Martin Storey

Martin Storey

To view Martin's latest designs for Rowan, click here.

Martin Storey was born in Hull and raised on the family pig farm in the village of Beeford on the East Yorkshire coast. Martin was taught to knit as a small child by an inspirational primary school teacher who saw nothing unusual in teaching needlecrafts to boys and girls alike. Martin remembers his early school years with fondness, but his subsequent education at Grammar school proved a stark contrast with Martin struggling to find an outlet for his creative side.

After leaving school Martin was unsure of his career path so spent time helping out on the farm and had a short stint at a firm of auctioneers. It was whilst working with his father that Martin was influenced by an art student friend to take on and complete an Art Foundation course. Encouraged by his achievements Martin then went to study fashion at Middlesex University which allowed him to cultivate his interest in hand knitting once more. It was his time spent at Middlesex which became the true turning point for Martin. The design department was a hot bed of the most influential and creative minds of the 1980s and Martin mixed with the likes of fashion designers David Holler and Stevie Stewart – also known as Bodymap – as well as jewellers Dower and Hall.

After graduating Martin began working for a knitwear design company, run by Jane and Patrick Gottelier. The company - known as Artwork -became renowned for its use of denim yarn. A 100% cotton yarn which can be washed in the machine and fades gracefully through washing and wearing over time. Martin was involved in creating these sought after signature denim knits which sold all over the world and liked nothing better than designing quirky 3d stitches which would show the yarn to it’s best advantage.

After 15 years Martin left Artwork to become chief designer for the Jaeger brand which was taken under Rowan’s wing in 1995. In 2005 he was chosen as the designer to spearhead the new brand of Rowan Classic. A role he is still responsible for today, pulling together several brochures a year under the Rowan Classic banner which has become the hall mark for Classic style with a modern twist.

Martin is a keen collector or porcelain and ceramics and fills his home with vintage textiles and pieces picked up on trips abroad and at local markets. He also collects vintage soft toys and puppets. All these pieces act as inspiration for Martin’s designs, but he is constantly on the look out for new ideas. “I always make sure I have a notebook close by to jot down what I see or make a sketch to remind me”. Martin also makes sure he is up to date with all the latest trend information and catwalk commentaries and is often found in Charity shops and vintage clothing stores looking for interesting cuff details or embellishments.

Martin is, without a doubt, a very influential designer, his understanding of what knitters want, together with a fantastic eye for texture and embellishment make his garments a joy to look at and wear.