It's LFW this month. That means new collections, runways, the descent of influencers, models and the fashion elite onto London for a week.
It also means we have gorgeous, consciously made pieces for you - in fact we have a whole collection!
Hey, you may remember us from all the way back in May when we last posted a blog (oops!). We're back and tbh, nothing has changed. We still design slowly and carefully, fully delving into a theme to create beautifully made slow fashion pieces for you to love wearing over and over again.
We still make each item on order to custom measurements and accessibility adaptations to try and make couture fashion a bit more inclusive.
We still hand sew everything in East London, using deadstock, second hand or sustainably sourced fabrics to be as ethical as we can right now and make 'sustainable fashion' a little more fun to look at.
We still even hire out all our garments to help tackle the price inaccessibility that plagues ethical fashion, as well as being fully transparent about our pricing and keeping your prices as low as we can!
So what's actually new, or is this just a recap blog?
The new collection - duh!
It's called Ambrosia Salad
The name comes from a really weird, pastel salad dish from the 1950s (google it), kinda a fruit salad with cream and shredded coconut... and hey, maybe it tastes amazing!
This collection (our third!) is launching with a fashion week pop up on Regents street with Lone Design Clubs concious brands edit, a place in exhibition at Queer Circle alongside other young queer artists, and an online fashion film screening alongside digital release of two lookbooks.
Kind exciting right! And of course all our dear supporters, customers and friends are invited to these events - we have a private view of the art show in North Greenwich on the 15th, and loads of panel talks and networking events at the pop up all month long. (just drop us a message if you want to come!)
As usual this collection will be a genderless collection made using deadstock and sustainably sourced fabrics, hand sewn in East London and following our strict inclusivity guidelines whenever purchased (ie. no mass production, making your item just for you) – and all the original garments will be available available for hire too.
In a nutshell.. the actual collection is about witchcraft in suburbia.
We began researching 1950s fashion: the silhouettes, the colours, the rules (war rationing was still in place e.g. jackets could only have 3 buttons) This moved into exploring the ever-intriguing suburbia.
An apparent Utopia with nuclear families behind white picket fences, smiling and waving as men headed to work in the mornings, and wives stayed in washing the dishes. Where there were actually deep issues with racism and exclusion, where families repeated the same monotonous days over and over, where individuals kept secrets and hurt each other to maintain a perfect external image. So many films to watch that struggled with the weird monotony, perfection and unhappiness that we link with suburbia in the 50s. American Beauty, Edward Scissor Hands, the Stepford Wifes - all had something in common, to do with assimilation, control and odd balls or outsiders being quickly either forced into conformity, or cast out.
You can see these initial references in the smart tailoring, the nipped in waists and looming shoulders, and the candy coloured pastels. We began thinking about what we could combine with this research to explore the other side of the story. Someone who felt othered, and misunderstood, and forced into a box. We settled on witchcraft.
Now there's a LOT to unpack here, which we will probably do over on social media for the next fe months.
Witchcraft for one has the famous history of the witch trials, where outcast women were so often burnt at the stake as scapegoats for failed harvests or illnesses, historic tales which unlock a whole
can of feminist worms. Women seen as powerful, too powerful, and being that must be controlled or even killed.
Secondly witchcraft is highly demonised - real witches have never been devil worshippers, evil, hags or villains. But are often portrayed that way. And yes, witches are real. Witchcraft is a really beautiful spiritual practice - whatever version is practiced it is often all about nature, transcends gender binaries, and is about balance, healing and over all harnessing your own power. SO many women in recent years have been reclaiming this practice and proudly call themselves witches, its become a feminist act of defiance, and a way to connect with our roots as the world kinda goes to shit around us.
Finally it’s also something that has been seriously colonised and twisted. What we mean when we say that is in reference to, basically, it's trendiness. Some people are reclaiming it authentically, some are getting the history and rituals a bit confused.
We mean things like: the trendiness of using smudge sticks in the western world now means they can be found in cute packaging in Urban Outfitters and indigenous people can’t actually find sage to buy and use for their own cultural practices. Another example: western representations of voodoo etc - voodoo is a real religion! With so much depth and importance, so many gods and rituals and complexities – it’s not just a doll to stick pins in when someone has wronged you! And tbh we shouldn't be messing with it like that, or portraying it as a silly game.
We could go on (and we will I’m sure.)
Witchcraft was something seen as ‘other’ and dismissed as ‘crazy’ when we colonized the lands that practiced it - just another example of seeing anything different than our own practices as ‘backwards’... but now it’s a trend? For example a practice called Hoodoo is a kind of spiritual practice that was created by enslaved people, and evolved from previously practiced African religions. It was an important cultural practice, concealed from slaveholders, and now - we merge it in with general 'witchiness' and buy ourselves a bunch of candles to have a go ourselves. We've even called herbal medicine witchcraft or dismissed it as crazy, when indigenous people have known about the antibacterial or otherwise medically useful properties of plants for years. We're dismissing real science and real religion under the witchcraft title when we could be learning about it and appreciating it.
We wanted to pay the homage deserved to witchcraft, but not through appropriating important spiritual elements that don’t belong to us. So we used universal references like dried flowers and herbs, smoke and candles, the four elements, etc. to nod to the many variations of faith and practice that can fall under the generalisation of ‘witchcraft’. But specifically we drew on references o the Highland witches of Scotland (we have heritage on the Isle of Islay) we read tales of witches stealing milk, tying knots in ropes as they cast spells, and controlling the wind, waves and weather. So that's the powers we gave our witches.
What are the Looks?
Through the looks we’ve created seven distinct characters who fall into the stereotypical family tropes expected in 1950s suburbia, but made tiny tweaks to their perfect wardrobes with elements revealing their flaws, their humanity, and the power that they are having to hold in to avoid persecution from those around them.
You'll find a preppy, anxious housewife and her unbothered, emotionless husband. A sad, bored housewife who longs to one day find something more and her rebellious good-girl-gone-bad daughter. The single mother who's arrival in town has shaken things up too much for everyones liking, and the teenage son who is always lurking on the corner, making the town feel unsettled. And finally the town elder, a regal grandmother whose wisdom transcends those around her, but whose nagging makes them refuse to listen.
It’s funny that when you look closely everyone’s hiding the exact same things from each other!
Any way, enjoy these little teaser images; and get ready for a really exciting month with us!