Folking It

There are some brands that you take for granted because you know you can rely on them and they'll always be there for you through the good times and the bad.  When I first walked into Folk's store on Lamb's Conduit Street maybe six or seven years ago, that's how I felt about their then-solely menswear offering and their solid shoe range for both men and women.  Their clothes are quiet but absolutely not sterile.  They come and give you a gentle hug as you reach out and touch their knitwear, their lovely shirts or a well-formed pair of camel ankle boots.  There are also quirks that they've built up over the years thanks to their obsession with crafty elements.  In addition to caring about the fabrications and the quality of their clothes, they don't short change you on aesthetic treats for the eye – a detailing on the pockets, a tiny pair of people embroidered on a shirt (one of Folk's little emblems), the inside of a jacket being just as nice as the outside – all things that have contributed to a hardcore group of Folksters who appreciate Folk's blend of quirkiness and functionality.    

Folk have clocked in just over ten years of being in business and have six standalone stores under the belt with a ton of stockists but instead of making a loud shout about that achievement, they've plodded on and recently launched their womenswear for A/W 12-3 in the quiet and assured way that I'd expect them to do.  Cathal McAteer, founder of Folk together with designer Folk designer Elbe Lealman always knew that womenswear was on the cards but saw no reason to rush it or lazily rehash their menswear styles in womenswear sizing.  Lealman originally came from a womenswear background but drew influences from the androgynous style of Japanese/Antwerp designers.  That led her to designing the menswear for Folk and now she gets to return to her original field of interest.  "It's hard to describe what we do but it's very instinctive to us and so it's been quite easy to apply that to womenswear." explained Lealman when I met her at the a little Folk shindig that myself and Steve hosted on Tuesday night at the Shepherd Market store.  

For A/W 12, we get a taster for Folk womenswear that incorporates some elements of the menswear but with a freer hand when it comes to  pieces such as the painted silk dress that I'm wearing below  "The first collection was piece together the masculinity of the menswear and adding in what I felt was a good capsule collection for women that still want to look feminine but not ridiculous.  It's a balance between aesthetics and things looking beautiful and the practical element."  Lealman says the word "practical" almost with an apologetic tone.  I'm not sure it's necessary because there is real merit and skill in creating clothes that people fall back on time and time again.  The very fruition of the womenswear came about partly because there was intense customer demand for it.  It will be interesting to see if the women who buy Folk shoes on a regular basis will also buy into the womenswear.  

For a first time Folkster like myself who has always admired the ethos and infrastructure of the menswear business, leaping about in the new A/W 12-3 collection has been a real joy of discovering that I do indeed have a real need for a brownish tweed coat with huuuuuge pockets that can fit two paperbacks in each.  Or a chambray shirt that has a maroon diamond on the elbows (Folk have a real addiction to primary colours and primary shapes, which lends a pleasingly childish undertone to their pieces).  Pieces like this flighty silk dress with exaggerated batwing sleeves, printed with one of Lealman's paintings or a red dress with wooden toggles are Folk's more overtly feminine pieces that will shape up as an exciting prospect for future collections.  I've already spied lovely Indian-influenced embroidery and bright pink fuschia pink in the new S/S 13 collection.  



Folk dress worn with Fleet Ilya visor, Rachel Antonoff x G.H. Bass shoes



Folk red dress worn with Peter Pilotto cardigan underneath, Jaeger bag, Salvatore Ferragamo Vara pumps






Folk tweed coat and polka dot top, Pleats Please trousers, Underground creepers

Despite Folk's foray into womenswear, I still couldn't help stealing a few things from Steve's Folk menswear pile.  For A/W 12 menswear, pieces like the reversible knitted sleeved bombers, fleecy trousers and no-brainer sweatshirts and tees are ripe for picking.  It's easy to see how the two collections are playing off against each other too.  "We made a conscious decision that we just didn't want to be pigeon holed in to doing a women's fit of the menswear.  They've got to appreciate each other.  It's got to stay focused in the same direction."    


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Folk womenswear chambray shirt and trousers, Folk menswear sweatshirt worn with Christopher Kane jewelled sandals



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Folk menswear bomber, Folk womenswear cardigan and white shirt worn with Balenciaga skirt and Tommy Hilfiger x G.H. Bass loafers

25 Replies to “Folking It”

  1. Such a very unique look.
    The store, by your description, seems almost like a private retreat.
    A very nice find for you and that they have grown over the years is great~

  2. Sorry I couldn’t be there at the launch, er I was preoccupied with dinner.
    I adore the first Folk dress which reminds me of the Gotye’s music video ft. Kimbra ”Somebody I Used To Know” ;P

  3. folk is a brand i really look up to and aspire to wear, their stuff is worth saving for. the details are top notch, nice to see you both getting involved with them

  4. Apologies – I got bitten quite badly by mosquitos/midges this summer…
    they’re not really things that I can cover up with make-up without them looking blotchy.
    Actually, the more that I think about it, the more ridiculous I think it is that I’m somehow expected to cover them up with shit make-up that would make my legs look worse than they do anyway…
    I therefore take back my apology. My legs aren’t perfect. They’re never going to be. Your eyes will just have to live with them…

  5. Not one to comment on blogs (not entirely sure why…i guess i just like to quietly sit and look at the pretty pictures) but I thoroughly enjoyed this photo shoot and now pretty much want every single outfit! The “bothered fashionista” above is obviously not as much of a fashionista as they thought they were-mosquito chic is very much in, i’ve accesorised mine with sunburn!
    Happy Sunday!

  6. I love the first dress, the colours and pattern are so beautiful and simple. What I love the most though, is the knitwear. You were completely right to steal some of the menswear, it’s too beautiful to pass up. That huge grey coat is fabulous, it reminds me of an old fashioned mens overcoat. I love the colours on some of the other knitwear, and the kilt type skirt.

  7. A really nice post about one of my favourite labels. I’m in my 2nd of year with my knitwear label and it’s really inspiring to see brands that are quietly successful and very humble about their achievements. It’s nice to see that fashion isn’t all just about brash pr all the time. They really seem to care about what their customer is looking for in their clothes. I love this brand and they’re such an inspiration to me in their aesthetics and business ethos. The shop on LC St is also one of the calmest loveliest shops I’ve ever been into, the staff were friendly and relaxed and I’m definitely going to be saving up for a piece from the womens AW. Folk yeah!

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