As Fair Fashion Month came to an end, life at the Atelier got quite busy. For my last day of Fair Fashion Month I visited Winchester School of Art to discuss sustainable fashion with the Ethical Hedonist in front of their fashion students, then dashed over to St Pancras Renaissance to run the second Life Drawing and Fashion Illustration Masterclass.
Day thirty I wore my trusty Beyond Skin brogues, a vintage dress coat over my black organic cotton skirt. The Houndstooth Coat from the Atelier’s couture collection with a Bourgeois Boheme belt and Tammam peace silk scarf. Holding my Matt & Nat hand bag wth a Fab India clutch tucked inside. Of course, the final picture was taken with the ultimate eco accessory – the Fairphone 2.
I absolutely loved showing off my ethical wardrobe. I adore creating different looks from the same staple pieces (using accessories to update a simple dress is very Coco Chanel), and I do appreciate I have an advantage – having the whole Atelier Tammam hire collection at my disposal! All these Tammam pieces are available to hire, we’ll have the full wardrobe available to view on line soon, in the meantime send Kim an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to borrow anything.
With the end of Fair Fashion Month came the judging for A Sustainable World 2016 – our annual Art competition which attracts applicants from across the world. I was honoured to be joined on the judging panel by my current collaborator from across the pond, renowned vegan artist Dana Ellyn, and London’s King of conceptual art Duggie Fields. Many thanks to both of them.
The winning entry came from eco artist Celia Gregory, of the Marine Foundation – she creates underwater art installations that turn into sustainable habitats for marine life and eco tourist attractions for coastal communities. This image will be showcased in Washington DC and Los Angeles next month.
Apart from being a beautiful image with a wonderful sustainable story, we also loved that the theme goes so well with the collaboration Dana and I are working on – our art / fashion collection inspired by bycatch and the fishing industry. Entitled Bycatch By Hand we’ll be showing at the P street Gallerie in Washington DC on 1st and 2nd April and at Moda360 in Los Angeles on 4th and 5th April.
A Sustainable World Art competition is over for another year, many thanks for all the applications, huge congratulations to our shortlisted entrants, especially Ronan McGeough and Philp McCulloch-Downs our 2nd and 3rd place finalists.
Also a tremendous thank you to Clearspring who generously contributed to the prizes for the winners.
Yours in (sustainable) art,
I have fallen in love with the Fairphone and it’s fabulous pictures of us (and my FairFash outfits). As I prepare for our trip to Washington DC and Los Angeles in a couple of weeks, this week I’ve mostly been working on the collaborative project with renowned vegan artist, Dana Ellyn. We will be showcasing at P street Gallerie in Washington DC and at the Moda360 event in LA. We are working on 3 pieces together, 2 gowns stitched at the atelier and one painting by Dana – I’m waiting for it to arrive so I can start embellishing it. Today I sent off one of the gowns for Dana to start painting on. God speed FedEx…
There’s a lot of hard work going on but I did manage to escape to attend the Sustainable City Awards. Day twenty-three, and a glamorous ensemble of Atelier Tammam peace silk and hand embroidered feather appliqué bias cut dress, with a hand printed peace silk wrap. Vintage tights (found in a charity shop in Dorset) and my bespoke vegan Hetty Rose Sandals. The powder room at Mansion House is quite something!
Day twenty-four back at the Atelier to get on with some work, wearing one of my favourite dresses by an immensely talented ethical designer who is no longer in business… the curse of the indies – but her talent lives on in these fabulous dresses. Very old tights (lots of darning in the toes keeping them going for years and years) and my Beyond Skin brogues. That rug is also fair trade – made for me by a co-operative in Eastern India using peace silk yarns.
Having an art moment at the weekend, wearing an organic cotton People Tree top (made at one of the factories I also work with – I love how transparent People Tree are about production) and Tammam scarf on day twenty-five.
Day twenty-six was Mother’s Day so I put Tammini in her own bespoke organic, fair trade cotton LBD, and wore mine too.
We are also thinking about wedding season and the new bridal collection which we are shooting next week. Here I am on Day twenty-seven with some couture bridal gowns, wearing old Levis, a Tammam scarf, Nancy Dee top and Miksani cardigan.
The penultimate day of FairFashMonth!! Day twenty-nine I’m so eager for spring I’ve donned my NAE vegan sandals and a little jacket made for one of the early collections for Tam & Rob – my first label (which was also ethical). Worn with the Levis and a Tammam peace silk scarf. You can just see, in the cabinet, some of the gorgeous new jewellery we’ve got in from Michelle Krausz who creates exquisite bridal accessories from vintage finds.
Yours in Fairphone appreciation
Fashion week sped past like a sartorial whirlwind, and now we are preparing for an even more exciting event; Our upcoming trip to Washington DC and Los Angeles to collaborate and exhibit with renowned vegan artist, Dana Ellyn and showcase at the Moda360 event. With that, creating a couture wardrobe for Sian Berry, green candidate for London Mayor, a plethora of bridal orders and an ever increasing order book I’ve been buried under a pile of patterns, fabrics, scissors and fastenings. Pretty much tied to my cutting table…however I have managed to grab the Fairphone every day to take a snap of my eco outfit.
Day sixteen back in an LBD (Little Bespoke Dress – available from the Atelier now and launching to the masses soon) in organic fair trade cotton – We made an LBD for Jenny Agutter last year. Worn here with Beyond Skin Brogues and a Wunderwerk cardigan.
Day seventeen time for a treat at one of my favourite (vegetarian) eateries, Mildreds, who have opened a branch in Kings Cross, just five minutes away from the Atelier. (If you can’t find me at lunch time, you know where I’ll be). A distinct lack of mirrors meant I had to take this with the front camera on the Fairphone. Wearing a wonderful fair trade hand knitted jumper dress by, the no longer running label, Miksani and a Tammam Scarf. Still grateful to the fabulous Lamphane at Michael Van Clarke for my perfect hair cut.
A quick visit to the Atelier (on a Sunday!) during day nineteen, feeling inspired by the art deco wardrobe stuffed full of bridal gowns (including my vintage collection) and wearing retro Tammam peace silk trousers and organic cotton top, and a cardigan made of spun nettle and hemp yarns sourced from a family yarn supplier in Nepal – I remember taking sacks of these yarns through the streets of Kathmandu on a cycle rikshaw about 10 years ago, to be knitted by a wonderful fair trade company I work with there – I called this the Mokey cardigan because it reminded me of the character from Fraggle Rock – ever the artist, I aim to inspire! The necklace was a gift, when I was working at a bespoke menswear tailor in Rome, far too long ago to remember, and the broach is vintage.
It’s definitely hurtling towards wedding season so on day twenty here I am amongst some of our current samples. It was a business meeting day so I wore my Nancy Dee purple jersey dress.
Day twenty-one, trying on part of the collaboration outfit for the USA. This organic fair trade cotton skirt is going to be sent off to Dana soon for her to paint, while I’m eagerly awaiting a beautiful painting of hers to embellish. The corset made from British tulle, will create the underpinnings for another part of the collaboration. I am thoroughly enjoying working with Dana and loving that technology is enabling us to work in this way, maybe I’m not such a technophobe after all – has the Fairphone changed me?!
Because I like to keep busy, I agreed, on day twenty-two, to teach a life drawing and fashion illustration class at the awesome St Pancras Renaissance Hotel as the inaugural Masterclass for their new series of events. It was really fun with a great crowd and fabulous life model. There are three more complimentary classes in March – book tickets to secure a place or join us back at the Atelier when Fashion & Life Drawing classes start again in April. Wearing a Nancy Dee dress, with Bourgeois Boheme boots and Tammam scarf and cardigan. My marvellous mannequin is adorned in Tammam haute couture.
Yours in fair fashion – for the busy couturier,
I’ve been donning nothing but my best fair fashion frocks for a week now. As we approach London Fashion Week here is a round up of week one of my #FairFashMonth challenge. All images captured on the Fairphone 2 #WeAreFairphone.
Day two in a Tammam organic fair trade cotton LBD, made for me in the Bloomsbury studio, accessorised with a Nancy Dee top made out of Bemberg Modal fabric, vintage belt and Bourgeois Boheme vegan boots.
Day three dashing around London, I made a quick stop in the toilettes at the Rosewood Hotel in Holbon to take a sneaky self portrait… Wearing hand tailored jacket from the Tammam Atelier in hand loomed peace silk Houndstooth cloth, the interlinings are vegan. A Tammam fair trade and organic cotton skirt complete the look. The top is also fair trade and organic by ethical basics favourite People Tree. Shoes are from vegan footwear label Beyond Skin – I think I got these in a sample sale about 5 years ago – still going strong.
Day four the start of a weekend away, no mirrors to use so just pictured the old pins – still with the Fairphone 2 though (which I am more and more in love with each day). The Bourgeois Boheme boots again, Nancy Dee skirt – bought at our last curated Sale and my gorgeous Matt & Nat vegan travel bag, also bought at an Atelier Tammam sale a few seasons ago.
Day five who doesn’t love a pub with stuffed animal heads?! Well me actually… however the fireplace was wonderful on a cold day – as was my favourite Jumper from Miksani – one of those brilliant indie labels lost (RIP). Still their creations live on – hand knitted by fair trade co-operatives. Coat by Brit designer Cecilia Hammarborg, bag is another vegan Matt & Nat.
Day six proving casual can be conscious! The trousers are Levis I bought about 15 years ago… I recently dug them out and made a few adjustments so they fit my older, wiser, body shape. That’s slow fashion for you. A cardigan by eco brand Wunderwerk found at a sample sale in the east end a few months ago. The scarf is by a beautiful Indian eco brand I had the pleasure to meet on my last trip to Delhi – Eka work with artisans utilising traditional hand loom techniques to create these beautiful cotton scarves.
Day seven was our politics day – we dressed Sian Berry the Green candidate for London Mayor for the hustings at RIBA. She looked fabulous so I had to look the part too. The tailored jacket again, worn with a Bourgeois Boheme belt. A vintage shirt bought from Cha Cha Cha vintage a few years ago and Atelier Tammam organic fair trade cotton skirt with our signature heart shape detail. Beyond Skin boots which I bought about seven years ago and still look like new (despite a lot of wear and three or four trips to the cobbler to sort out the heels).
Day eight we launched A Sustainable World 2016 Art competition – the annual event which searches for the best eco artists out there. So this picture is taken next to our beautiful peacock, who graces the walls of our showroom and was designed by the winner of last year’s competition K.Birdy. Wearing a Tammam skirt from one of our ready to wear collections (about 2008 I think), Nancy Dee top and Bibico Cardigan. Bibico works with some of the producers we work with in Nepal, it’s so good to know there is an eco indie label out there still going strong after so many years – not many make it. Shoes are another pair by Beyond Skin.
Yours in Fair Fashion, and anticipation for LFW
Darlings! It’s all very well my waxing lyrical about wearing fair… But how does one do it and still look stylish, glamorous and fabulous (and not break the bank…)?
This fashion season I’m going to show you how. I shall be capturing a self portrait of myself every day for the whole of fashion month and posting pictures, links and stories about the garments I wear.
All pictures are beautifully snapped on THE ultimate eco accessory… A Fairphone 2.
Fashion season has kicked off in New York… To celebrate our transatlantic friends and inaugurate my month of wearing it well I’ve dug out an old favourite, the Tammam couture houndstooth coat, a favourite outer layer to some of our favourite clients.
This sample (size 8-10) is available to hire from the Atelier, so you can wear it even if you don’t have an haute couture budget. The coat was crafted in the atelier using hand woven peace silk houndstooth cloth and British lace. The interlinings, attached in the traditional method are vegan alternatives. I love wearing this coat in different ways, today I’ve hidden the lace and taken out the front panel to be a vision in black and white. Don’t you think it looks fabulous with my best Beyond Skin brogues and hand painted (by artist, Mikey Georgeson) scarf from the Moth in the Flame collection?! Underneath I have some simple organic fair trade cotton sateen trousers and my absolute essential Nancy Dee top, made from reclaimed British fabrics, made in England. Plus, if you must know, I’ve got on Pants to Poverty undies. Well we have to be authentic, don’t we. No you don’t get to see them… well maybe if you ask nicely.
Oh and the amazing hair chop is by Lamphane at Michael Van Clarke. Hands off, he’s mine…well if you must you can make an appointment, but don’t hog him.
I am extrememly in love with the Fairphone… A company with ethics at it’s heart (don’t we know some in the fashion world like that?) With their own Fairtrade gold supply chain in Peru, for circuit board elements in the phone.
I love the transparent case, to match the transparent supply chain – but still in black sweety, becuase black goes with everything. Stylish, ethical and functional – my three favourite things!
Yours in Fair Trade
The fast fashion high street can F off.
Here is my guide to getting all the clothes you need, with what ever budget you have and not screwing over the planet and people (all be it ones you don’t have to see or think about) in the process.
Save up and buy something you really really want and love, and only if you actually need it
This is the most important thing to remember when buying clothes, if you don’t love it, need it and want it, why buy it?
Buying expensive things not only makes you feel great, it also makes you value it so much more, you’re more likely to mend it if it breaks, wash it properly, and be proud when you have it on. My customers buy made to measure couture from us, but there are lots of other fabulous ethical ready to wear options if you’re not quite at bespoke in the fashion stakes.
Holly Golightly only needed one iconic LBD, so do you.
The key to buying fewer things is making them go further. Take a leaf out of Coco Chanel’s book and accessorise everything. It’s amazing how many looks you can get out of one dress by putting it with different pieces.
Get a stylist (or at least find an honest friend)
I know not everyone can have a team of people to dress them each morning, but advice from a professional who understands your shape, style and personality can be priceless. Even getting a friend with a good eye in to tell you what suits you and what doesn’t can mean the end of pointless purchases, and more considered style choices.
Sample sales (ideally ethical ones)
Okay we all love a good bargain, but there’s a plethora of amazing designers out there and there are always samples and surplus stock they want to move on to help fund the next collection. Help them and yourself by finding a fab secret sample sale and grabbing a bargain.
Charity shop (if you have the time) and get creative
Actually, it’s pretty hard to find something that fits and you love in a charity shop, but if you’re creative or can sew and have a bit of imagination (and time) then do everyone a favour and get down to Oxfam.
Apparently the average clothes spend in the UK is approximately £1200 per year. So you’ve likely bought between 40 and 100 items of apparel. How many of them have you worn once, or not at all, and thought “oh well it was only a fiver” and thrown it out or given it to a charity shop?
Here is my quick no-nonsense calculation of average spend / value / outcome;
High street shopper spends £25 per week, on an average two or three fast fashion garments each shop = £1300 and 130 garments per year. All garments defunct, broken, boring, unworn after 5ish wears. After five years £6500 and 650(!!!!!!) garments in the bin.
Clever shopper saves up and buys three to seven pieces per year they love, look after and wear for years, accessorise to create differing looks and occasionally allow themselves a few less loved, but considered, bargains for when they want to dress down. A really nice, ethical designer dress costs about £150 – £500 (lets average that at £270 – so £270 x 5 = 1350 per year).
After five years £6750 and 25 garments mostly still in their wardrobe, still worn, loved and wearable for the future.
£ spend is about the same – value depends on if you value quality over quantity. Who looks best? Who is happier? Well, with the many studies that have shown consumerism is making us depressed, I’m pretty sure its not the person who has sent 650 garments to landfill, has a wardrobe full of crap that makes them look too fat / thin / lumpy / strange and feels like they have no money.
Want a new shopping mantra?
Quality not quantity, love – want – need, buy better buy less. And repeat….
Now if you’re a fast fashion junkie looking to kick the habit, you don’t have to go cold turkey… Here’s my suggestion. When you are out shopping and have a hand full of stuff you want to buy, before you go to the tills take another look – PUT BACK the one item you like the least and make a note of how much it would have cost (even better put the money into a piggy bank or savings account). After a year have a look at how much you have saved and go buy something really special to wear with that money. One piece you’ll keep in your wardrobe for years. If that makes you feel good, keep going, put back two items… and so on, until you are a conscious shopper extraordinaire!
And if you really can’t resist a shopping haul (or if you’re looking for that one special piece at a super special price, or you’re starting to do your Christmas shopping) get your ethical fashion fix 12th- 16th November at Atelier Tammam’s Hand Picked Sample Sale. I’m offering exclusive styling and personal shopping sessions throughout the sale to help shoppers work out what suits their body shape and aid in the search and acquisition of key pieces. Of course everything in the sale is ethical, and hand picked from a range of exceptional ethical designers, by moi.
Book tickets to the first dibs event or a styling session here.
Yours in anticipation of a wonderful ethical, considered, slow shopping spree
This Weblog was originally posted on Huffington Post UK
I love that the suffragette movement used colours to represent their cause – Green (Give), White (Women), Violet (Vote). Maybe I’ll bring it back for Fair Trade and make my next collection entirely in Fuchsia and Teal.
Feminism is on our minds, with the release of the Suffragette film this week, and the Feminism in London conference at the end of the month. As a designer whose art is made to be worn by women, I often wonder how the frivolous world of fashion can be considered in any way feminist. Rife with disadvantages for women – from body image issues, to enforced labour, to over-sexualised ad campaigns, to the fact that despite being seen as a “female” profession it’s still easier for men to “make it” with all the top design jobs frequently assigned to men.
Can I do more to promote the cause of feminism through my work? And not in a crazy Karl Lagerfeld / Chanel placards on the catwalk kind of way. Of course the entire Tammam supply chain is fair trade and many aspects are crafted by women artisans given equal pay to their male counterparts. Some women we work with have been rescued from hardships such as trafficking and prostitution and offered training and employment in the fashion industry.
My work has focused not only on aesthetics but also offering skills and opportunities to craftspeople in developing countries. When I had a training studio in Bangalore I worked with girls from slum communities and trained them in couture stitching techniques. Pieces like the Peacock dress represent hundreds of hours of skilled delicate work, with each “feather” appliquéd on by hand.
I carefully construct each design to be flattering to a woman, allowing women to feel confident and comfortable is surely key to offering them equality. And who cares if its a girly tulle skirt covered in flowers, or the tight support of a corset helps you hold your back straight and your chin up. Empowerment doesn’t have to be reserved for pinstripe suits, we are way past feminist stereotypes, remember…
You can see a selection of hand crafted Tammam couture gowns at Feminism in London on the 24-25 October, as well as get involved in an incredible array of workshops and discussions around feminism, in all its facets.
Yours in third-wave, shaved legs, big dress, feminism
*This web log is also available on Huffington Post