How We Met: Marcus Wainwright & David Neville

'We saw a lot of each other at this awful nightclub on a ferry on the Tyne with 50p vodka shots'

Marcus Wainwright, 34, founded the denim and clothing brand Rag & Bone in 2002, and is now co-owner and co-creative director with David Neville. The company has won two awards for emerging design: the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award in 2005 and the Swarovski Council of Fashion Design award in 2007. Celebrities who wear its designs include Cameron Diaz, Kate Moss and Jude Law. Wainwright lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and son

David and I met at boarding school in Berkshire. I was in the year above him, so although we knew each other, we didn't become really close friends until during my gap year in Portugal. I was working in a bar and he came out for a holiday, then ended up working there too. We were just bumming around on the beach enjoying ourselves before university; it was a lot of fun.

The following year he went to Durham to study something weird like molecular biology and I went to Newcastle, but we still saw a lot of each other – mainly on Monday nights at The Boat, this awful nightclub on a ferry on the Tyne with a revolving dance-floor and 50p vodka shots. David had always been a bit of a golden boy at school, so I think he was enjoying his new-found freedom and liked to live it up a bit.

We never dreamt we'd end up doing what we are now. We didn't even think we'd end up doing the same thing – he went into investment banking and I set up my own telecoms company. After a couple of years I couldn't handle London weather any more and went to Mexico, where I met my wife. I moved to New York to be with her and that was when I set up Rag & Bone.

David came on board to handle the money side of the business and initially he worked from England, but it didn't take much persuasion to get him to come to live in New York and work full-time in fashion. I think he might also have been trying to escape a young lady in London at the time.

David's always been more into fashion than me. He's a bit of a dandy. I just like drawing and making things, whereas he is interested in creating a whole brand. We had no training at all and didn't really have a clue what we were doing – all I had originally wanted to do was to make a nice pair of dark denim jeans for myself. But suddenly, there we were visiting factories in Kentucky, staying in motels, drinking moonshine and talking about jeans. It was a steep learning curve but a lot of fun.

David and I make such a good team because we want the same thing, but do different things to achieve it. David is much more positive than me. He always sees the bright side, whereas I can see the pitfalls. We balance each other out.

Unless you have been to a boarding school it's hard to explain, but you go through a lot together and make incredibly close friends. I think it's fair to say that neither of us has made friends as good as those we made at school. It's nice to have someone who I go back that far with in New York; it's like having a bit of home here.

David Neville, 32, joined Rag & Bone in 2002. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, the celebrity make-up artist Gucci Westman, and son

I must have been about 13 when I first met Marcus at boarding school. He was a bit older than me, so we weren't close at that stage, but I remember him as a confident, likeable guy who I smoked the occasional cigarette with on rooftops or in bushes.

Our friendship was galvanised by a few months spent together working in a nightclub in Portugal. We slept on cushions on the dance-floor after work and traded free drinks for sun-beds on the beach and meals at local restaurants. We were young and frivolous and I have very good memories of that time.

Our lives since have developed strangely in tandem – we both went to university in the north, then moved to London for work and finally to New York, where we teamed up to create the business. We even had our sons a week apart. It's quite amazing when I reflect on how far we have come together.

I jumped at the chance to get involved when Marcus asked me, as I have always enjoyed clothes: what I wear, what my mother and girlfriends have worn. That said, I am a heterosexual guy, which is worth pointing out in this industry – Marcus and I did a shoot with Mario Testino a while ago and he was trying to persuade us we should be a couple.

We now have about 50 people working in our office in the Meatpacking District, and it's important to us that we set the right atmosphere with our own relationship. We worked though a lot of the stress early in our partnership, so we know how far we can push each other. We very rarely argue.

Now we both have young children we don't hang out as much as we did when we first arrived in New York – not so much playing pool in bars. What's cool, though, is that we can incorporate a bit of fun into our work – if we have an event to go to, such as the Met Ball or something, we can go and have a pint in our black tie beforehand and laugh at the fact we're about to take some Russian model as our "date".

It's reassuring to have each other here as support. Our lives resemble each other's very closely – we share the same schedule, the same family situation, we do the same things at the weekends. It's unusual to have a friend with whom you have almost every experience in common, so we can compare notes on it all. We're very lucky in that respect.

For more information:

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent