An interview with Rockabye-Baby founder Emma Parkes-McQueen
Quirky childrenswear brand Rockabye-Baby was created for children with attitude. Its stand-out designs, inspired by music and pop culture, aim to bring out each little fashionista’s inner rock star, whilst steering them away from mainstream trends.
Your brand says “don’t give in to mainstream cute”; how do your designs reflect this?
Emma Parkes-McQueen: When I first started working on designs for the brand, I was aware that the high street was awash with very traditional ideas. I believe a newer generation of parents and gift givers need something that reflects their spirit, rather than that of an older generation. I have always loved all types of music and wanted to transfer some of the joy that music brings into the designs.
Why did you choose to make the brave decision of steering away from stereotypical styles?
I think I have always had the spirit to strive to be different. I was lucky to be educated at Central Saint Martins, where we were told to “get a brief, rip its head off, spit down its neck and put the head back on again”. It seems that I must have been very impressionable; although I have long since graduated, that rebellious nature just hasn’t diminished!
Commercially speaking, I don’t see the point of recreating what someone has already accomplished. That’s just copying and not creating (the fun bit!). It’s like when a child produces a drawing and they are soulfully proud of it. “I made this” is a fundamental feel-good saying – we should all say it more.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
When I lived in London and Amsterdam, I was constantly bombarded with cool things that would inspire me, plus there were plenty of galleries and museums to visit. Now, I am located in deepest, darkest Hertfordshire. I tend to use the Internet and books more than ever before.
I also have my monthly London soak up, when I usually come away with lots of ideas – usually too many!
What is your ultimate ambition?
I would like to run a company that allows me to help other people. When I am in a stressful situation, I often have to take a breath and just remind myself how lucky I am: to be born in the UK, with a family, a house, running water, health care and the right to an education. There are millions of people who don’t have these privileges. It would be gratifying to make enough money to help others.
What other stores stock Rockabye-Baby?
We sell to various independent retailers around the UK and Europe; internationally, we dispatch the brand as far afield as Dubai and Bahrain. In London, we supply Carry Me Home in Carnaby Street, Little Gems Boutique near Victoria Park and Verandah in NW10. Our suppliers are fully listed on our website, which is updated regularly.
To shop the brand visit here.