A 20-question interview with British men’s knitwear designer Ross Barr-Hoyland
The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?
To aim to leave the world a better place than you found it.
“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?
To strive to achieve and be better than the best person you could be.
Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2017?
The wars in the Middle East and Chechnya and what the regimes there are doing to gay men are unacceptable.
Our world is full of divisiveness and prejudice and Kerry Katona evidently went through an incredibly turbulent time in her life. The press unscrupulously had no shame in reporting such and instead of judging, we should be there to offer help and support and perhaps show some empathy and understanding.
Our lives are not always fairytales and “let they who are without sin cast the first stone” is a saying that springs to mind.
Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?
I don’t think there is anything in my life as such that I miss. I am working on my business – which is a dream many would wish for. It is by no means easy, but I am lucky in many, many respects.
What might you swap all your wealth for?
I wish I had great wealth to swap, but if I had immense wealth I would give it to all the causes I support in many ways from The Prince’s Trust to Style for Soldiers, Children with Cancer UK and RUComingOut. Even if I only had pennies, I would still like to give what I could as there is always someone in need of help.
Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the state of the financial system?
I am by no means an expert but I do know everyone is finding it tough with cuts happening in every sector of business. I just keep my head down and focus on what I do in fashion and the revival of British manufacturing. What I will say is that my bank has been utterly incredible in supporting me with my business venture.
What phrase or word do you most loathe?
Being told I cannot do something.
In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?
Aside from supporting the charities previously mentioned, I am honoured to have been supported myself by The Prince’s Trust. I serve them in whatever capacity they as a Young Ambassador and with the brand.
More generally, we might be an island nation but no man is. I think charity should be given where it is most needed.
The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?
I am never without my phone, but I would never condone using any devices to cause harm to others.
Mobile phones do have their perks and do allow us to literally have the world at our fingertips, but I do wonder what we would be seeing if we perhaps looked at the world around us and lived in the moment a little more.
If you could fill a carriage on the Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?
With every single family member and friend who has supported and there for me and my business. We would have a good old knees-up and some much needed time off.
If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?
Well, I hope to never end up there, but if I did, I’d choose my mother’s Sunday roast at home surrounded by my nearest and dearest. That would be the best way to go.
What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?
That depends on the type of day you are having.
A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?
Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?
I have enjoyed many so it would be rude to pick one in particular – especially as the memories of some are rather hazy.
Who is the most positive person you know?
I have to pick seven perpetually positive people who keep me going daily and they are Natasha Babar-Evans, Melissa Hulme, Sandie Chapman, Stephanie Ackrill, Sarah Agar-Brenan and Craig Burton.
I would also like to single out a person whom has inspired me immensely. Her name is Gaynor and she has just started a business called Holiday Hack. Over the last year, she’s faced some of the biggest obstacles anyone could have thrown their way but she hasn’t cried and she hasn’t crumbled. She is an incredible lady and always has a smile on her face – and she can also get you savings on a holiday too; maybe even on the Orient Express.
What’s your most guilty pleasure?
Having a long sleep wrapped up in my bed covers.
If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?
A phoenix and a stag.
If you were a car, what marque would you be?
Someone answered this for me at a networking event a while ago. They described me as a Range Rover.
Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.
People think I’m a ‘social butterfly’ but I’m actually a ‘pub with a just a few people’ kind of guy.
What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?
Pictures of my family.
Ross Barr-Hoyland established his own men’s knitwear brand, Ross Barr, in September 2015 after being sponsored by the Enterprise programme of The Prince’s Trust. He focuses on reviving the British textile manufacturing industry by manufacturing in Britain.