corporate offices. I don’t actually have my 

own desk there as this is a communal space for my designers and merchants. And when needed I 

work alongside my team. It’s the heart of my offices. Again lots of mood boards and bits and pieces. 

Q:You are pretty famous – I googled you and there were 2m results – you have been on TV, you have

 licenses all over the world, you have built an empire, you are always on an aeroplane, yet you are

one of the kindest mothers/friends/bosses I have ever met – how are you so sane?   How are you so 


A:  Wow that’s a deep question. I am many of the things you describe. I think the core of who I am is 

an empathic person. It’s what has inspired me all these years to find the beauty in treasures, in what 

others might feel are past their due date. And I think I carry that  value into my relationships. We all 

change and evolve but there is always an element to treasure in a person and I am always touched by 

that thought. So maybe that means I’m kind. But as I have gotten older I find myself more 

challenged to stay connected to how my industry  is  changing. Not so much as far as trends and 

styles but the communications, the “influencer" piece for  me doesn’t always feel authentic. So I try 

and stay “sane “ in my bubble.

Q:Where did you grow up?

A:  I largely grew up in north London / Barnet/ Hendon and the sleepy side of Hampstead. 

Q:  What is your favourite thing about what you do?

A:  Shopping for vintage is my favourite thing. I love the discovery of the treasure, I love the 

satisfaction of knowing the special spot my “find” will land up or I love realizing when I have found 

something that will inspire me in my design work. And I also love the interaction with the vendors, 

listening to their adventurous stories.

Q:  Favourite film?

A:   At the moment the remake of A Star is Born.   But my long time love is Out of Africa. 

The romance and the art direction are music to my eyes.


Q:  Favourite book?

A:  I’m such a poor reader. Something I want to get better at. But from school days Wuthering 

Heights “I am Heathcliff" (is that embarrassing?? ) 

Q:  Who would play you in a film about your life?

A:   Renee Zellwegger. I think she captures passion, creativity and vulnerability so well. 

Q:  What would your last meal be:

A:     A roast dinner with chicken. Paxo stuffing and Bisto gravy and mash potato and peas. And 

then apple pie with custard. 

Q:  Your ideal dinner guests, dead or alive. You can choose 8.

A:  Bruce Springsteen, Oprah, Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Joe Biden, Jeff Daniels, 

my mum, Frank Sinatra.

 Q:  Vegetables or chocolate?

A:  Chocolate ( milk)

Q:  If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

A:  Somerset

Q:  Films or Books?

A:  Films

Q:  Where would you like to be right now?

A:  At Christina's house, sitting by her fire, eating Marmite on toast.

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