I was born Laura Cook in 1975 in a small British market town in Lancashire into a working-class family of strong, creative women. The youngest of 3 sisters, I was different from day one. I had a wild and creative side, which emerged when, aged 3, I decided I wanted to look different and cut my own fridge - much to the dismay of my mum!
My dad left when I was just two years old and I never saw him again. This meant that my mum worked 3 jobs, day and night, so she could provide for us. By day she was a seamstress at a well-known school clothing company, and at the weekends and evenings, she worked in a local supermarket and drove a taxi. In fact, she was one of the first female taxi drivers in the country! She was sociable, hardworking, and had her own sense of style - for example, she donned a velvet suit to match my dad’s when they got married in the 1970s - always one to defy the norm and tradition! She also had an eye for detail, not just in the making of clothes for herself and my sisters, but also in making curtains for our neighbours’ homes, too. She had such a strong influence on me, showing me that you could create the most unique and beautiful items from almost nothing if you put your time, energy, and all of your individual creativity into it.
As my mum didn't have a lot of free time to be with us, I spent a lot of my early childhood years drawing, doodling, and creating, and this is where my love for clothes and styling really started.
In high school, my fashion sense was always a little different. My mum either bought my clothes from local charity shops (before it was cool and acceptable) or I had my sisters’ hand- me-downs. I would then lovingly spend hours with scissors, hand cutting, painting, reshaping, and restyling.
Creating something new from what I had to hand became not just a means to an end, it became a necessity for me. When I designed, I got lost in a world of my own imagination. Instead of being a self-conscious teenager needing to wear the latest fashion and trends, I was instead exhilarated by being uniquely dressed! Expressing myself and my individuality was synonymous to freedom for me.
I left school in the early 90s, having decided to pursue a career in design. I went to college to study art and design and this increased my love for fashion and textiles. When I headed to Leeds University to study textiles and design, things really changed for me.
I was surrounded by like-minded creative people who loved to experiment as much as I did.
It was such a stark contrast from the small Lancashire market town where I’d grown up, feeling like I was an alien! For the first time, I felt seen and understood by my peers. It was there I found my tribe. And for the first time I also believed that I could achieve anything. And that was powerful.
After graduating, I got my foot in the door of a real design job. I learned so much in this role and my love for design grew along with my skills. This gave me the opportunity to experience and work in other design roles within the company for both corporate and independent high street retailers. My confidence and expertise grew and I’d pinch myself thinking “I’m a designer! This is my job!”
In my personal life, I got married to my childhood sweetheart and had 2 gorgeous children, Oscar and Grace. However, we grew apart and got divorced. As a result, my confidence was on the floor. I lost my sense of self and didn’t recognise myself or the person I’d become.
I was at an all-time low. However, I was determined that I could and would support my kids. My creative full-time job gave me an income, a purpose and focus to stay at the top of my career and be the best I could be and still have the freedom to be there with and for my kids - a privilege my mother didn’t get.
Slowly, I regained my confidence and formed a new perspective on life, myself, and life as a single parent. On top of that, work was a creative distraction and saw me travel the world.
2007 - 2019
In 2007 I met Mr. Wildish and my world changed forever. I had found my equal, who loved me and accepted me for who I was with no filter or compromise.
In 2013 I had my 3rd baby Ivy who was born into the Wildish clan.
In 2017 we got married and I took on his fabulous surname (now my brand name ) and with his creative energy and support behind me, I thought about the exciting idea of what life could be like if I created my own brand.
You only get one life! Those words never rang more true when I suddenly and unexpectedly lost my mum in early 2020. The woman who had been an inspiration and influence to me since I was little; who was so creative, brave, stylish and ahead of her time in her outlook on life and style - she was gone. And so her death was a pivotal moment in time for me: I realised that there is no time like the present, that our dreams matter and that standing out from the crowd is better than to fit in. For me personally, this meant that my biggest dream, to design and launch my very own slow fashion luxury collection, couldn’t wait any longer.
Life’s too short. So stand out and make your mark. Take a stand and say what’s important to you. You’re never too old to do what you want, say what you want and wear what you want. Let them stop and stare and let your style do the talking!