I’ve been obsessed with Dr Martens since I can remember, their iconic design appeals to multiple generations the world over and I always knew that if there was ever a factory I could visit in the UK, it would be theirs. This all started from the competition I posted on here a month ago, where my lucky winner Lucie won £500 worth of Dr Martens! Unfortunately she wan’t available to come up to Northampton with us on the day (we missed you!) but bloggers and winners made up our group to visit the place where the iconic boot was born.
I think the most fascinating part for me was to see the leather gradually turning into a 3D object as we went around the floor. The factory was divided into two halfs, one with rows of sewings machines to stitch the multiple leathers together, and the other with machines for buffing, melting, sticking, and moulding. The smell of leather and whirring machinery was thick in the air a we walked around the floor, being guided through each step of the making process. It was all just totally ingenious and awe inspiring for each individual machine to have it’s own job – my favourite was the flame blade; kept at a constant 700 degrees centigrade to melt the soles firmly onto the bottom of the shoes. Also if you can notice in the pictures, every employee at the factory has to wear a pair of brand new shoes or boots for a few weeks, to test their durability! Genius multi tasking! I had no idea that so much work went into one pair of boots and I think I’ll be looking at my DM collection a little differently in the future. I’d recommend checking out the Art of Industrial Manufacture video to see the factory in motion!
A huge thank you to Amy from Dr Martens for organising the trip!
It’s so exciting for me to poke around a busy factory of such an established brand as Tusting; marvelling at all the different machines and jobs to complete one bag, making mental notes of the machine parts that I should be ordering for my studio; it all reassures me that I’m heading in the right direction for my own brand and excitingly, that I’ll have a factory of my own to poke around in one day. Don’t you love that each workspace had it’s own cheesy calendar? Anyway, getting a little off the point, Tusting is the second largest manufacturer in the UK, based in the small town of Bedfordshire, the workers even walk to work from the nearby village! They started their company by importing leather from india in the 1870′s and selling shoe soles to companies like Church’s -which they still do today; now they have been manufacturing bags for over 130 years, giving them a timeless quality and heritage.
They’re even involved with the young British design scene, helping Richard Nicoll design his bags for AW12, with Vodafone. I went to the breakfast launch just under a year ago to hear them talking about ‘an exciting new accessory’ to be debuted on the runway, so it was fun to see it come around full swing. The bags on the runway were all white and have a battery pack in the botton that can charge various devices, a pretty nifty idea in theory.
After we’d seen the factory, we went for lunch in the village pub where Tusting brought along some bags and leathers and we got to choose our own! I’m excited to show you the finished result when it arrives. We also got to discuss manufacturing in the UK and debate why it’s obviously so important for brands to start bringing their factories back. Ella told me that Burberry were planning on returning their factories to England, which would be amazing! Tusting’s largest export is Japan, where they go crazy for traditional Western products therefore they must be made in England; I would think this must fall on Burberry as well; when you sell your brand as heritage I think you subconsciously expect these products to be made in the original country, it’s time we all realised how much this isn’t happening and start bringing our brands back home.
Last weekend Bengt invited me along to be a fly on the wall during the SS12 and AW12 shoot. There were so many things to feast my eyes upon, I’m always keen to see what goes on on the other side and it was fun watching the Bengt girls style the looks together, whilst Lou Lou strutted back and forth in the insane platform Finsk shoes!
I’m so excited to announce that key pieces from my SS12 collection are available to buy on Bengt as of today, along with the other beautiful accessories you see accompanying the collection! The AW12 pieces you see snippets of will be available from September. I can’t wait to see you guys rocking the pieces! I’ll have to finally make some for myself too – crazy that I haven’t done that yet.
Lots of behind the scenes phone pics from the day we shot my AW12 film at Asylum in East London. The building we were shooting in was an old chapel, unchanged since it was bombed in WW2. I was so excited not just because of the location but because it was really the first time I was seeing the collection on somebody, seeing how the pieces worked as outfits and seeing them come alive.
Huge massive kudos to Layla Young for not complaining once even when being told to walk around barefoot in just tights and a sheer dress, when it was snowing outside! It was so cold that day, so we made a refuge shelter in the bathroom with portable heaters and fur coats, it got quite toasty! It was also a pleasure to work with Mark from Polymath films again, as he also produced the SS12 film and makes any shoot fun and exciting.
If you haven’t seen the AW12 film yet, then here goes.
I couple of months ago I was invited to the Arcadia headquarters to meet the winner of the Dorothy Perkins print design award, Charis Younger. Charis designed a beautiful art deco feather print in different sizes and colours to accompany her high summer collection, for the Dorothy Perkins consumer. I always think it’s amazing for any brand to put out competitions giving students a chance to gain real experience and contacts in the industry. Charis is obviously very talented and I had so much fun chatting away with her and Rachel from DP. My favourite piece from the collection is the jumper of course, feels a bit Balenciaga to me. Thank you both for having me!
Not just treats in the form of food at the My Wardrobe press day but lots of treats to be available to buy online very soon too. I’ve personally got my eye on the Theyskins Theory bag pictured last, which actually dropped a few days ago but sold out in the same day! Damn. All the accessories were pretty gorge, Camilla Skovgaard and Philip Lim, mmmm. I don’t know if it was just the cold either, but I seemed to have been photographing a lot of cosy looking jumpers by Acne and Burberry too. Which item is your favourite?
A couple of weeks ago I attended the MyDaily presents an evening with Mary Katranzou; a sit down chat between Libby Banks and Mary Katranzou that we could all sit and listen in on. The evening was so fun, we learnt about her origins as a interior designer in New York, that led her to London to study fashion at CSM and that menswear is indeed in the pipeline – but not before she plans on showing pre fall and resort collections starting next year! Mary has a great sense of humour and it was a pleasure sharing the evening with her and Libby!