(The legendary London, part 2) A fashion passion lesson By Louise Baxter (Nicholson and Walcot)

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1) Hi Lou, Tailors and handmade clothes and fashion and design seem a very British phenomenon. I don’t think you can find something like that in France, how do you explain it?

I Guess it's all in the heritage of our country really. Tailoring originally started with the making of uniforms for the army over the years, and then that developed into 'social' clothing, and the rich soon had suits/overcoats made for them. Then the ordinary 'man in the street' would also have his suits made for him. The 'bespoke' trade is one of a luxury item really, so that has declined to a certain extent, but thankfully there are enough individuals still around to demand that 'something different' . We are a very creative nation here in the UK, be it music, film, books, or fashion and long may it continue.

2) What’s your personal background? Passion? School? Design school?

It would Passion, No real formal training, learnt the skills from my Mum and older sisters. It's just a love of making

3) You have some very famous customers, Kevin Rowland, Paul Weller, do you feel a bit nervous when they order a scarf or something?

Yes, a little bit, because you want to do a good job, as you know potentially the item will be seen by thousands of people. Once you get the working relationship going with Paul and Kevin etc, it's fine. You realise that they simply love clothes

4) Do they say exactly what they want (colours, shapes, material) or do they let you do what you want? Does Mr Weller want something very special? Does he give you a kind of advice for his own order?

Paul in particular is really fussy about what he wears, so he has plenty of ideas on the next thing he orders. He is very talented artist himself, his drawings of his designs are very , very good. I know he has plenty of ideas for a clothing range, which we will see soon I think.

5) The scarf is a Mod must have. Do you have many mods as customers? Are you into the mod things?

The majority of my customers would be classed as Mods. I was into it more when I was younger, but my old man ( husband ) and his friends are steeped in it, so I'm surrounded by the influences on a daily basis and they me their feedback.

6) When and why did you decide to become a webstore? It’s fantastic when you’re not English. There’s really only a very few store in France which sell that kind of products.

I had to have the site created simply because of demand, more and more people were asking about my products, so I knew it was time to let them see the full range. My webmaster, Ben, did a fantastic job

7) There’s a true enthusiasm in French Fashion around the UK symbols (flag, London tube imagery, etc.). Any idea of the reason why it suddenly explodes? Best fashion could only come from England Maybe!

It's strange that, because I have noticed that also on my travels around Italy as well. You and those guys love the imagery. I guess it's the influence of the old films, and music from the 60s to the present day.

I love these symbols too and fall in love with London fabric prints all the time. The fabric is usually cotton and I make these into bags which are also on my site.

8) You also work different material, silk, tweed, etc and some recycled. How did you get that idea? Is it to vintage?

I use a mixture of fabrics as you have noticed. I started with recycled cloth due to costs really, and then gradually bought better quality as I earnt more money. I really like mixing it all up

9) How do you explain than English haircut and clothes are so typical. I like to think about myself as a mod, but I really can’t be dressed everyday like that here!

It takes a lot of effort, time and money to 'wear' that look every day. It goes back to passion and wanting to look and be different from the masses, to stand out from the crowd. As you get a little older, it gets harder to be like that unless you are a millionaire pop star!

1 10) You have your own song on Connett’s first LP, Nice gift don’t you think? Mark is a lucky man!

Ah the song 'Lou'. That was lovely from Darron, Glen and the boys of Connett. They originally wrote it as a present for my 40th birthday, but everyone loved it so much, that the band decided to do it on record and on stage. Lovely boys, the Connett lads, so pleased that they have been signed to 208 Records, well deserved and you're right, Mark is very lucky!

111) Do you want to have a real shop in the future or do you want to stay the small handmade factory?

I think I will stay relatively small, this is a specialised bespoke range I'm making, so i doubt it will ever really get too big. I already sell my stock in shops in the UK, at Threadneedleman Tailors in London, for Ace Face Clothing in Surrey and Regent Tailoring in Salisbury, so I'm kept pretty busy with that and my own customers

112) How much time do you need to create a scarf?

It depends on the fabric really, but if I started and finished one without stopping, it would take me 8-10 hours

113) Music and fashion has always been completely connected in the UK’s culture. You also HAVE TO HAVE the look. 60’s heritage? I have absorbed the 60s heritage into my scarves and other products that is for sure, The 60s enthusiasts don't really want to live in the world that we have now, of every high street looking the same with all the shops the same, they want little lost gems of places, that only a few know about, so I'm part of that.

114) Who is the best dressed musician according to your own tastes?

I would have to say Paul Weller. he is has got it right most of the time over the past 30 odd years. Amazing really, he simply has very good taste.

Be cool with your... Old man, uncles, sons, ladies...Buy them something unique!


1 comment:

Ian S said...

Great interview.Really must invest in a scarf.