Teresa Collenette Discovers Fashion with Passion!

Posted by Caroline Swarbrick Marketing Events & Digital Co-ordinator for Oxfam trading

1st May 2012

Ever since Henrietta Ludgate opened her workshop there, Whiteleys, Bayswater, seems to have come to life and acquired a brand new buzz. I love to pass by there and see fabric strewn on tables and scissors in action! Imagine my excitement then to see that her workshop was hosting a sustainable sample sale...

When I went there to investigate, I not only found some wonderful clothes and accessories but also the designers themselves.  This was clearly going to be more than a shopping experience. How often does a shopper get to chat with the creators of the clothes and discover what inspires them!

I was immediately drawn to Lu Flux's patterns and prints.  Lu up-cycles vintage textiles creating colourful one-off pieces imbued with a playful nostalgia. I couldn't wait to try on the amazing dress made from vintage embroidered linen tablecloths.  Her toile de jouy print jacket featuring delicate drawings of herself and her boyfriend was both witty and whimsical. Patchwork featured prominently and I eventually succumbed and bought a stunning tulip shaped floral patchwork skirt.  I loved the pattern and the colours and the fact that she had used a towelling fabric in the patchwork adding texture and a note of quirkiness!

Whereas Lu's patchwork has a mathematical angle, Ada Zanditon's inspiration has a more scientific perspective.  Ada's clothes redefine luxury with their fabrics and structure but also reference nature and the environment. Ada uses her photography of elements of the natural world to create beautiful prints that reflect the environment.  Her waterfall dress was breathtaking to see.  The print, which visually mimics the ice-cold waters of the Antarctic is created from photos of penguin feathers and jellyfish, and the very structure of the dress with its front cascading fabric panel creates a waterfall effect. Ada is also fascinated by seahorses, which are the inspiration for another of her prints.  Ada will be doing a sponsored swim for the Seahorse Trust at the end of May!

I had been hoping to find one of Henrietta Ludgate's amazing quilted coats just my size in the sample sale but sadly that was not to be! However, it was a thrill to see one at close range, as well as her quilted skirt with its exaggerated A-line shape, satin dresses in jewel colours and her sculptural collars.  For Henrietta, structural design and minimalist form have architectural echoes, and I love that her clothes not only embody traditional skills, craft and luxury, but also have a really cool modern edge to them.

Accessories were represented at the sale in the form of bags designed by Sonya Kashmiri.  Her beautiful soft and colourful sculpted leather bags are made from chrome free vegetable- tanned leather.  I loved her Armadillo bags!

Looking around the workshop, it was so exciting to realise that sustainable fashion offers such a variety of options thanks to the diversity of the inspiration motivating these passionate designers.  I left Whiteleys inspired and with a beautiful unique skirt!

Blog post written by Caroline Swarbrick

Marketing Events & Digital Co-ordinator for Oxfam trading

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