The Drop final BBC Three: Meet the Leeds finalist battling to impress Miguel with her label GoGuy

With no professional training or a fashion degree, Sophie Guy went into The Drop as one of its underdogs.

By Abbey Maclure
Sunday, 1st May 2022, 4:30 pm

But the Leeds designer, founder of GoGuy clothing, has made it to the final of the new BBC Three show, tipped as fashion's version of The Apprentice.

The show searches for the next major streetwear label, with nine young designers battling for the chance to take their brand global with luxury retailer Flannels.

Going up against the other contestants in different challenges every week, Sophie has seen off stiff competition and impressed the judges with her business mindset.

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Leeds designer Sophie Guy, 28, has made it to the final of the new BBC Three show The Drop (Photo: Simon Hulme)

The 28-year-old grew up in Brighouse and founded her brand in 2016, while she was still studying at Leeds Beckett University.

Ahead of the premiere of the final episode on Monday, Sophie spoke to the Yorkshire Evening Post about how the GoGuy journey began.

“I was super shy and quiet as a child, but I expressed myself through fashion," Sophie said.

"I was always dressing up, then going through high school I went through every trend - working out what fitted me the best.

Sophie, front, pictured with the GoGuy team (from left to right) Danielle Pinder, Molly Shepherd and Cathryn Swanborough (Photo: Simon Hulme)

“When I went to uni, that’s when I developed my own style. Everyone said I dressed differently and unique.

“I realised there wasn’t clothing for me, so I started making my own clothes.”

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While in the final year of her Events Management degree, Sophie launched GoGuy from her bedroom after winning £500 and mentoring sessions in a business concept award.

Sophie's bold designs merge streetwear with festival fashion and have been worn by some of the world's biggest celebrities (Photo: Simon Hulme)

By 2017, the business had tripled in sales and a collection was snapped up by TopShop.

“Luckily it paid off, but if not I think my tutors would have killed me," Sophie laughed.

“I knew I didn’t want to go into events management, but I’d come too far to give up.

“I had a sewing machine in the conservatory, then I’d be upstairs writing my dissertation.”

GoGuy now boasts a three-floor headquarters on the outskirts of Leeds, is stocked by 11 retailers and has more than 110,000 followers on Instagram.

Sophie's bold designs merge streetwear with festival fashion and have been worn by some of the world's biggest celebrities, including Paris Hilton, Perrie Edwards and Mabel.

Sophie said: “Although it seems like a big brand and we’ve achieved a lot, there’s only four girls who run the business.

"We do everything.

"Cathryn is our head seamstress, she makes all the clothing, one-offs and liaises with the factory.

"Danielle, my partner, is head of events and runs social media, liaising with influencers.

"Then Molly is our graphic designer - I’ll create a sketch of what I want, or a mood board, and she’ll bring it to life on the computer.”

Sophie and her team have capitalised on social media, posting eye-catching content and collaborating with influencers to help build the hype around the GoGuy label.

"GoGuy wouldn’t be here without Instagram," Sophie added.

"It’s a free marketing platform - I’ve never paid for online marketing. The power of influencers and celebrities is crazy. It’s so important for brands to utilise that.”

GoGuy was put through rigorous tests when Sophie filmed The Drop last year, as she battled to impress streetwear fans and the panel of judges, led by R&B superstar and fashion icon Miguel.

While she struggled with creating the garments - she gave up on the sewing machine in her first year of running the business - her strong business sense, marketing campaigns and bold designs saw her through to the final.

Sophie said: "I loved testing myself each week with the different challenges and being under so much pressure.

“It made me go through each step of the business at a competitive level, working out what I was doing wrong.

“It was challenging. Because we filmed during Covid, we had to live there and it was very isolated.

"And people watching the show will know that I’m very business oriented, but I'm not a seamstress, I’m a designer, so I really struggled with creating the garments.

“But I learnt so much about myself and my brand from being on the show. And I can’t believe I got to the final.

"Everyone was so talented, whereas I’ve never had any training - I’m self taught through YouTube.”

Mentoring other rising stars

Sophie now mentors other aspiring designers over Zoom and the GoGuy team will launch comprehensive training packages this winter.

The participants will learn everything they need to know about building a brand on a budget, from photoshoots and creating garments to designing a logo.

“Hard work really does pay off," Sophie said.

"Times will get hard and not everything will work. I’ve had so many failures with the business, but I keep going because I believe in it and I know I’ll get there in the end.

“I’ve learned so much over the years through trial and error.

“Some people think you need a lot of money to do it, but you don’t. You can do it if you believe in the brand and put the hours in."

The future of GoGuy

While receiving feedback on the show, the judges expressed concern that Sophie worked too much and was at risk of burning out.

But Sophie said she gets stuck into every aspect of the business, including packing parcels, because growing her brand "doesn't feel like work".

She said: “Everyone thinks I’m a workaholic, which I am - I start work at 4am. But we do it because we absolutely love building the business.

“There’s nothing more exciting than drawing garments, concepts and mood boards on a piece of paper, then seeing the orders come through on the computer.

"I often can’t sleep because I’m watching Google to see how many people are on the website.

“Even packing parcels is something I really enjoy - knowing that customers have bought my products and then seeing them style my designs."

Since the first episode dropped, Sophie has already been inundated with offers from retailers and will launch GoGuy's sister label, Impact, this winter - a gender fluid brand marketed at a higher price point.

There are plans to bring more gender-fluid pieces into GoGuy's range, something that's particularly important for Sophie and her partner.

“Being on the show has opened up so many doors already," Sophie added.

"The show hasn’t even finished and I’ve already been contacted by really big brands. We’ve got big collaborations with other brands on the way, as well as planning a collaboration with another celebrity.

“Expect GoGuy to be everywhere."