Stories

Garden Of Eden

By Justine Tabak

Garden Of Eden

On an almost-warm day at the start of September, me and my trusty team gathered in a socially-distanced manner to shoot the latest collection. After months of hard work during a very challenging time for all, what a treat it was to work together and see the collection take shape in the most beautiful of surroundings. This season we had the pleasure of shooting within the gardens of Emma and Anthony Burrill, with just enough sunshine and under a blue sky before the seasons greyed for good. 

Emma, garden designer extraordinaire, created her garden from scratch just seven years ago when their family moved to Kent.
With her instinctive creativity and green fingered flair, Emma has designed, planted and nurtured her very own garden of Eden. 

Here we meet Emma as she talks us through her garden, and we share a few photos from behind the scenes at the shoot. 

Take it away Emma ...

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got to where you are today. 

"I originally studied Photography at the Royal College of Art and went on to work commercially as a photographer and illustrator for about 15 years in London. I moved back to my home county of Kent 15 years ago and began a diploma in Garden design, an RHS horticultural course and began volunteering at Great Dixter Garden. I am still there 14 years later!"

Can you tell me a little bit about the development of your garden? What did it look like originally and how long ago did you plant the current landscapes? 

"When we arrived here seven years ago the house was a 1970’s conversion of a victorian granary building, with a collection of dilapidated outbuildings. There was no garden to speak of but a mass of overgrown willow seedlings, paddocks and a lot of blackthorn scrub. We spent the first two years clearing the site and rebuilding the house. The old stables were demolished and we built our studio on the same footprint. I drew an overall plan of the garden when we began the project and each year we add a new element slowly building the larger picture. In our first year we planted 550 native trees as part of a woodland trust scheme and a cobnut platt designed on a traditional off set grid. In order to divide up the space and make sense of the huge open area I began to plant a series of hedges using the sight lines of the house and existing landmarks to connect the indoor space with the garden and wider landscape. Over the past 3-4 years we have added the borders, prairie and orchard."

    

When did you first discover your love of good gardens? Have you always had a green thumb? 

"I have gardened all my life and have always felt happier outdoors than anywhere else. My parents were keen gardeners and from a very early age I had a small patch to grow easy plants like marigolds and sunflowers although my favourite were always the tiny blue flowered speedwell, a weed that covered our lawn."

"As a child I created a nature table in the garden shed to display my collections of feathers, abandoned birds nests, pebbles and bones. I think my love of collecting and curation of those items developed into my love of arranging and designing in both the house and garden."

Where did you take inspiration from, are there any garden designers, gardens, artists that have influenced you here?

"Garden designers that have inspired me over the years are those who work with biodiversity in mind to create beautiful natural wild plantings. I love the contrast of formal structure and straight lines with an overlaying wild and natural planting. Designers such as Dan Pearson, Tom Stuart-Smith and Piet Oudolf are at the top of my list for the inspiring and naturalistic gardens they have created."

Can you describe some of the plants you've chosen to plant and why you like them?

"As I love a natural and slightly wilder look to my plantings I use a lot of grass varieties particularly Miscanthus Sinensis and our native Deschampsia Cespitosa mixed with perennials that not only fit well in a natural style planting but have a long season of interest. I look for plants that are just as attractive in death as in full bloom, the borders stand till mid-February so the plants have to look good till then. One of my favourite areas is the Prairie which is viewed from the studio. It has a very wild feel, but is filled with colour and once the colour fades the grasses and seed-heads stay all winter till we cut it all down in January. It is pretty low maintenance and even some weeds are welcome!"

    

A massive thank you to Emma and Anthony Burrill for letting us shoot within their beautiful garden, I couldn't have asked for a more idyllic location. As always, a huge thank you to my dream team; here's to hopefully many more collections and shoots to come! 

Justine x

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The Kerry Dress

By Justine Tabak

The Kerry Dress

Hello lovely subscribers,

In a week of bad news, I felt the need to write about positivity and community. The best thing about 'being small' is the 'family' of makers that you work with and genuinely get to know so I'm excited to highlight our Kerry dress in linen made by world renowned Emblem Weavers. 

Way back in March, just pre lockdown, we met with Stephen to talk linen weaves and checks. We have been working with his company, based in Ireland for the last three years and I always look forward to looking through their cloth selection at a local textile fair. As we looked through gorgeous ginghams and wholesome stripes, Stephen surprised us by saying we could make our own tartan design, so taking the opportunity, we set to task, sketching out, picking yarns and blending colours...all within the space of half an hour! The Kerry check, named after it's Irish provenance, was born.

Our dress fabric has a beautiful aqua ground with warps and wefts of navy and chocolate, ecru and straw ; glowing like the sky streaked with warmer autumnal tones, a rustic check to layer up with boots and knits for winter. We love linen all year round for its natural feel and weighty texture.

For the style, we kept to our favourite easy shape adding a simple ruffle at the neck, and a shorter tiered hem. 

Alas, the pandemic meant we couldn't meet up again, so the next time we saw the linen was when it was delivered to the studio, but Stephen kept us posted of its progress with a stream of photos and videos.

We have been overwhelmed with the high demand for this limited edition dress and have sold over half of them already! Luckily, Stephen has come to the rescue and he is busy weaving a new batch at his family run mill. It's good to know your friendly makers.  

Thank you Emblem Weavers and thank you all. It's been an extremely busy week with the launch of the new collection. Apologies if you're still waiting, it's been a bit of a catch up this year, but new stock coming next week and we appreciate your patience. 

Justine x

We were lucky that we began designing our tartan before lockdown hit... however we still had to fine tune our yarn colours digitally!! A difficult task but one that opened our eyes to 'the new normal' in our design process...

We have carefully designed the tartan in hues of aqua blue and brown, perfect for every season...

On the looms at Emblem...

Our linen is sustainably made using European flax, needing rainwater alone for growing and no nasty pesticides. It's the perfect, comfy cloth to wear all year round, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in winter. Here, we paired the dress with a gorgeous pair of velvet winter boots.

    

Practical and pretty. The Kerry dress has deep pockets, an easy fit and elasticated sleeves...

The delicate ruffle collar adds a romantic touch while the tiny hook and eye fastening on the neck. Wear closed, open or over layers...

 

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Cottage Core

By Justine Tabak

Cottage Core

I hope you've all been managing in this topsy turn weather, a scorcher all week but now as I write this, it's bucketing down! We're busy working on the new season, which I can't wait to share with you in the next few weeks, but in the meantime wanted to share our newest discovery: cottagecore. We were recently approached by a newspaper to provide some of our 'cottagecore' styles and I had to admit I'd never heard the term before so it was worth looking into it a little more and indeed it turns out we have the aesthetic wrapped up well in our easy comfortable styling.

The Urban Dictionary describes the movement as such:

"A niche aesthetic based around the visual culture of an idealised life on a farm. Common themes include sustainability, gardens, farm animals, rural living, and nature."

Whilst on one level this sounds a little too romanticised, our penchant for a prairie dress, everyday prettiness in natural fabrics with an appreciation for craft and comfort certainly puts us in the realms of this new trend. This week we had some fun gathering our favourite photos plus a few new shots (in my tiny garden!) to celebrate our accidental inclusion in this trend with our version of 'cottagecore'. Think gingham girls, romantic florals and wholesome dresses; in a meadow or the garden, country or city.

And to all my 'cottagecore' followers out there, I'm offering a secret subscribers discount of 20% off some of my more summery styles shown below. After all, my cupboards are starting to look a little bare and I need to make way for more cosy cottage styles coming soon..

For two weeks only. Use the code 'COTTAGECORE20' at checkout to apply your discount.

Whilst trends come and go, we'll be wafting through the seasons for many years to come!

Justine x

You can't get any more cottage-core than our Frome dress shot in the 'countryside' of Hackney Marshes! Perfect for any last minute weddings, events or worn with trainers for a comfy day at home...

Blue stripe linen in our Poets Road dress in deadstock Irish linen, best worn with sunshine (but we'll take what we can from the weather!)

    

Gingham both inside and outside. The red Primrose Hill dress on the left and tonal blues gingham Whitstable dress on the right. Just a few left in either...    

    

Dreaming of endless walks through the woods in our deadstock check Field dress... the perfect dress to wear for a weekend escape from city life, or just for blackberry picking on Hackney marshes like me last weekend!

    

@wearsmymoney matching her dress to her flowerbeds, and @melissa.hemsley cooking up a storm. Navy broderie anglaise, a firm favourite in our classic Primrose Hill style. 
Indira, who worked with us before taking up teaching, in the broderie Primrose Hill dress.

    

Picnic ginghams and baskets full of cooking apples!

    

Java, our intern for the summer, wears the red Primrose Hill dress using the sash to mix up her look; wear as a headscarf, or bow round a pony tail and I've even heard to use as an emergency mask!

Daisy looks oh-so-cottage-core too wearing her belt as a headscarf, and the always-beautiful @cakeandmoss wrapping us up below at her local farmers market...

P.S. Whilst this dress has been sold out for quite some time, I just couldn't resist adding this image of @renatelarssen with her beautiful matching floral crowns! Perfect dreamy cottagecore living!

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Patchwork

By Justine Tabak

Patchwork

Over the summer I have had some incredible emails from customers and friends, with wonderful stories of how they have been keeping busy during lockdown. Inspired by these letters and in particular a story sent by Hilary below, it reminded me that whatever the situation we find ourselves in, there is always creativity to be found. The story below is literally a family thread of life through fabric, patched together as a beautiful heirloom.

In a more humble way, I managed to put together a handful of patchwork dresses using leftover Liberty fabrics. In our easy to wear, classic, Primrose Hill style this one of a kind dress is perfect for summer days both at home or away.

Sadly we were only able to make four of these beautiful dresses in a size small size 8-12 (so sorry not to do more but if this proves popular we will look at making more) ...if you are interested in buying one please send us an email at support@justinetabak.co.uk as this dress is not shown via the website.
I'm releasing the same dress via instagram but as always, subscribers have first dibs.

    

Ella in the beautiful Primrose Hill patchwork dress 

Hilary's Patchwork Story

In her own words, read on to hear about Hilary's passion for patchwork and the memories that are held within....

"The story of the family patchwork quilt goes way back - I started the first quilt when I was a student at the London College of Fashion in the late Seventies, on finding an amazing source of 'slight seconds' Liberty prints bought in a shop at Walthamstow market. My mother did most of the sewing but we all did stints on the quilt over the years – my sister took the quilt back to Denmark to finish all the backing and quilt stitching and my daughter is now the proud owner of it. It took decades to complete but it’s such an archive of family memories …

Decades of memories in a quilt!

"More recently, I started my 'shirting patchwork' - using scraps cut from my sons' shirts and boxers and having amassed lots of my favourite cotton chartings and chambrays ...such a great thing about patchwork is the memory bank that each quilt holds. Even as grown men they can now identify certain stripes and checks !"

I have been sewing a minimum of 5 hexagons a day - quite often watching the live coronavirus press conference. And it's no surprise that the quilt is suddenly growing !! My mother taught me about this type of hand sewn patchwork - there are approx 120 stitches around each hexagon and she was still sewing in her eighties. Each hexagon is linked small stitches using traditional Sylko mercerised cotton thread..."

    

Something tells me the inspiration continues as Hilary designs for her new homewares venture! You can really see the geometric patterns taken from the shirting quilt to one of her new cushion prints! Check her out @crop_norfolk
My sincerest THANK YOU to Hilary who inspired this newsletter! 

And my inspiration is clear...this is a photo taken from my late Dad's wardrobe... a patchwork in a rail! 

If patchwork isn't quite for you, we have plenty of other patchwork inspired dresses in stock. Mix and match with belts, bags and shoes to create your own patchwork effect!

Enjoy the sunshine!

Justine x

    

We have just a few in these dresses left here...

    

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Summer Sunshine

By Justine Tabak

Summer Sunshine

Whilst we’ve had a few grey skies of late, it looks like summer's back with a vengeance and a glorious weekend of sunshine for all! And with a gradual ease of restrictions, it feels like summer is only just upon us.

Our newest bunch of most summery styles have bedded in online, already firm favourites with some of our quickest customers. By making local, we managed to get back into gradual production with the support of our loyal makers, it's been a challenge with social distancing but I'm pleased to say the final summer dresses are now happily wafting on the rails of the warehouse ready to send out. (And thank you to all those waiting, yours coming next week too)

Whether enjoyed in the park for social gatherings, packed 'ready to go' for that well needed break, working at home or in the garden, here’s hoping you’ll find a new summer frock to brighten your day.

Simple pleasures, dresses to be pulled out time and time again.

Justine x

p.s. Thank you to all for our lock down models, Daisy, Java, Jane, Magdalene, Zeena ...the older lady is me!

Daisy in Forget-me-not Frome, and me in classic Navy Rose with matching mask.

We have another batch of this most popular Columbia Road print dress arriving today! Lovely Java has been helping us in her holidays.

Blink and you'll miss, just a few new Clifton dresses arriving Friday.

Replenished with a small batch production, and ready for holiday home and away, the Wedgewood blue Petticoat Lane dresses.

Rose prints are just as charming in blue as in red ...

For those scorching sunshine days, the Field dress in Sunset and Brown Check.
... And our forever perennial Primrose Hill dresses, this one modelled by Jane in for the I Love the NHS dress.

New colour alert! Especially 'sweet' in the limited Parma Violet edition as worn by Magdalene.

Summer refresher! We found half a roll of the Rainbow check and have squeezed just a few into Camden Passage dresses. See here on Zeena @heartzeena Catch if you can...

Finally here...a new batch of Meadow floral Camden Passage dresses; this one can be worn all year through.

The end of a summer's day...

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Match Your Masks For The Intensive Care Society

By Justine Tabak

Match Your Masks For The Intensive Care Society

Hurrah to our incredible Intensive Care Workers!

Today I'm thrilled to be launching my own cotton mask in collaboration with Isabel Spearman's Daily Dress Edit to help raise money for the Intensive Care Society.

Wearing masks has all of a sudden become part of our everyday lives, worn to protect ourselves and others from spreading the coronavirus. As we slowly come out of lockdown, it's been recommended that we take to wearing a simple face covering in certain situations such as on public transport. Doing so helps to prevent the spread, and so protects our NHS as best we can so that they can continue to help and save the most vulnerable.

The Intensive Care Society is a charity that supports all who work in Intensive Care Units. The ICU is the safety net of the hospital - where the sickest patients are given  life saving care including ventilation. In these unprecedented times, staff have been overstretched to the hilt, and the Intensive Care Society provides much needed support both mentally and physically to all their members. See their amazing work at https://www.ics.ac.uk

Isabel Spearman was approached by Kirsty Mann, a volunteer for the charity, to ask if she knew of any brands that might want to sell masks to raise funds for the ICS. They quickly conjured up the idea of 'Match your Mask' as a fun way to raise funds. I jumped at the chance to take part in this wonderful initiative! 

Our masks are made from the 'offcuts' gathered during the making of our dresses in a mix of florals and checks, the prettiest of prints in 100% pure cotton. They are gently shaped to flatter and comfortably fit over your mouth and nose, with a simple discreet soft elastic to loop around your ears. All double sided for extra security and fully machine washable. 

In each handy fabric pouch, we have placed two masks, one to wear, one for the wash. Each pack is selected as a 'lucky dip', meaning you'll receive two masks chosen at random, no two packs the same, in a mix of light and dark colours. Not only do these masks help protect, but by repurposing small scraps of fabric left over from cutting pieces in production, they are a sustainable option to keeping you looking stylish and safe!

And we are shouting loud and proud for the makers of our masks, a loyal supplier who not only makes fantastic dresses but has also spent the last few months coordinating and making thousands of locally made PPE for our hospitals and care homes.

Please note these are not medical masks, but function as a cloth face covering as recommended by the government to be worn by the general public in certain situations.

Each fabric pouch containing two masks costs £25, available to buy through the website now. All profits from sales will be donated to the ICS to raise vital funds for the charity. 

Wear safe, wear pretty.

Justine x

  

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We Love the NHS Dress

By Justine Tabak

We Love the NHS Dress

Today we're launching our new, limited edition dress in support of our fantastic NHS care. The NHS is something that we take for granted, and through this pandemic we have all watched their heroic contribution. As a small token of gratitude, we created this special dress in our best selling Primrose Hill dress. It's just a tiny drop in the ocean but as a small brand it's something that we wanted to do to say thank you. All of our profits from this style will be donated to the NHS via their NHS Charities Together scheme, supporting all the NHS charities as a whole. 

If you don't already know this 'favourite' dress, this time in a unique "NHS' mid blue, it is cool, comfortable and has been in the collection from the beginning. A modern prairie style, it oozes contemporary romance cut in the simplest of everlasting cotton gingham, perfect for wafting around your garden during lock down or keeping cool indoors.  

We made just 20 of these dresses with care in one of our London-based workshops over the past few weeks, and are selling these as a limited-edition batch so make sure you don't miss out; buy a dress and donate to our wonderful NHS!

A massive thank you to our beautiful model Jane, pictured wearing the dress, herself a paediatric nurse in an NHS hospital who took her valuable time out between shifts to photograph the dress. Just lovely!

Justine x

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The Last Call

By Justine Tabak

The Last Call

The last eleven days have been absolutely incredible. I can't thank you all enough for the support you've shown a small brand like mine at this most challenging time. 

With just one day left of the pop up, I wanted to share with you my two newly launched Camden Passage styles available for preorder now, and a few of my favourites that we still have stock of. Our cupboards are looking bare, but rest assured our makers have started to carefully cut so we'll be restocked soon. We're donating 10% of sales to the Felix Project, a London-based charity working to redistribute fresh, surplus food to help feed those in need.

I've been lucky to take part in this pop up alongside 11 other independent brands all hand-picked by Isabel Spearman, and what a lovely bunch they are! Each brand created an exclusive dress for the pop up, all available to buy today online with individual discounts and donations to chosen charities. Take a look to see what they've created over on the event's website ...

https://dailydressedit.com

Justine x

 

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