Stories

Autumn Winter Look Book

By Justine Tabak

Autumn Winter Look Book

Shot in the quiet village of Brent Pelham, Hertfordshire, our second autumn look book was created on a very rainy day back in September. With a steady supply of hot tea and biscuits, the team got into the cosy spirit with velvety corduroys, rich autumnal prints and toasty knits. I'm happy to share with you, as always, the final result. 

Warmest wishes,

Justine x

 
 

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Warming recipes from Rosie Birkett

By Justine Tabak

Warming recipes from Rosie Birkett

I'm not a huge lover of a modern Halloween, with all the single use plastic it encourages, but I enjoy the spirit of fun and sense of community it can inspire and I'm amazed at the increasing creativity carved into the doorstep pumpkins that glow and  beckon local children for trick or treating. I bought mine the other day, and if I can encourage my grown-up children to indulge me we'll be carving it up tonight. As for what I'll do with it come tomorrow, I'll be saving every last piece and cooking up a storm via recipes from the wonderful Rosie Birkett who always manages to create delicate yet hearty dishes that I crave this time of year. 

I've collated two of my favourite Rosie recipes from her books 'The Joyful Home Cook' and 'A lot on her plate'. One is a warming winter squash soup with chipotle, roasted garlic and crusty seeds, and one a mushroom, squash and halloumi stroganoff, but within both you can substitute the squash for pumpkin to make the most of your carved creations. Delicious! 

 

Thanks Rosie as ever, I certainly can't wait to make this over the weekend... Like you I'll be wearing my classic cord to keep warm, whether it's my Brighton crop trousers with boots as I watch the fireworks on Saturday night at my local Clissold park, or the favourite Mill Town dress lounging around on a lazy Sunday. Bliss!

 

 

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Tartan British Wool for a New Brighton Crop Trouser

By Justine Tabak

Tartan British Wool for a New Brighton Crop Trouser

Whilst I'm known for dresses, sometimes I also like to pull on a comfy pair of trousers and a slouchy jumper. This season we took the plunge and decided to develop the very first JT trouser - the Brighton Crop. Available in a soft chunky cord in navy and rust, and in soft British tartan wool, the shape is designed to pull on as easily as a pyjama whilst looking modern and flattering. 

The tartan wool version featured today is made out of a beautiful cloth milled right here in Yorkshire. Abraham Moon & Sons has been making wools since 1837 from the community in Guiseley, between Leeds and the Yorkshire Dales. Originally pieces were woven within homes like many cottage industries at the time, then were collected and paid for by the company who went on to wash, hang dry in local fields and finally sell at Leeds market.

In 1869 Abraham Moon bought the mill where the company is still located today, using the same original pure water springs for scouring (washing) as they did back then. Although the original mill burnt down in 1902, the facility was rebuilt on the same grounds because of the natural soft water supply available, and over time the mill became fully vertical - meaning all manufacturing processes took place on site.

Over the years Moons persevered in a changing economy; where many brands were opting for man-made fibres and looking to foreign suppliers to cut costs, Moons stood the test of time because of their focus on quality. By keeping the mill vertical they were able to control the consistency of their product, producing a fabric that, whilst not cheap, is symbiotic with luxury. 

The process of making beautiful wool, such as my red tartan wool used in the Brighton crop, can be followed through 8 separate processes ...

 

High quality raw wool is bought from proven sources predominantly from New Zealand and South Africa.

Raw wool is taken to the internal dye house where it's dyed to one of their 500 shades. The recipes are kept top secret!

Up to 7 different colours are blended within each yarn to create the finished colour. This variation creates the rich depth of shade, for example within the pure red of my check there could be up to 7 different dyed shades.

Carding is the process of running the blended wool through a series of combed rollers that first tease the fibres one way then the other. This removes impurities and helps to produce a smooth and soft fabric.

Fibres are wound onto a spool and spun into a fine but strong yarn. 

Warping takes place, with up to 2000 threads wound over a drum to make a warp (lengthwise threads) for weaving a width of fabric. This is a complicated process and needs to be accurate to produce precise patterns. 

Fabrics are woven using automatic looms that take the weft across the warp threads. Every inch of fabric is inspected three times to ensure quality and accuracy. 

Fabric is scoured using pure spring water from below the mill, is milled and then dried. Fabric is finished by careful pressing and steaming to ensure shrinkage is removed.

Throughout the process of making wool at Moons, sustainability is considered at every stage. For example, all farms they buy raw wool from ensure their sheep live in ethical conditions with plenty of grassland to roam and feed upon. Only eco-friendly detergents are used in the washing process, and being a 100% natural and renewable fibre the fabric doesn't affect the food chain at the end of its lifecycle.

If you'd like to learn any more about Abraham Moons please do visit their website at:

https://www.moons.co.uk/

I hope you love my new Brighton Crop trouser as much as we loved creating it for you!

Justine x

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Our new Ladbroke Grove Dresses ....... and how to care for them

By Justine Tabak

Our new Ladbroke Grove Dresses ....... and how to care for them

With Autumn fully fledged, we're showcasing our new Ladbroke Grove dress. Made in Liberty's famous tana lawn in two beautiful archive prints, this flowing dress is based on our best-selling Primrose Hill shape, adapted with a higher, cosier neckline and a long sleeve that can be worn down or 'scrunched up' to the elbow. As are all my dresses, this style is forever easy and covers all seasons; layer over tights and a polo if really nippy, and come spring you'll be pulling up the sleeves when the sun shines. 

I decided to make this dress in cotton, not traditionally a 'winter' fabric, but I always think natural fabrics have all year round appeal being kind to the skin, easy to wear layered up or down and breathable so you don't build up a sweat in central heating. We've also been doing our research into all our cottons, the huge use of water in the production of cotton has been widely publicised and we've discovered that Liberty have done some amazing work behind the scenes to make their classic cotton as sustainable as possible. This cotton is Oeko-tex certified and made in conjunction with the Better Cotton Initiative, a collective movement to promote better cotton farming practises, non polluting dyes, safe for the environment and the customer.

Natural fibres, when sourced thoughtfully, cause less harm throughout their lifecycle. Natural fabrics will biodegrade, and unlike synthetics, will not shed micro plastics into the water system when washed. In terms of washing, I always recommend washing at a low temperature. This keeps your clothes in tip top condition whilst also saving precious energy usage. Cotton should be fine on a 30 degrees wash, using a gentle detergent such as a non-bio. In softest Liberty Tana Lawn, the dress can be simply hung straight from the washing machine and should be dry and pretty much crease free by the morning. 

Ultimately we're all just trying to do our best, and the best tip I could give would be to try to wash clothes less frequently, using less water and saving energy. Sometimes all a cotton dress needs is a simple airing by an open window to feel fresh and ready to be worn again. 

My Ladbroke Grove dresses, in' 'Tatton and 'Sissinghurst' prints, are both in stock and available to buy now. 

Warmest wishes 

Justine x

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Autumn One Look Book

By Justine Tabak

Autumn One Look Book

The first leaves have fallen and early Autumn is upon us ... 

We've been quietly launching some new pieces behind the scenes, uploading styles as they arrive from their makers, so I thought it a good time to share my new look book 'Autumn 1' with you. Taken on a crisp morning in Hackney marshes, north London, these pictures epitomise the transitional spirit I strive to encapsulate in my collections with a cross over from late summer to the first nip of Autumn ; cotton dresses worn over tights and under jumpers for cooler days, velvety soft cord taking you from September into April, and linen to layer over polo necks so they can be worn all year through. 

All pieces seen are available to order now, but some styles in 'deadstock' fabrics do have limited sizing left so please check. More coming soon as we head into Autumn proper. 

Justine x

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Buller and Rice

By Justine Tabak

Buller and Rice

I'm proud to say that my Newington Green local hair salon, Buller and Rice, is the first sustainable salon in London. As our awareness of the damage we cause to the environment is growing, we're changing how we go about our everyday lives. I truly believe that sustainability is about doing the best we can, and when it comes to Buller and Rice they've done just that and more so. Every aspect of their business has been considered, from their recycled furniture and styling stations made from compressed hay, to their choice of biodynamic products. 

On a sunny Friday afternoon I took a trip down to visit Stephen at the salon, and we chatted over a blow dry and style ...

I meet Stephen and his cute Brussels Griffon dog Cyril, who apparently has quite the following himself! We chatted through my style and decided to go with natural curls that reflected my casual style, I'm most known for a scraped up scruffy pony tail! Stephen has been working as a stylist for years, establishing himself in London at 'Pimps and Pinups' in Spitalfields where he met his now business partner Anita Rice. 

Buller and Rice has a beautifully modern aesthetic, feeling very green and fresh. They use custom made furniture out of repurposed materials, such as their upcycled Belmont chairs, styling stations cut like a jigsaw to reduce waste, and marble-effect mirror frames from recycled yogurt pots. Cool LA-based brand BFBG designed the wall hanging and soft furnishing, giving the space a homely yet hip edge, whilst combined with a subtle mid-century modern vibe. Overall the space feels contemporary but approachably so, and has a distinct lived in feel to it.

Here I am pre-styling, happy to be in the hands of Stephen for a little pampering. 

Products used by the salon are bio-dynanic, meaning that the farm that grows the raw ingredients is chemical free, produces organic crops slowly and with rainwater alone, and produces no waste. OWAY products, seen here, all come in glass bottles that can be recycled or reused, the labels are made from sugar cane and bamboo, and the products are all vegan.

Even their hairbrushes our considered, using go green detanglers from WetBrush that can be thrown in landfill once they are past using and naturally break down after 5 years.

Stephen works on my hair as we chat. I was excited to hear about the salon's ethos and dedication to trying their best to cause no harm and use the resources already around. For example, the salon is kitted out to be energy-efficient, and the shower heads used to wash hair use a third of the amount of water. They even recycle hair clippings, donating them to the charity Matter of Trust to help clear up ocean oil spills.

He described how for them they just wanted to do as much as they can and educate as many people as they can, whether it's through colouring, take home products or furniture. The bottom line has to be great hair care, but if a customer comments on how much they love their powdered '"plant and mineral refresh" dry shampoo, it's even better to be able to tell them that the product doesn't contain any harmful substances and is made in an ethical way.

Here Stephen is putting the finishing touches on my new style, a fixing spray.

Giving Cyril a cuddle! You can follow Cyril's antics on instagram @cyrilbbd

I wore my Primrose Hill dress in pink rose for the occasion. It was a beautifully sunny day, and these dresses are perfect to waft about in in the heat. 

Here I am lounging at the end of my visit, feeling very relaxed and content. The best bit about Buller and Rice is that you could walk in off the street not knowing anything about the salon's ethos or dedication to sustainability and feel so at home. First and foremost it's a lovely salon offering talented stylists and a wonderful experience, but they've managed to achieve all of this whilst setting up in a sustainable way. They're a successful example of a modern business, and I wish them all the best of luck as they continue to flourish. 

Buller and Rice are open 6 days a week, and you can either call 0207 249 7727, visit their website at www.bullerandrice.com or just pop in at Newington Green to arrange an appointment. 

Justine x

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The Best Friend Dress

By Jason Edwards

The Best Friend Dress

My childhood friend Elizabeth, has owned her Irish linen Petticoat Lane dress since I launched the style in my first summer collection. Worn and loved, the linen has aged beautifully, becoming softer through every wash, and more often than not it's the dress I guess she'll wear any time we meet. She recently described it as her 'best friend' as 'you just put it on and go' and 'it's just so reliable, comfy and easy to wear'.

I'm delighted that so many customers echo this experience, many returning to buy another colour each year as they get so much wear out of it. Beautiful linen isn't cheap, but it is green and clean, antibacterial, easy to wash, sustainable to make, and keeps you cool or warm so can be worn all year long. A forever fabric for a forever dress. 

The Petticoat Lane style is easy and breezy with gently puffed shoulders, long tiered wafty skirt, a touch of hidden shaping in the bodice for a flattering cut and three quarter sleeves so the dress can be worn whether you're in 30 degree sunshine or a  drizzly 'summer' day. I live in mine whether in the garden planting a few bulbs or out for dinner. 

I've spotted some really lovely photographs of customers wearing the 'best friend' dress, and wanted to share these with you. Always good to see your pics and please do keep them coming! 

Wearing the saffron yellow ...

Here, Caroline from the blog 'Not Such a Model Mum' wears her dress in sunny Barcelona.

Below, Julia wears her dress exploring California, and my 'best friend' came with me to Lopud, Croatia.

Rose red ...

Victoria, founder of 'Made by Wave' beach accessory brand, wears her dress on a lucky British sunny spell through Richmond Park.

Duck egg blue ...

Alissa, chef, author and founder of supper club KinoVino, wore hers whilst providing a beautiful spread for a shoot with Red magazine to celebrate the launch of her cookbook Salt and Time.

The GGHQ team ...

All wearing Justine Tabak linen pieces (apart from Gill in the middle who wears her ink blue number below ...), this lovely team champion and support linen makers from flax to dress. 

Ink blue ...  

Gill at work at GGHQ
....and here's Heidi with hat in the Outback, Australia!

Peapod green ...

Marina, co-founder of the 'Bump Class' and producer of the weekly podcast 'The Parent Hood', wears her peapod dress at home.

Milk white ...

With a beautiful pink bunch of peonies in hand, Claire, from Cake and Moss adds the most perfect romantic, yet rustic touch to anything from cakes to ceramics. She wears her white dress again and again on her instagram feed. 

And Rosie, food writer, wears her dress relaxing at home.

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Summer 2019 look book

By Justine Tabak

Summer 2019 look book

Summer's finally here and let's hope we all get to see lots of sunshine whether home or abroad. 

I wanted to share with you my summer look book. We shot these pictures way back in February on a rare glorious day on the East Sussex coast and none of us could believe our luck as we felt like we'd been transported to Santorini! The house where we shot was called 'Sandcastle', an amazing Art Deco 'palace' of a home with cool wide terraces, beautiful collections of art and whimsical modernist treasures. We were so lucky to share this home for a day. 

Enjoy the sunshine wherever you are.....

Justine x

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