London has this bubbly energy you can’t defeat. And when it comes to fashion meeting culture, the British capital is massive.
We’ve recently met Tess Rees for a secret project (we swear we’ll share the secret soon ) and we’ve discovered a very interesting designer. Student at Central Saint Martins, Tess is a Fine Artist who says that she “creates fun clothing for the fanciful“.
Something we’re very, very keen to buy as we think that fashion can change the world. And that smiling and dreaming should be written in the fashion Bill of Rights.
“All pieces are 100% lovingly handmade, unless otherwise stated as vintage and all fabrics are sourced in London. All tops are one size only at the moment, this size fits a Size 10 snugly and a Size 8 loosely. As well as producing handmade clothes, Tess aims to find and sell vintage clothes at affordable prices. About 75% of the vintage pieces are found in Charity shops. So whilst spending your money in our online shop you can have peace of mind in knowing you have made a donation to a worthwhile cause.“
How do you create “fun” clothing? Do you need to enter a specific state of mind?
Working creatively everyday makes generating ideas and designs seem like second nature so I wouldn’t say It’s a specific state of mind, it’s more when I think of something I want to wear and can’t find it!
Where does your inspiration come from?
So so many places, I’m constantly doing research for my Fine Art degree so colour and form are always on my mind and this definitely feeds into my clothing and the vintage I search for. Inspiration also comes from my friends and the people around me, I often take what I love most about their styles and try to create something I love and hopefully they would want to wear too! My Granny is also a major influence, she gave me an Ostrich feather fan and a gold chain mail handbag last Christmas! An enormous stack of Vogue Paris’ sit in the corner of my bedroom that remain as a souvenir of a subscription she gave me years ago and I still look through them occasionally.
Your T-shirt can give a super-power to a customer: what is it?
Oooh if I could create a top that doubles as an invisibility cloak I would be one very happy lady.
What’s next for your young brand?
I’m currently working on some content for the website which will hopefully be launching very soon. Long term plans are to develop a recognisable visual style that will hopefully result in a collection rather than sporadic designs being made here and there!
Apple did not ninja-launch their seasonal batch of new products for sure. A few hours before the Keynote introducing yet another iPhone and a Watch seemingly tailored to tackle Samsung’s leading innovations, there was a wind of disbelief in the Fashion Press where editors, influencers and followers alike felt they would feel the full blow of Apple Marketing Superpower.
Geek is now infamously chic, but why such a sudden direct poke (copyright?) at the trendiest industry?
BoF did not take this lightly either. The respectable source about The Industry took the opportunity to present their new hub for Fashion-dash-Tech:
Capitalizing on the obvious trend making tech objects the new Talismans of our contemporary citizens, the brand seems to make a wise business move involving fashion partners more closely, but we’re still wondering: are these new products really worth the spotlight?
France as a brand is trying hard to redefine itself. We don’t have the American Dream, our myths and stories are moral, political. Not made for business per se.
Our know-how, our French Touch might be recognized worldwide, but who can really support this vision today? Most of the time, France is associated to a sort of Lost Paradise: Coco Chanel, Marie-Antoinette, Brigitte Bardot, even Carine Roitfeld…aren’t they from the past? Can they really root France in a contemporaneity?
That’s probably what Camille Rowe achieved in her French lesson: playing with clichés about the Frenchie (yes, in London, most of the guys think that our ladies are bipolar!), and suggesting a new interpretation…
A reconciliation of a sweet arrogance with an ultra-feminine power. A woman one might only desire, therefore respect.
As we like to be right, we believe far more in the Made in French instead of focusing on Made in France. France is a spirit before being a body. Camille Rowe proves once again that our French singularity is in this mix between a very physical attractiveness which empowers a captivating personality.
We love this sparkling Parisian woman: she’s evasive and so free. The best way to communicate about a French brand these days is not to tag it or qualify through the fact the brand is actually French. We need to leave the brand express its creativity. The most intriguing, disturbing, bizarre designers are the real French. A French brand should try to love complicated attitudes; French brands should maybe dive in absurdity. French brands should trouble its customers. That’s probably the only difference now of what French brands can bring on the table against every pop brand machine with a too clever, too simple speech. A French brand should be desired, should be tough to get.
Oh and Made in French don’t care about borders and territories: Camille is an American icon and / or French. Do we care?
DKNY has just launched a brand new collection called “DKNY Ramadan”.
It’s been designed by two digital socialites, Yala Golsharifi, fashion editor for Styles Magazine and Tamara Al Gabbani, fashion designer in Dubai.
A daring collection as it plays with Ramadan. Who said that fashion could not match faith?
The general idea is to provide to Muslim women some outfits which are both convenient for this special month while it does fully hide feminine body. A great example of inspiring Modest fashion.
The collection is supported by a smart communication campaign, asking the models what’s their favourite Ghabka destination (an event made to connect and socialize) or their favourite places for Sahur (the first meal before the sun awakes)
DKNY focuses on the joyful part of Islam instead of insisting on some austerity cliché when it comes to religion.
DKNY explores a territory that not so many brands want to enter, fearing hostile reactions. Yes, faith is not the enemy of womanhood. Yes, being Muslim and liking fashion can work hand in hand. A
Now it’s time to look at which consumers are going to buy this collection: are they women living between L.A. and Dubai or is the collection dedicated to more “hardcore” countries?
These past few years have seen the rise to glory of a long-underestimated and underserved market: Menswear. With a boost given by the street culture generation now on the chase for looks and design, it’s never been more exciting to be a man in fashion.
But there is a tip to the spear and it is called London (UK).
While the British Fashion Council once again sets up a platform for creativity and business called London Collections: Men – bringing together names including Jonathan Saunders, Christopher Kane, Alexander McQueen, JW Anderson, Katie Eary, Tom Ford, Moschino, YMC, Topman and Lyle & Scott; one can not be surprised when this is the proud land of Paul Smith and the mean streets of modern Tailoring.
Furthermore, who could doubt menswear would find its energy on a market where online concept-stores such as Oki-Ni, LN-CC or Endclothing have thrived in the past few years.
London like no other place is encompassing everything that inspires the modern man: a desire for excentricity mixed with extremely codified formality. The geek generation finds its closet ready for a revolution – fashion can be optimized for efficiency with creativity. Rest of the world, behold. The times of Daddy’s preppy or douchey style is over.
It had been a while since I didn’t have a breakthrough momentum in London. Not that the place is not energetic anymore, but things tend to sometimes look a bit the same…
And there came Steven D.R Skippen, Founder and Shoe Artisan at Shoeshine UK that I met at Monsieur London. I had never experienced such a sensation on my feet, through my shoes; I had only used automatic machines in some hotels here and there. Then I understood what bespoke and talent mean. With his own hands, Steven knows how to transform your shoes into YOUR shoes.
We can make a bet: if I were a brand collection director, I would directly hire Steven to create a capsule collection.
Hi Steven: when did you star shining shoes?
I started shining shoes over 14 years ago I literally fell into it as a stop gap but to this day am still shining shoes. For 13 years my big red chair has been installed in the lobby of The London Hilton on Park Lane, my hands have had the opportunity to dwell on the shoes of the Sultan of Brunei, The Dalai Lama, Mike Tyson, the King of Jordan, Jean Claude Van Damme and the great football star, George Best.
I started Shoeshine UK in October 2000“originally at The London Hilton Metropole but quickly transferred to The London Hilton on Park Lane. I brought a style of shoe care that the UK had never seen before and have cared for many icon’s shoes”.
Using just our bare hands and the best products available regardless of cost we are revolutionising the industry and need people to understand the difference in what we do to others.
It requires very strong skills as you have a pretty unique approach: you use your own hands. How did you learn?
I only received one weeks training as to do what I now can achieve takes years of trial and error. I have perfected The Art of Shine and patina (colouring of leather with dyes) in effect never accepting that I can never improve and always striving for perfection.
I do all my work with my bare hands a skill not seen in Europe and achieve far superior results because of this.
Shoeshining is an amazing bespoke service: can we “book” you for special events?
Yes I do many private events my past CV includes Tommy Hilfiger, Esquire magazine, Browns fashion and Monsieur London. As you can imagine we are a very sought after service due to how unique we are.
What are your favourite products for shoeshining?
I only use the finest ingredients Saphir and Angelus products renowned as unbeatable in our profession. It begins by feeding the leather with three different creams a combination of Beeswax, mink oil from Saphir, Lord Sheraton leather balsam and Ultra Creme, then a leather massage, followed by applying a multitude of colours at each location of the shoe; this can darken and lighten at will to emphasize the slenderness of the foot.
Brushes to me have no effect. If you applied cream to your face would you use a brush? I like to penetrate the leather with my bare hands giving care and a deep shine at the same time”. Believe what you see not what you read, redefining a dying artform.
I know you have dozens of projects: when will we see your own range of products?
You are right my projects are endless. Establishing my patina service is paramount and trying to make people understand that not all shoeshiners are the same.
Regarding a product range this is just around the corner and has taken a long time due to getting it perfect.
What can we wish you?
Why use a service that gives you a result that you could get yourself at home when you could use a service that would change your perception of shoeshine forever? The public are not aware of the differences and this is why shoeshine is sadly at the lowest point it has ever been. Its time people saw what shoeshine really could be like”.
Steven D.R. Skippen in brief:
Years in profession -14 years
Favourite shoe company – Berluti, Santoni, Gaziano Girling, Giacopelli, Pierre Corthay, Stefanobi, Septieme Largeur, Edward Green, JM Weston, Cleverley, Marc Guyot, Carlos Santos, Aubercy, Emling and Loding
First job in profession – London City Airport in 2000
Favourite products-Saphir, Angelus, La Cordonnerie Anglaise and Lord Sheraton
Greatest inspirations – Dandy Shoecare, Landry Lacour and JM Le Gazel for patina and Stephen Reynolds for shoeshine.
Experience – London City Airport, Bloomberg, Lehman Brothers, KPMG, Harbour Exchange Tower, London Hilton Metropole, The London Hilton on Park Lane, Dunhill, Marks club, George club, The Office group, Whites Club and Goodwood festival.
There are fashion UFOs on this planet; that’s exactly the reaction I had when I received the brilliant T-Shirt series of BREAKS. Founded by Ryo Yamazaki in 2010, the brand grows between Tokyo and London. A twist of British modernity which matches with punk inspired materials. Not so surprising that BREAKS has an interesting collaboration with a frontman of The Horrors , Faris Badwan. The collection of T-Shirts is inspired by his universe. A melancholia slash dystopia slash new age materials that is very intriguing.