The Story Behind Rose's Wardrobe

Ready to find out about Rose’s Wardrobe’s founders Leanne and Emma Duncan’s journey to creating Rose’s Wardrobe? Then read on!



Emma and Leanne Duncan are the founders, designers, and sewists at Rose’s Wardrobe. Before starting Rose’s Wardrobe, each had a developing career in fashion and retail. 

Leanne studied clothing design and manufacture at Heriot Watt University and then went on to production management before moving into account management (the middle person between the factory and the customer!). 

Leanne from Rose’s Wardrobe

Leanne from Rose’s Wardrobe

Emma studied Fashion Design at the University of Central Lancashire, inclusive of a year out to do several placements, including a 3 month placement at a high end designer in London within the pattern cutting team and help out backstage at the prestigious London Fashion Week. After graduation, Emma went on to do another placement at a fashion trend forecasting website before getting her first fashion design job working on ladieswear woven designs for the high street. 

Emma from Rose’s Wardrobe

Emma from Rose’s Wardrobe


After a successful beginning to their careers in fashion, Emma and Leanne came to a pivotal point in how they viewed the fashion industry. Leanne’s close relationship with both factories and buyers meant that she was consistently realising the disconnect between buyers who wanted to push for cheaper production and detaching themselves through the reality of people simply trying to make a living on the factory side. Emma was simultaneously feeling a disconnect between the organisations pushing for lower costs by sacrificing quality and customers who were desperate for well made garments made out of natural fabrics and not polyester. 

In 2017, both Emma and Leanne began exploring the initial idea for Rose’s Wardrobe. Both were inspired by their grandmothers, and loved flicking through old photos, admiring the fashion of the time. The inspiration of Rose’s Wardrobe was matched with the desire to use only natural fabrics and UK manufacturers, but after successfully falling pregnant with their son they decided to put Rose’s Wardrobe on the backburner and focus on parenthood. 

Recreating vintage - Emma in the ‘Judy’ Loungewear Set

Recreating vintage - Emma in the ‘Judy’ Loungewear Set

Fast forward into the future and Emma got a job in Langholm, where every piece of the Rose’s Wardrobe puzzle began to fit together - even if unexpectedly. Emma had mentioned to Leanne that she’d like some t-shirts with vintage sayings on (meaning for herself), and, in a lucky miscommunication, Leanne went on to search for local embroidery companies. This started the ball rolling as Leanne was directed to the Langholm Initiative and they both decided that t-shirts would be a good way to start testing if there was a market for Rose’s Wardrobe.  


Judith from the Langholm Initiative put Emma and Leanne in touch with local people and companies that were able to get the foundations of Rose’s Wardrobe in place. Once Emma and Leanne discovered that deadstock fabrics were available to purchase, it was determined that Rose’s Wardrobe would create small, limited edition collections that are sustainable, made by hand from start to finish in Langholm, and can be tailor made to customer requirements - all making a Rose’s Wardrobe vintage inspired garment extra special. 



Emma and Leanne knew that Rose’s Wardrobe was never going to be fast fashion, but the sustainability aspect really hit home when they attended the Fashion Revolution workshop. The extent of damage that fast fashion does goes beyond the unethical treatment of workers, it’s also damaging the planet. “Biodegradable” actually means biodegradable in 20 or even 200 years; every piece of polyester clothing you’ve owned is still on the planet somewhere, degrading and releasing greenhouse gases, not to mention all the microfibres which have been released into the water system when washing.  

As a result, Rose’s Wardrobe has extensively researched sustainable fabrics, practices, and components. Rose’s Wardrobe only uses natural, deadstock, organic fabrics. The limited edition fabrics are made in Langholm, such as the Herringbone from Lynn Elliott, or have been designed in Langholm and made elsewhere but over 20 years ago when the mills were still open and now limited amounts left and dead stock. This brings new life to fabrics that would otherwise be wasted. 

Rose’s Wardrobe Sustainable Packaging

Rose’s Wardrobe Sustainable Packaging

In addition, all of Rose’s Wardrobes packaging is fully recyclable. The postal boxes and the thank you cards/ swing tickets are all made from recycled card. The tissue paper, which is also recyclable, can also be reused for gifts or other projects!


The dream for Leanne and Emma is that Rose’s Wardrobe will one day have its own studio and small team - and it will never ever be fast fashion. The personal element is fundamental, so even if it wasn’t Emma or Leanne who made your garment you’d still know exactly which member of the Rose’s Wardrobe team had made it! 

In the nearer future, the first drop of the Autumn 2020 collection will be released late August.  

If you can’t wait that long, why not take a look at Leanne’s favourite to sew Rosie Skirt or Emma’s favourite product the Ginger Tap pant?


Rose’s Wardrobe was founded by Emma and Leanne after both having over 12 years of experience between them working in high street, vintage inspired, and fashion supplier backgrounds. The inspiration from Rose’s Wardrobe derived from Emma and Leanne’s muses - their grandmas and great grandma - Patricia, Edna, and Rose. The aim is to produce replicas of the beautiful clothes their grandmas wore, using colours, styles and prints from the 1940’s through to the 1960’s. You can connect with Rose’s Wardrobe on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Have a look at where Rose’s Wardrobe will be here. Read our sustainability statement. Or, shop the collection.