A JOURNEY ALWAYS HAS TO START SOMEWHERE, BUT WHERE TO START?
A Night called Dirt Box on New Years Eve '96, Camden Town is a good a place as any .
I then Sam Cook, was a fresh faced 22 year old studying Womenswear Design at London's Central Saint Martins, living on the top floor of a Restaurant / Bar in Kings Cross. A party place where a group of us used to congregate before hitting the London Club scene. One evening a good friend and workmate came bursting into the bar with a group of her friends, some I hadn't met before...one in particular I hadn't ... Andy D'Cruze .....my evening just got interesting.
'Twas the vortex between Christmas and New Year, clearly having a festive time, and me being on the sober side of the bar with a shift to finish, our chat was hilarious, we finalised the plans for NY's and they disappeared into the night.
The 'build up' to New Years is invariably the most enjoyable... planning of the outfit, the nerves and anticipation of what might become. The previous year I went to Holborn Film Studio's, billed to be a clubbing dream was later documented in Mix Mag as one the years top clubbing disasters.
This year I decided to opt out and work ... after, with my friends and no expectations, we headed down to Dirt Box. We got into the club and this is where the magic happened and I hooked up with Andy ... unbeknown to us this New Year was going to be the start of our journey and life together.
After 3 months we moved in, I graduated and in the November we decided to travel around India, Nepal, Thailand and Australia. After an amazing 2 years we returned to London to crack on with real life.
Not wanting to spend the rest of our working career on someone else's vision we hatched a plan and started honing our skills.
We had our own vision of working together and producing high quality products. We started thinking about setting up our own label ... but this was to be some time away.
Starting off in print and moving into photographic retouching and image making, Andy has always been passionate about design with an emphasise on detail. He started working and within the first year of being back in the UK was retouching British icons.
I immersed myself in pattern cutting and design. Working with luxury British and contemporary design houses cemented my love of good design, a sharp cut, high quality and ingenuity.
Eventually, after many years of working in our separate fields and gaining a wealth of experience it was the right time to join forces.
Music has always played a big part in our lives, especially Depeche Mode. 'Playing the Angel' was touring, 'The Darkest Star' lyrically resinated with both of us. What better name to call our project.
Darkest Star as you know it is very different from when conceived, along the way we had the opportunity and fortune of meeting Sam Roddick, then owner of Coco de Mer. We were asked to exhibited our 'Pleasure Garden' project in the Brompton Road boutique, this is where we debuted our Pleasure Pillow and bondage scarf. They continued stocking our product once the exhibition had finished.
This for me is where Darkest Star truly began.
Up until this point I hadn't found my place within the design world. Even though I went to the most prestigious art college of its time I struggled with fashion and never really fitted in. Knowing there was a place for me but unsure as to where that was. On the other hand Andy had built his reputation and worked with London's best photographers.
My journey as a designer and woman have now joined paths ... I'm venturing down an exciting road that feels right.
As the business has grown Andy is as integral to Darkest Star as myself. We believe that by building anticipation, excitement and trust within the bedroom keeps a relationship fresh and alive. It's alright to feel kinky and sexual exploration should be celebrated and enjoyed.. a message we try to live by and convey within our business.
Our focus is and has always been on quality and a retaliation against mediocrity. All our products are made in our Hertfordshire studio or small atelier in the UK.
Throughout our journey we've brought up two beautiful boys who are a constant source of love and laughter.
If you have any questions about Darkest Star or our journey please drop me a line. I love to share experiences and learn from others so don't be shy !
Always a Pleasure
Andy & Sam Xx
Studio photography taken by Sharon Cooper.