Stories

Our East End Dress

By Justine Tabak

Our East End Dress

How is everyone? Doesn't it feel like autumn is speeding up and the festive season is almost on the horizon? Whilst we don't generally 'do' Christmas, preferring to design with an all-year-round approach, we do have some styles that somehow nod to the season and here we showcase our favourite Blackwatch tartan linen in the new Hackney dress.

Effortless and easy to throw over a poloneck, this dress is the sort of style you can take anywhere; great for layering, dress up or down. Pair with chunky boots for country walks, velvet slippers for dressed up dinners, you'll find this dress is 'not just for Christmas', worn with trainers in the spring. 

And as we've had so much love for our tartans lately, we've also added a new indigo blue check in the 'Hackney'. Crossed with an oatmeal check, it's a natural for any occasion. Both versions available now. 

Decisions, decisions... 

Justine x

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The Bloomsbury Set

By Justine Tabak

The Bloomsbury Set

“There is much to support the view that it is clothes that wear us and not we, them; we may make them take the mould of arm or breast, but they mould our hearts, our brains, our tongues to their liking.”
Virginia Woolf, from Orlando: A Biography.

Formed in 1905, the famous 'Bloomsbury Group' of artists, writers and intellectuals pursued an ongoing collaboration, sharing ideas, creative support and ultimately friendship, which spanned 30 years. World-famous for works produced by members such as Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and Virginia Woolf, the group is still celebrated today for their art which was pivotal at the time, as well as their controversial liberal views and unconventional lifestyles. 

Many have been inspired by the group, whether through reference to great works of fiction, post-impressionist art from the turn of the century, Charleston Farmhouse itself, or the ideas of its members and their relationships. This season we too payed homage to this collective of creatives in developing our 'Bloomsbury Set', three colours and a print in a dress style that epitomises their free and easy nature, a touch of practical 'artisan' style, effortless and elegant. 

Come take a leaf out of their book and delve into the world of the Bloomsbury Group...

Justine x

The 'Bloomsberries' were made up of intellectuals, writers and artists; friends, lovers and family members, they embraced a culture of sexual equality, freedom and informality which broke away from Victorian convention, meeting weekly to share ideas within a nurturing, creative environment. 

Charleston Farmhouse in the South Downs became a regular meeting place for gatherings and parties. By all accounts a rather run-down house in beautiful surroundings, Vanessa Bell who had owned the property since the war, decorated it with Duncan Grant to create the playful, painterly Bloomsbury style so celebrated today. 

     

The group was seen as particularly controversial, some remarking that they were simply elitist individuals with a decorative and unoriginal style, others believing that they truly contributed to artistic innovations at the time. Whilst they may seem rather traditional in these times, the Bloomsbury Group did break boundaries amongst their contemporaries through their expressive work and ideas. Furthermore, they nurtured a creative environment, supporting many young artists  and generating a spirit of free-thinking through collaboration which we very much admire at JTHQ! 

We designed our new Bloomsbury dress with artistic tendencies in mind; a raglan sleeve for ease of movement, a waist that can be drawn in to suit both 'freethinking' or more fitted days, smocked elastic detailing at the wrist for delicate prettiness with comfort. Pockets of course! As always, made in collaboration with our makers and suppliers through and through.

Our Bloomsbury dresses come in 4 colour ways: Painted Dhalia print on a limited deadstock cotton poplin and three rich colours of softest microcord, Sapphire, Marmalade and Moss. 

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These Fair Isle Knits

By Justine Tabak

These Fair Isle Knits

With the nights drawing in and the weather cooling, keep cosy in our fair isle jumpers and cardigans. In four fresh colour combinations, made in 100% wool and knitted in Scotland, these pieces layer up perfectly over a dress or can simply be worn with a t shirt and jeans.

Which to choose ... 

Justine x

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Blooming Mavellous at Columbia Road Flower Market

By Justine Tabak

Blooming Mavellous at Columbia Road Flower Market

There's nothing quite like the endless inspiration which can be gleamed from a simple flower. Delicate or bold, vibrant or subtle, flowers are nature's gift to spark the senses. And as a designer of dresses, it's no surprise that I love a floral print. 

This autumn, in celebration of all things floral, we visited nearby Columbia Road to shoot our latest images. The colours of the buildings (and the local pub!) were the perfect foil to our floral dresses, no surprise as the area is imbued in rich floral history ...

Columbia Road flower market in Hackney takes place every Sunday, with flower and plant sellers filling the street with their colourful blooms. It's one of my favourite places in London with traders vying for attention with loud cries and bargains galore for seasonal bouquets through to herbs and cool cacti. The only outdoor flower market of its kind in the UK, running since 1949, the market is steeped in history with many flower stalls passed through the generations, this market is East End London at its finest. What's more, this bustling street is lined with brilliant independent shops and eateries, providing the perfect weekend jaunt.

Simply throw on your favourite floral dress and take a trip down memory lane with us. Blooming marvellous!

Justine x

Our newest Liberty 'Ruby Sprig' print for our ever favourite Camden Passage dress.

London has a great tradition of flower selling, but a dedicated open-air market didn't exist till the 1940s. During Victorian times flower sellers would sell flowers from huge baskets at the roadside. 

Up until the 19th Century the flower trade was mainly local, with flowers grown from large private gardens and nurseries. From then on, new flower farms emerged, like this one in Wisbech in 1908 showing rows of hyacinths.

Our new Alicia Bell Bohemian and Mill Town dresses are made in a Liberty eco-viscose, a beautifully draping fabric made from the bi-products of the cotton industry. 

Columbia Road flower market was originally an indoor food market built in 1868 by Angela Burdett-Coutts, a millionaire heiress and philanthropist.

The East End of London was very poor; once an area inhabited by Huguenot silk weavers but following the decline of the silk trade, the area too declined and led to urban depravation in the 1800s. 

This huge Neo-gothic building provided 400 stalls and lodgings in the rooms above for local traders, however just a few short years later in 1871 the building was gifted to the City of London due to lack of use. With no direct transport connections in the area it had not been popular with traders, and so a new smaller street market sprung up in the road, later becoming Columbia Road. 

 Another new Liberty, classic 'Cosmos', for our London Fields shape.

 

The market as we know it today was born in 1949 with many of the early traders on Columbia Road growing their own flowers from their own nurseries.

Despite a decline in the 70s, with the support of the community and regeneration in the area, Columbia Road has become a lively London attraction, full of colour and character every Sunday.

The Gentle Author has written a wonderful piece interviewing George Gladwell, a trader who has been selling his blooms from the first day the market launched.

Best of the Bunch! We've scattered our favourite flowers across the Autumn range this season, from new Liberty florals to a dreamy 'deadstock' Dahlia print for our easy drawstring Bloomsbury dress.

Columbia Road flower market is open every Sunday from 8am-2pm, I hope to see you there!

 

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Tartan Clan

By Justine Tabak

Tartan Clan

Introducing our new tartan Galway dress designed exclusively for Isabel Spearman's Daily Dress Edit! 

When Isabel approached me earlier in the summer to collaborate on her special pop up piece, I knew I wanted to create a style which truly epitomised the brand and combining one of our classic shapes with an original tartan weave felt like the perfect match. We set to work on creating a bespoke 'dress tartan', in a less expected luxury linen woven by artisan makers in Ireland. We love linen for it's truly sustainable values and although not a traditional wool, it's a fabric that drapes and moves comfortably all year round. 

After a week of exclusive sales at Isabel's shop, I'm thrilled to announce that you can now buy our new Galway dress directly through our website and hope you enjoy this 'behind the seams' look at the craftsmanship that went into this very special dress. 

Inspired by Scotland, woven in Ireland and stitched up in England, this dress truly represents the best of the British Isles! 

Justine x

* Now available online and available to try and buy at the Daily Dress Edit up until 17th October.

A rainbow of yarn hanks. For us design starts with colour, weaving together a web of hues to create something special. Much like untangling these hanks, the creative process slowly unfurls ...

Decisions decisions! We created our tartan patterns, mocking up designs using computer software and matching them to the colours of the flax yarn. Linen takes colour beautifully, and we blend warps and wefts together to create subtle blends. 

Once decided, we sent to our friendly Irish makers who turned our designs into reality. 

For Isabel's dress we made a tartan that packs just enough punch, with a bold red weaving through a base of crossed navy and black, sliced with a touch of ecru to highlight the check.

* We discovered that traditional 18th Century 'Dress Tartans' often incorporated white in their designs and were created with Highland Dance in mind!

Reeling, whirling and twisting on the looms... the dance of weaving...

And here it is, meet our Isabel Tartan Galway dress! Wear with white cowboy boots like Isabel for a modern urban look, or pair with Chelsea boots for cool and country. 

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Top & Tail Tartan

By Justine Tabak

Top & Tail Tartan

Surprise!

Even though we are known for our dresses, we're excited to let you know that we have introduced some beautiful new separates this Autumn.

First off, a toasty new top in brushed tartan, a limited edition in an end of roll cloth. With pretty details, a soft ruffled collar and elasticated frilled cuff, we think this is the perfect partner for jeans or cords.

Next we have taken our favourite Blackwatch linen, and created a simple pull on trouser. Luxury with ease, this is the 'elevated pyjama' that you can wear everywhere. Deep pockets of course.

Tell us what you think? Should we do more seperates? 

Justine x

 

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Colour Block Cord

By Justine Tabak

Colour Block Cord

 

The nights are drawing in, there's a crispness in the air...Autumn has arrived and with it we reach for classic corduroy. A perennial in the range, I couldn't imagine an Autumn season without cord. Ours is buttery soft, toasty warm and feels like velvet. To me it's the perfect winter fabric, both comforting and tactile and carries colour beautifully to brighten even the darkest of days.

 

This year we found inspiration in the charming streets of Columbia Road, East London, just up the road from our studio. For those who aren't London-based, this is a gem of an area, famous for it's Sunday flower market, colourful and noisy with traders selling best blooms and potted plants to the crowds which flock to barter. However, during the week you'll find the calmer, community-focused spirit which inhabits the area in a long row of independent shops; vintage emporiums, garden sundries, artisan makers, perfumeries, jewellers, bakeries and of course a local East End pub or two! Most noticeably the doors within the area are as unique and joyful as their inhabitants, shopfronts and homes painted in an array of happy hues. So it was here that we were inspired for our corduroy 'colour chart' bringing warmth and delight to our Autumn collection. 

 

Meet our 'colour block cords'...

 

Justine x

The new Bloomsbury. Available in three shades, Sapphire, Marmalade and Moss, this easy dress boasts a roomy raglan sleeve (for ultimate comfort), a drawstring at the waist (cinch in or leave looser to create the shape you want), midi length (perfect for tights and boots) and a notch neck which can be worn open or closed (think layering options!) Deep pockets and pretty smocked wrist details. An incredibly versatile shape to dress up or down. Pre Order in sizes XS-L for arrival first week October.

The Saltaire. Introducing our popular shirt dress in a new 'Mulberry' colour, the first batch sold out within days! This dress suits all sizes with a gentle fit and flare shape, clever bust darts to flatter your curves and nips in at the waist. Pre- order now to grab one in the next October batch. We have also added an XL to this shape. 

The Market dress. Our new 'mini' version in black cord, this style is a great practical everyday style. Multi- buttoned bodice, gently puffed shirt sleeves, and of course deep practical pockets. Great worn with thick tights, practical enough for cycling to your favourite Sunday market! 

The Mill Town. Our original three tiered dress, introduced five years ago in the very first collection and still going strong. A modern classic. Try belting with ribbons to create definition at the waist for different occasions.This year I've chosen a spicy mustard alongside our best-selling navy. Available in XS-XL.

 

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The Daily Dress Edit

By Justine Tabak

The Daily Dress Edit

The Daily Dress Edit is back!

I'm thrilled to announce that once again, we have been invited to take part in Isabel Spearman's pop-up extravaganza. Isabel, journalist and dress supremo, has been curating the best independent dress brands for three years now and has supported so many through these tumultuous times, so we are excited to welcome back her 'real life' shop, brimming with small independents in the heart of Belgravia, London. 

The shop will be open for three weeks, from 29th September-  17th October, and we will have a wider selection of styles in store than ever before, all which can be tried for size and styled by Isabel herself. Appointments can be pre-booked on her website below, however walk-ins will be accepted if they have capacity to accommodate. We advise a reservation at :

https://dailydressedit.com

14-15 Eccleston Yards
London SW1W 9AZ

Bookings are filling up fast so do sign up as soon as possible! I'll be sharing coverage throughout the pop-up on my Instagram and be introducing my collaboration 'Isabel Galway Dress'. This dress will be exclusively sold for the DDE in the first week and then opened up on my website.

Here's to another fabulous Daily Dress Edit event!

Justine x

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