>> Here’s one accessory that I’ve not had the opportunity to touch upon in all of Style Bubble’s ten year history. The fan. There are many an instance where it’s required but so often, forgotten as a handbag essential. In the un-airconditioned environment of London, primarily on the tube for instance. Or at fashion show venues in the hotter months of July and September where guests end up collectively fanning themselves furiously with folded up press releases. Or lately in any crowded situation because of my pregnancy. And yet, despite the practicalities of a fan, the very act of fanning oneself especially with a traditional fan shape can recall frothy characters in period dramas. Therefore are they FANciful or functional? It’s a bit of both according to fashion PR Daisy Hoppen, who has paired up with Danish textile designer Amanda Borberg to create Fern Fans. “I have always loved fans and have bought them whenever I have been on holiday – you can get ones with the most amazing prints and also they are excellent if you are constantly fidgeting like me” explains Hoppen. “I felt for sometime there was a real gap in the market – finding fans that didn’t feel gimmicky but elegant, well priced and chic. The historical history of them has also been really important- it’s a personal area of interest and there are few fashion items today that have existed for as long as the simple fan.”
And so Fern’s first collection doesn’t stray too far from tradition. In that recognisable pleated concertina construction made out of traditional birch wood and textured cotton, Borberg and Hoppen found a classic framework that suited Fern’s subtly contemporary designs. “As a designer I find it interesting to work with a very set frame – a fan is a fan, and even though they come in many shapes and sizes, they all have the same purpose,” says Borberg. “It’s the color, print and material that can make a fan unique. So we chose to work with those factors and go with the classic fan construction, which I find to be both beautiful and genius as it folds. I hope that everyone can find a fan from our collection that feels appealing to them. It should be a joyful, but elegant accessory – its not a costume, but an everyday friend.”
Whether it’s in a beautifully dyed gradient, solid coloured cotton or adorned with hand painted florals, Fern pays homage to both the perceived tradition and the enduring practicality of a fan. Fern’s first look book is accompanied by a set “fan language” – to hold it opened, covering the mouth denotes one’s singleton status, to hold the fan with the right hand in front of the face is to invite onlookers to follow them. And of course, to physically throw the fan is a petulant declaration of hate. Whimsical historics aside, Hoppen also acknowledges simple pleasures of carrying a fan such as the sound it makes when they snap shut. Or when you thrust it open in dramatic fashion. Whatever your fanning etiquette, there’s no doubt that with Fern, Borberg and Hoppen are fulfilling a niche. Their first collection will be in-stores from spring 2017 onwards in time for the summer months.