Spotlight on La Roche and Beryl…

In 1910 a woman’s role was pretty much set in stone. Being an actress meant Elise Raymonde De La Roche was cut a bit of slack, money and status don’t buy bravery and ambition though. In 1910 she became the first female pilot to receive a pilot’s license. Her achievements in aviation were the reason she was given the title of Baroness.

She was seriously injured in a crash shortly after but this did not deter her. After a long recovery she won the Femina Cup in 1913 for the longest flight completed by a woman, and set the women’s altitude record in 1919 at 15, 700 feet. She is said to have been a talented engineer and was flying as test pilot on an experimental aircraft when she was killed in 1919. Not a bad innings for the daughter of a plumber!​

laroche - History telling by qdai - skirts with pockets
beryl - History telling by qdai - skirts with pockets

Beryl Markham was born in England in 1902 and is best known for her solo flight across the Atlantic in 1936. She flew from England and crash landed in Canada 20 hours later, surviving to tell the tale. (Pretty hardcore for 1936!)

She was taken to Kenya as a four year old girl by her father. She had a wild and adventurous African childhood while her father established himself as a prominent horse-trainer in the British Colony. She learnt fast and followed in his footsteps from the age of 17. She was a noted non-conformist and was married three times having had scandalous affairs with prominent men like Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester.

As well as being an accomplished pilot and horse-trainer, Markham was also a writer. She published her life story ‘West With the Night’ in 1942. Ernest Hemmingway is said to have admired her writing calling her book “bloody wonderful” (which we agree with!).

​We’ve chosen to name the first two Qdai garments after these amazing women because we believe that celebrating inspiring women reminds us that anything is possible. If they could do it the 1900’s, what’s stopping us today? 

In future we will continue to celebrate and honour the women who have beaten the odds to offer us inspiration.

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