11 Norfolk and Suffolk fashion brands you need in your wardrobe
- Credit: Archant
These designers are putting East Anglia on the fashion map.
Bella Freud’s signature knitwear is worn by some of the world’s coolest and most stylish people. Her jumpers bearing slogans such as Je t’aime Jane, Ginsberg is God and the iconic 1970 have been seen on Alexa Chung, Kate Moss and Noel Fielding and they’re up there as an all time fashion classic alongside the Chanel 2.55 handbag. If you’re on a more modest budget (the jumpers start at around £285), her slogan candles start at £45. bellafreud.com
Whale of a Time Clothing
Ellie Wales, is founder and designer of contemporary casual wear brand Whale of a Time Clothing, which is based at West Acre, near Swaffham. Ellie began the label while studying design in sixth form. Combining a flair for fashion with an entrepreneurial spirit, Ellie’s first sweatshirt was inspired by a retro design. Designed in-house and manufactured in the UK, the brand is sold at shows across the country, is a favourite of many influencers and has frequently been worn on TV by Made in Chelsea cast members.
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Earlier this weekits AW20 Basics collection of hoodies, sweatshirts and fleece quarter zips.
Ellie says: “Whale of a Time Clothing’s mission is to create contemporary casual wear with a twist. Crafted from sustainable, eco-friendly fabrics, the brand’s collections are inspired by a coastal lifestyle and designed in-house here in Norfolk by me. Known for its strong sustainable values, Whale Of A Time’s collections have been designed for a simple yet sophisticated style in the brands signature bright and bold timeless colours.
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“The coronavirus crisis has sent shockwaves throughout the fashion industry and the impact of this has been felt by all, Whale of a Time proving to be no exception. We have, however, been able to overcome manufacturing delays and as such launch the Spring Summer and Autumn Winter collections just in time for the seasons. The success of our SS20 collections really shows within our growth over the period, including a 300% growth in May, 400% growth in June and 380% growth in July for online sales even without shows.
“I’m incredibly grateful to our loyal customers for their continued support during this difficult time and so pleased to be able to launch these new pieces, which I hope will bring a little colour and comfort to people at this time.”
Shop the full range online atwhaleofatimeclothing.com
Fairfax and Favor
Co-founded by Marcus Fairfax Fountaine and Felix Favor Parker, the growing shoes and accessories brand Fairfax and Favor is based at Narford Hall near Swaffham. They’ve built up a following at country shows and sporting events around the country and last year opened their first boutique, at Holt.
They say: “We pride ourselves in our ability to design versatile footwear and accessories that intertwine classic country style with a modern city aesthetic. Fairfax and Favor celebrates fun and adventure with our spirited take on British culture and heritage. Our customers are at the heart of our collections and we design with their needs in mind, appealing to both men and women, who love a good story just as they appreciate high-quality products that will last a lifetime!”
See their AW20 collection at fairfaxandfavor.com
One of a Kind Club
Carol Robinson runs Norwich-based jewellery brand One of a Kind Club, which is about to celebrate its first birthday.
“For me and so many other women, wearing jewellery is a bit like putting your make-up on and a pair of killer heels. It forms part of that image we want to show the world,” Carol said when she launched the brand.
“I create pieces in exciting shapes and colours with the aim of helping women express their own style and personality, so they can go about their lives with extra confidence. Or just to put on and feel special, especially if they’re having a bad day.”
Carol, a mother of two, swapped an all-consuming job in advertising and a 60-plus hour week to launch her brand. Jewellery making had long been Carol’s creative outlet away from work, fitting in courses around her job and following the family’s relocation to Norwich form London she decided to make the leap. Carol has recently launched a limited edition range of fruit print earrings, designed in collaboration with Norwich-based illustrator and print maker Jemma Skellett.
Carol says: “I will be celebrating my first birthday celebrating all the confident women I’ve met on my small business journey.”
See @oneofakindclub on Facebook or Instagram or go to oneofakindclub.com.
Hicks and Brown
Sisters Alice Leet-Cook and Rosie Turner set up accessories brand Hicks and Brown in 2014, with a focus on millinery: their Suffolk Fedora has been worn by the Duchess of Cambridge.
Noticing a gap in the market for modern country attire, they created garments for themselves and friends, the two of them working from the kitchen table. Now they have a team and operate from a farm building on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds – and their designs, which include Fedoras, Trilbys and Panamas, plus clutch and cross-body bags, are stocked by more than 80 retailers in the UK. They would usually also attend events all around the country.
They say: “We thrive on being truly original and inventive in the design process and incorporating the details that really make the difference. Our accessories create a lifestyle collection for town and country. Our hats are one of a kind, meticulously hand finished in our Suffolk HQ. It’s a real pleasure to have so many versatile styles available as it means we can cater for anyone and everyone. Representing those who want to incorporate both elegance and practicality within their outfit, we offer a true lifestyle collection of accessories, intended to be timeless and created to last a lifetime.”
To see their AW20 collection, which includes the new Brantham Fedora, go to hicksandbrown.com.
Old Town, Holt
The antidote to fast fashion, at Old Town at Holt, garments are made to order. As the name suggests, their range of utilitarian everyday pieces, which include Vauxhall and stovepipe trousers, jackets, dresses, skirts and waistcoats, take their inspiration from the past, but also have a contemporary feel. They use British fabrics wherever possible and items are individually cut, sewn and finished.
Jewellery maker Bonnie Doonan founded Studio Adorn in Norwich in 2017 after travelling the world and returning to her roots. She initially ran the mininalist jewellery brand from her kitchen table, and last year moved to a design studio in the heart of the city with a collective of female creatives and was joined by new team member Morgan. Designs are inspired by Bonnie’s travels and her background in interior architecture and each piece is handcrafted to order using 925 sterling silver. Bonnie also hosts jewellery making workshops.
Studio Adorn is available online at studioadornjewellery.com and stockists include the Sainsbury Centre, Elm and Flint in Norwich, the Barbican in London and Kettles Yard in Cambridge.
Brought up in Suffolk and now based in the Golden Triangle in Norwich, printmaker Bella Singleton has designed silk scarves for art galleries, including Tate Modern and the Sainsbury Centre – and earlier this year she branched out into ready to wear clothing, including shirts, shirt dresses and T-shirts in a range of botanical prints. In keeping with the times, she also designs facemasks too. Bella studied printed textiles at Leeds College of Art and then following graduation she got a job in London, but decided that she would prefer to work for herself. She launched her first scarves at the Top Drawer Trade show in London in 2015 and got a large order from Tate Modern.
Nature and colour have always been two of Bella’s biggest inspirations and her prints combine her love of florals with geometrics and unusual shapes and pops of bright colour and the styles of her clothing are based on the sort of versatile garments which she likes to wear herself.
She told us earlier this year: “For the shirt, I came up with a relaxed fit,” she says. “It was the sort of garment which I could see a woman wearing both to work and on holiday, with a fun and playful feel to it. And with the shirt dresses, again they can be worn in different ways – worn over jeans is a cute look or you can dress them up in the evening with a belt.”
See more of Bella’s work online at bellasingleton.com
Emily Mortimer Jewellery
Emily Mortimer Jewellery is based at Brightwell in Suffolk and is stocked by some of the biggest names in retail. Says Emily: “Emily Mortimer Jewellery is designed to be stylish and fun. Each collection has been created with the intention of adding a touch of sparkle to anyone’s life, with every piece having the ability to be worn for everyday and extraordinary occasions – they are designed to be timeless. As I go into my fifth year in business I’m able to look back on some real achievements, one of which is being stocked in some of the finest department stores in the UK, such as John Lewis, Fortnum amd Mason and Fenwick – it’s such a dream to have my jewellery available there as well as by appointment only at my studio in Brightwell.”
Based at Wighton, near Wells in Norfolk, Carrier Company was founded by gardener and environmentalist Tina Guillory in 1995, when she created what became her first product – the Classic Carrier, a square of jute fabric with a handle at each corner of the sort traditionally used by gardeners. With a range that has expanded to include workwear, Norfolk’s rural traditions are stitched into every seam. Garments, which include fishermen’s smocks, dungarees, jackets, shirts, capes, waistcoats and lambswool sweaters are designed to get better with age and last for years.
TROY was founded by Rosie van Cutsem and her sister Lucia Ruck Keene in London in 2015. They moved their HQ to Norfolk in 2016 and the Duchess of Cambridge has been spotted wearing their designs.
Earlier this year, Rosie told Heaven writer Gina Long how the label began.
“In 2013 Lucia and I found ourselves hopping between our busy mid-week careers in London and weekends in the fresh air of the countryside,” she said. “We have both always had an interest in fashion and design and realised there was a gap in the market for beautifully made clothes that look as good hailing a cab in the City as walking down a country lane. We wanted our designs to meet the needs of busy women and couldn’t understand why it was so hard to find waterproof coats that also look stylish.”
The pair spent a year developing their brand and created their initial designs in the evenings and at weekends. TROY specialises in coats and jackets, but they also design wardrobe staples including feminine shirting, knits, and stylish accessories.
“TROY designs are all about effortlessly adding a little more style and femininity to your wardrobe, without sacrificing the practical requirements of warmth, waterproofing and comfort. We are thrilled to now be selling our designs to busy, active women all over the world,” said Rosie. “Over recent years we have collaborated with leading British designers including Alex Eagle and Amanda Wakeley OBE, and this year we are scheduled to launch some beautiful knitwear with Victoria Stapleton at Brora. All of our designs are made in the UK, working with the best of British manufacturers across London, the Midlands and Scotland to create beautiful, timeless designs that are made to last.”
During September, 15 per cent of their sales is being donated to the Prince’s Trust’s Women Supporting Women programme, which aims to nurture, empower and inspire young women to build their own futures through employment, self-employment, education or training.
Their designs are available on their website, troylondon.com, and they offer a By Appointment service at their showroom in their headquarters, just south of Swaffham.
Who are your favourite Norfolk and Suffolk fashion designers? Email firstname.lastname@example.org