Bargain hunting season is in full swing with summer sales beginning and sample sales aplenty in London. Over the weekend, I saw a queue of Meadham Kirchhoff fangirls queuing ardently outside their studio at their one-in-one-out sample sale, and hordes of people kneeling at plastic boxes, rummaging through £5 House of Holland bargains. It’s a world away from the rarified type of shopping of the well-off, who can afford everything full price and buy collections at the beginning of the season. Still it strikes me that in the pyramid of consumers, there’s a middling majority of thrifty fashion lovers, who know their stuff and don’t seem to have enough physical outlets in London to engage with fashion at a hand-t0-product level, especially when it comes to young designers. For one, walking into Matches or Browns when you’re less than flash with the cash can be a depressing prospect.
For another, the number of designers in London far outnumbers physical stores, hundreds,maybe even thousands of times over. Sonia Williams and Tiffany Alwis recognises there’s strength in numbers though. That’s how they started Fashion Sunday, a once a month gathering of designers under one roof at the Oval Space in Hackney. I visited their fourth and largest Fashion Sunday yet today and found a genuinely interesting selection of designers, representing a diverse cross section of designers that are active in the city today. Beyond the established set that show at London Fashion Week, there’s of course a whole host of fledgling designers in ready to wear, footwear accessories and jewellery. They might just be in their very beginnings with maybe less than two years under their belts when securing stockists is still a challenge.
Here at Fashion Sunday, they get to sell directly to people at a discounted price, as well as offering past season samples. Housed in a space that can also serve up Bajan treats and cocktails, it’s a hub where consumer and designer can meet. Most have online e-commerce stores of their own but there’s nothing like feeling and touching the physical object, and directing questions to the designers. Fashion Sunday’s selection changes every time and there are plans to do a menswear specific edition as well as one mega bargainous one centred around the December sample sale season. It’s an upgrade from the unedited fashion markets down at Spitalfields/Brick Lane and certainly gives the opportunity for young designers to flex their selling skills.
At this particular edition Fashion Sunday, I was excited to see young Luke Brooks, an impressive CSM MA grad from 2012, creating product to sell for the first time – an endearing line of “tree-shirts” – a joint project of oversized dyed- tees, hand painted by Brooks and his dad. The colours are enticing and the paint is generously applied and cracked in the wash. I bought two.
Speaking of the drawn devil, I had just talked up Clio Peppiatt and here she was at Fashion Sunday, selling her Grand Theft Auto themed t-shirts, festooned with pina colada balloons and all things tropical.
Another familiar face was Emma J. Shipley‘s fine pencil animalia and floral prints put to scarves.
I’ve been meaning to talk up Kult Domini as I’ve interviewed designer Kate Deeley and am a fan of her resolutely chunky-heeled, squarely rounded-off toed shoes, that are supremely well-crafted. This was a prime opportunity to snap up a unique take on the sensible shoe at a lower price.
Fashion Sunday gave me a chance to catch up with the goings-on’s of labels I hadn’t heard from in a why. For instance I found out that ethereal printists Draw in Light are launching an interiors range to compliment their line of printed casualwear.
I got to pay compliments directly to designer Diana Auria‘s sustainable swimwear, anchored by Margot Bowman’s awesome prints. Nabbed a bargain of a swimsuit from Auria’s first season to take with me to LA in July. You can shop for them online on Art Wednesday.
It was an opportunity to connect the computer screen with real life interaction as I’d seen Larissa Hadjio‘s bags only on websites and now I got to see her crustacean clutches in person.
Fashion Sunday also exposed me to some newbies. I might be getting my first bike to aid getting around N15/16 so I’ll be checking out Michaux’s British-made saddle bags, handlebar tape and rucksacks with reflective strips subtly worked in.
Fell a little bit in love with Yolke‘s silk separates for slubbing around the house in or wearing out.
One of the founders of Fashion Sunday, Tiffany is also a designer herself and she was selling her first core collection of variations on the bomber jacket from her label Hellespont.
I loved the textures of Claire Yirka Davis’ new label Hanger Inc. Her SS 14 collection features hand painted thin latex, rendering this often difficult fabric into a wearable silky plastic.
Also since I’m a jewellery dunce, it’s good to get some new names on my radar. Jessie Harris’s homeware inspired forms, Charlotte Valkeniers’ “square peg in a round hole” jewellery, Henriette Lofstrom’s sharp geometric shapes and newcomer Chalk’s laser cut wood and acrylic pieces created by two London architects.