Globetrotting designer returns to native North East to set up Big Chief studio

Trevor Lough worked with a range of global brands before returning to the region to establish his own design studio.

Trevor Lough with Sienna Miller
Trevor Lough with Sienna Miller

A designer who has worked on some of the world’s biggest brands has returned to the North East to establish his own business.

Trevor Lough has rubbed shoulders with a who’s who of celebrities including Alexa Chung, Sienna Miller and Cristiano Ronaldo, working between London, Amsterdam and Madrid as art director for the PVH Group of companies.

Now, however, he has brought his 19 years of industry know-how back to the region to deliver brand expertise to North East customers at Big Chief, a Gateshead-based graphic design studio he launched this week.

Born in Newcastle and raised in Washington, Mr Lough left the UK in 1996 to pursue a career abroad and within two weeks he became a freelance graphic designer for successful British jeans brand Pepe Jeans London, where his girlfriend was already employed as a womenswear designer.

In just four years he became the brand’s art director and a company shareholder and was hand selected to help the brand set up its new HQ in Madrid, Spain in 2000, where he lived for 14 years.

He said: “It was a truly exciting time for me, especially with the move to Madrid, and seeing the brand expand so quickly.

Trevor Lough worked on this shoot, with Cristiano Ronaldo, amongst many others before coming home to set up his own business
Trevor Lough worked on this shoot, with Cristiano Ronaldo, amongst many others before coming home to set up his own business

“One minute it was a scrap to get a decent print or shoot budget together, and then all of a sudden with the new investment company there were giant budgets available to work with, and you begin working with big name photographers, celebrities, top models and sports people like Sienna Miller, Laeticia Casta, Alexa Chung, Cara Delevingne and Cristiano Ronaldo.”

Big Chief has been fortunate to have worked alongside many of the world’s most creative people, including photographers like Steven Klein, Mikael Jansson and Josh Olins, outstanding image makers Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones and with graphic design heroes Tom Hingston and Boy Bastiaens.

On top of this, Big Chief has also worked with British actress Sienna Miller’s clothing label Twenty8Twelve, The National Geographic Society, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, RedBull Racing, and collaborated with DJ James Lavelle, Denham The Jeanmaker and fundraised for the Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music.

He said: “Madrid became a difficult place. Spain’s economy was struggling, government taxation was ridiculously high and the self-employed or growing small businesses in the creative sector weren’t given any encouragement or support.

Trevor Lough worked on this Alexa Chung shoot
Trevor Lough worked on this Alexa Chung shoot

“So, like many of our friends, both expats and Spaniards started to leave the country to pursue careers in the UK , USA or Holland.

“We had more or less made our minds up that we were going to come home anyway, and this just speeded that decision up.

“So we are back in Low Fell, Gateshead, close to our families and our son is getting to know everyone properly now and can look forward to enjoying all of the fantastic things that we enjoyed as kids here too.”

The business is now offering a range of creative graphic design services to brands, individuals and businesses, from packaging and branding to flyer design, bespoke invitations, art direction and creative concepts.

Mr Lough added: “As for the name, I’ve held a great interest in Native American culture since I was very young, and over the years it just stayed with me.

“Anyone who knows me will tell you that. And the fact that my three-year-old son was nicknamed CrazyHorse by one of his grandfathers because of his energy levels made it a logical choice.”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
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Stuart Rayner
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