Category: Interview

David Nott x

Screen-Shot-2016-06-07-at-22.32.58

Just a petite post today as I nurse a self-inflicted sore head and run to the kids sports day with umbrella, galoshes and small inflatable boat at the ready…I love the radio, particularly radio 4  – but sometimes it surpasses itself to create solid gold in the air.  The Desert Island Disc on June 5 was one such inspirational moment.  If you get a quiet half hour, grab a cup of tea and a tissue and listen to it here….if you don’t have a quiet half hour – find one – you’ll thank me. Promise.

 

Laters, Kate x

Another Garde x

4b3672ac4b1e34824f7b07ba36491d35

One of the great joys from this daily ritual of Blogging are the people you meet, drawn together from across the world through the magic of the internet and the love of great design.  It’s how I met Soumountha  – a very funny, fearless and edgy French-Lao-mum-to-3-kids-slash-blogger-and-entrepreneur who’s been looking for the perfect vehicle to focus her creative high energy, because Soumountha is a tigress with a deep motherlove who knows that to feed herself spiritually she needs that creative outlet.   And now, with a perfectly executed flying kick, she has leapt into the fray with her own online boutique for emerging fashion brands: Another Garde.   I wanted to know more…so we in between her hectic schedule we sat down, dressed in our imaginary finest with the perfect bottle of virtual wine to cut to the chase on the latest about her new fashion baby…

I’m so excited you’ve opened your own online boutique! I looove you’re style – so tell me, Soumountha, do you have an imaginary woman you’re selling to? 
Yes. She is the unflappable woman. I like to describe her as ‘a complex, witty, mature, free and confident woman who breaks ceilings and kicks out of boxes, screams and smiles, has chipped nails and remains elegant and wonderfully modern.’  I like to think that she is owning her imperfections with inner and quiet confidence and a ‘so what?’ attitude.
d2678087022befa326302cceb3891fbc
What do you think she would she eat for breakfast…and where??
She would probably not eat anything for breakfast because she hardly had the time to comb her hair, but then would have a hearty omelette and a cappuccino – her strong espresso days are behind her – around 10.30am.  She would eat this at work or at her local bodega trying to sort out the beautiful mess that is her life with her IPhone…hahahaha! I’m getting deja vu!
0fe32ea1e8e80ea1cf4576bf07fabfc4
What did you look for in your emerging designer’s? 
That’s a tough one. It is a very complex process that includes both tangible and less tangible factors.
Another Garde wants to develop partnerships with brands that are interested in releasing styles throughout the year – just like we are doing with our private label, Another Garde. The designers, Enda (Enda.us) and Moses Nadel (mosesnadel.com) on our site fall also into this category.  The biggest challenge is to stand out in the crowd and I feel that as a group, we increase our chances of success if we leverage our resources and collectivize our risks etc. So being a team player is a key aspect of being part of Another Garde 🙂
That does not mean that we do not work with brands that are operating within the Fashion calendar – some brands are too amazing not to work with.
So more generally I think –
– their aesthetic needs to hang well with other designers’ viewpoint. I do favor a somewhat unaffected elegance, feminine and feminist silhouettes, great details and finishes, and minimalist cuts.
– I like designers who have an acute understanding of who they are and who they are not and what it is they are saying to the world. Schai (schaischai.com), a brand that we will soon feature on our site, is a universe in itself . You get drawn into it through her designs but also her words, her imagery, her story and her personality. The moment I set my eyes on her creations I fell in love full stop. She is also a pretty kick ass woman #swoon
– I love designers who are creative and resourceful from a marketing perspective to a design development perspective. For example, I have been stalking Linie (linienyc.com) for a while now because the designer is excelling at zero waste pattern making.
– And last but not least, I only work with designers who share our values when it comes to mature and confident women i.e. Designers who celebrate these women’s needs, their achievements and aspirations and understand what ageing with grace means and requires. In short, there is an underlying feminism behind what we do at Another Garde so I would probably not work with creatives who do not get it. (At this point I have to stand up and applaud..woah! woah! woah! finally!)
b66bb8e955a040e2417e71d5e0849584
How did you find your designers? can anyone approach you?
We are doing a lot of scouting to find brands and also get referrals so YES anyone can approach me soumountha@anothergarde.com
f0c7c58ab0d09b890c1bc2e3fd6748bc
The fashion industry is notoriously tough – do you think the young/new designer of today has the time to learn the ropes of this industry or are they, with the level of competition out there, expected to hit the ground both perfectly formed and running?
Because it is such a competitive industry, I feel that there is a general acceptance that there are more and more valid and legitimate journeys to own and run a label: from launching your first collection straight after fashion school to having a full time design job in a major house while experimenting with your label on the side to returning to work for an established company, if your label is struggling or relying on private orders only.
However, from the customer perspective, mistakes are not easily forgiven. It is competitive out there and it is so important to build trust with your clientele. My take away so far is this: make less creations but make them perfect for the people who really matter to you.
So my answer is yes designers have the time ,if they take this valuable time and develop A, B and C plans in their overall journey as creatives. At the end of the day, you are a creative and there is no lesser way of being one.
B56A6560_51757287-db5c-4afd-81ba-2afd214dc7ef
Do you see yourself as a mentor?
Since we are releasing our own collection for the first time, I see myself more as a peer who is experiencing the same journey as some of the other designers on our site: handling cash flow challenges, weighing the pros and cons of bypassing the fashion calendar (on a daily basis but still sticking to my guts for now), going through the ups and downs of collection design and development etc.
Having our own collection is our way to walk the talk but this has also become a truly humbling experience. We are just another brand working hard at finding our women.
Because I want to do my best at articulating partner designers’ vision to our target customers, I do ask a lot of questions. I hope these questions do help them to think hard about their brand, their positioning, their pricing, how they produce and sell etc.
fe402f9803ddfca3da70b16c830f6c0f
Whose wardrobe do you lust over?
Phoebe Philo. Clean lines, feminine and masculine silhouettes, chic tonal palette; it is never boring but most importantly it ALWAYS authentic. There is a quiet rebellious character in her wardrobe.
And she is British, so that’s the icing on the cake 🙂
You’re based in New York..Will you be shipping internationally?
It’s something we’re hoping to introduce very soon – watch this space!
6ec271f3febc132f63f45eb4e7bb0c9d
(All Photography by Carolina Palmgren, Styling is Another Garde)
What’s the last thing you bought…and why?
The Zoe dress by Brooklyn-based Swedish designer H.Fredriksson (Hfredriksson.com) (pictured above) who works with sustainable fabrics and creates very modern and perfect silhouettes for women like me who are trying to come to terms with the various changes in their bodies.  All her prints come from her personal drawings and paints. Zoe’s print is a special one because it is a drawing from her late husband who passed away before or during collection development. I was already in love with the dress but when I learnt about the heartache and strength behind the creation I just had to buy it. Helena has kids so this has really touched me: I just cannot imagine what she has been through. Every time I wear it, I feel her strength.
As we feel yours Soumountha! This pocket rocket warrior woman is fighting the couture clash with her flair for the international all beautifully moulded together by the wit and gristle of the streets of New York City and personally…I love it! Go Soumountha!
 
Laters, Kate x
 

 

Instant Gratification x

93aa538494d952f984579eb4b9fb83e3

Heading to the sewing superstore today to re-stock the portable summer craft box…

bb3c1d3fc8ad7501d55e94cdc260a381 c9a1fed9d8a2de1e920aedbd0d1bdbdd 363b2509495c61ad89bf46a2d1cfb34d ad32fe45a9a8efb20e9718daee3ac1d3

(All pictures Pinterest)

I love the idea that one hook and some coloured yarn can do all this..

Laters, Kate x

Treading Lightly..


claire-new

Yesterday I went to see the lovely Claire from Air and Grace at her new pop-up store on the Kings Road to catch up on all her latest news and styles.  Claire started her label after spotting a gap in the market – she wanted shoes made for women, designed by a woman who understood what we really want –  the true concept of beauty: style and comfort.  It’s that word comfort that gnaws at something primal..

IMG_0800

Her shoes are gloriously re-thought and inventively told, the tone is juicy streetstyle: classics with more than a twist..These are the Coachella’s with their glorious tan souls and beautiful stacked heels..the perfect ankle boot that’s been a hole in my wardrobe for forever…dress up, dress down..they cover all the bases..

IMG_0784

And they have to be the most comfortable boot I’ve ever tried on.  It’s rare you can walk a shoe out of a shop and spend all day urbanly running in them..but that is the beauty of these babies..

IMG_0790

It’s all to do with the quality of the leather, the clever design..and what goes on inside each shoe..the focus of quality engineering that give feet what they really need.

IMG_0789IMG_0792

Her range is impressive..but there’s more to come – The long stretch boots of my dreams? She’s doing them! the Coachella in  ox-bood? Yes! The Coachella in leopard? Yes, yes, YES! Claire has a waiting list already..and I’m not surprised.

IMG_079510899300_787731231294635_166410587_n

Seductive talking, well-heeled shoes for walking..dancing..and living.  Isn’t the identified love the most powerful of all?

If you get the chance, all I can say is pop down to Kth & Kin boutique at 330 Kings Road and see for yourself..

Laters, Kate x

Cracking Curves..

 

81xwP6lpEsL._SL1500_

It’s that time of year again when the beach starts beckoning and thinness is worn as a Designer label.  But why do we always fall for the myth that size defines our worth? I’ve been talking to the inspirational Sarah Clark about all things voluptuous and authentic.  Sarah is Positive Sarah, blogger for FatPhrocks and Wingz, and also in her own right on Gorgeously Full Fat. She is a fat and fabulous, fashion-loving freelance writer with a novel, Viva Voluptuous in the shops NOW, perfect for a summer giggle and banishing those beach babe fears…

 

Do you think the term ‘plus size’ is offensive…is it the same as ‘she’s beautiful for her age’ – i.e. words that are surplus to requirement?

Actually – not really. It’s mildly irritating but it doesn’t really offend me as at the moment there’s no way of knowing whether something comes in your size without some kind of extra label. If all clothes, or at the very least a wider range, cane in a bigger size range, incorporating the 26 as well as the 6, the ‘plus size’ label would become completely obsolete because you’d just have ‘sizes’. But because bigger women are catered for so abysmally by most high street fashion (and couture of course, which is arguably even worse) at the moment there’s still a need to define a collection as being plus size. I’m more offended by ‘you’d be pretty if you weren’t so fat’ which is a bit similar to the ‘beautiful for her age’ backhanded compliment. If you’re beautiful, you’re beautiful. Weight, age, size, colour don’t come into it.

 

pugs (2)

(Betty from Pamper and Curves)

In your opinion do you think anyone should be able to wear anything regardless of size…or should women just stick to what suits them?

You know, style is so subjective that I think women should wear whatever they feel good in. There used to be so many prescriptive fashion rules for fatties; no horizontal stripes, no bold patterns, and I even read something recently online suggesting that fat women should make sure they have pretty feet because it gives people something attractive that takes the focus away from their (presumably ugly) fat bodies. I mean, WTF is that all about? At the same time, in some body positive circles there’s a lot of pressure on big women to ‘let it all hang out’ and not all of us are happy with that. It’s been so long since I wore a bikini, in fact, I think I was about eight, that even if I had the ‘ideal’ figure, I wouldn’t feel comfortable showing my midriff off. It’s up to the individual; wear whatever makes you feel good, and don’t be pressurised into adjusting your style to suit other people’s ideas of what looks good. People like Betty from Pamper and Curves, or Leah from Just me, Leah play around with their look and always look fabulous, nobody tells them to stick to black or not to wear leggings!

JUST ME LEAH GREY SPARKLE 1

(Leah from Justmeleah)

 

3. I think shape plays an important part in choosing the right clothes – are there brands out there that understand shape and are still fashion aware?

Generally, it’s the plus size brands that seem to ‘get’ the shape issue. There are exceptions to the rule, but if you buy a dress in an 18 that’s been designed for a size 10, that little extra bit of fabric isn’t necessarily going to make it suit a larger body. I’ve thought for a long time that one of the reasons couture designers don’t design for larger bodies as a rule is that…it’s harder! Designers like Michelle Ellis of FatPhrocks really know what it’s like trying to find fashion that’s a bit different. She designs for tall, plus sized women and are spot on, whereas even with taller versions of average clothes, they sometimes just don’t quite look right. It’s a lot easier to get a dress to hang properly on a body that’s straight up and down, because there’s nothing in the way of the shape of the outfit. But try doing the same with an 18 or a 20 and it’s a different story. For a start, we all have different shapes; some fat women are hourglass, some apple, some pear. Some of us have huge boobs and a big tummy but slimmish legs. No, it’s a lot easier to design for a slim woman, catwalk wise, because they know it will look the same on all the identikit models.

model_121

(Tess Munster)

 

4. Who are your plus size girl (see…falling into the label trap) style icons and why?

I’ve already mentioned Betty Pamper; she is a real style icon to me, I follow her blog avidly because the way she puts her looks together is just phenomenal. She always looks so groomed and so damn gorgeous. Leah from Just me, Leah is another one, she’s a fashion blogger and completely unapologetic for being large. She also blogs on health and body positivity, and a recent post on body confidence was just so spot on I wish that all teenage girls could read it. Two more; Tess Munster is just like a plus size version of Jessica Rabbit. She’s stunning, she’s faced bullying throughout her life but then she thought “You know what, f*** this” and turned it on its head to become a plus size model. The woman is GORGEOUS, and a real inspiration to anyone who thinks being very fat means that you sit around in tatty leggings and a stained tee all day. Lastly, I love Lisa Lister. She was recently featured in Cosmo Body (July) in her full on beehive and tatt-splashed glory, talking about how she gave up diets and found happiness. She’s so positive and full of energy, she inspires me all the time, and I LOVE her style. She also works with Dove as a Body Image Ambassador, and that has to be celebrated.

 

5. What would you prefer – shops/brands that specifically catered for you – or acceptance across all shops?

That’s actually a really tricky question. What I don’t want to see is just a couple of extra sizes tagged on just to keep the fatties happy, because it would just be an afterthought. I’d love to have more choice on the high street. Bigger women have trouble finding clothes in many towns; in my own they’ve just shut down the local Evans, New Look stopped stocking their Inspire range and the only places you can get clothes over a size 18 are a few concessions in Debenhams, or Marks & Spencer. The other thing that’s annoyed me for a long time is why stores like Next who have clothes in size 20,22 and 24 only usually have up to an 18 on display. Yet, they will have the size 6 out. So in convoluted reply, I would like more targeted plus size options in existing shops, and a few more plus size shops on the high street would be lovely too, I’m fed up with having to order my clothes online just because I’m fat.

 

6. Why is acceptance across all shops so hard – particularly when you look at the average size of UK women?..

That one I really can’t answer. My opinion is that fat isn’t ‘aspirational’ enough to warrant attention from the fashionistas, nobody WANTS to be fat, so why display clothes on fat mannequins or cater for larger people in designer or even high street stores? It’s as if they want our money, so they’ll cater for us behind the scenes like Next, making us order the larger sizes online so we don’t have to take up room in their shops! Page 2 of 3Page 3 of 3Talking of taking up room, not that I go into Top Shop very often, but younger shops like Top Shop and River Island are so tightly crammed that fat people can’t even squeeze though the racks in some shops! I think it’s probably a ploy to keep the chubbies away from their lovely tiny clothes personally, but they are missing a trick. Get Beth Ditto or someone in and get working on a collection for big, younger women, and they’ll get loyalty from a completely new section of the market. There’s so few young plus sized fashion options in shops that it’s ridiculous.  I’d love to see the them –vs- us mentality that seems to be all pervasive at the moment disappear up its own backside and be replaced by a tolerant, inclusive acceptance that bodies come in all sizes and it’s actually OK.  aND I’d love to see more designers like Michelle Ellis of FatPhrocks, designers who understand the needs of tall and plus size women and design individual, unusual clothes that cater for the people who actually wear them, rather than being identi-copies of the slim ranges in the shops.

 

7. Magazines also claim that their content has to be ‘aspirational’ – What do you say to that?

In my dreams I’d love to start an intelligent magazine for women that includes women of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities and abilities….with everything from fashion to philosophy and food, which didn’t treat women like idiots, airheads or vacuous bimbos who can’t do anything without taking a selfie or actually CARE what Katie Price is doing!

 

Sarah, I salute you.

Laters, Kate x