ateliertammam

A web log about putting decadence in a small sustainable package. www.tammam.co.uk

How to buy better

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.

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Accessorise

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

Ms Tammam

This Weblog was originally posted on Huffington Post UK

Fashion and Feminism

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.

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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.

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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…

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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

Ms Tammam

*This web log is also available on Huffington Post 

The (Sustainable) Future of London Fashion Week

You can read my little web log on the Huffington Post about my thoughts on the future of LFW.

 

However much more fun than that, we’re throwing a party! And you’re invited…

 

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See you at Fash week Dahlings!

 

Yours – back to the future (of fashion)

 

Ms Tammam

 

Open house at Atelier Tammam – 3 years, Splendid partnerships, refurbs and gin

On Thursday 4th June Atelier Tammam opened it’s doors for the first time since our incredible refurbishment (I’ll post about that soon and the wonderful winners of our A Sustainable World 2015 interior design competition and what they have created).

It’s just over three years since we inhabited Hatsings street, it has also been a year since we welcomed Splendid Stitches to the Atelier Tammam family. Nanna, the doyenne of vintage alterations and repairs has been a busy bee in her corner of our studio for the last year so we decided we needed to celebrate.

What better way than a glass of breakfast gin, courtesy of Half Hitch Gin, a surprisingly refreshing breakfast treat with freshly squeezed orange juice and plenty of ice to cool us down on a glorious June day.

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We welcomed our guests, including a smattering of celebrities and our favourite clients, to view our new decor – vibrant and sophisticated paint by the incredible masters of eco clay paint – Earthborn and our new wallpaper designed by K.Birdy and printed by the amazing Murals Wallpaper.

 

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The VID (very important Dog)

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Moi and my right hand girl Katie with the glamorous and wonderful Lorraine Chase

A preview of our LBD collection, out in the autumn – take our little quiz to let us know what will make your perfect LBD, new haute couture pieces on display and vintage style advice were a few of the highlights.

We rounded off the evening with a taster session of our unique life drawing classes, with a rather tipsy gaggle of guests working their pencils to create some masterpieces among the couture.

Photo by Alexandria Hall http://www.a-h.photography/

Photo by Alexandria Hall http://www.a-h.photography/

Where does the time go?! I am thrilled with our new look showroom – book an appointment to come and see us for bespoke fashion, bridal and evening wear, hire services, alterations, repairs and maybe a sneak peek at the LBDs.

Yours in our gloriously revamped boutique

Ms Tammam

 

Fashion Revolution Day

For Fashion Revolution Day 2015 I’d like to talk a little bit about the amazing Jacobs Well.

 

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Just over 10 years ago I first went to visit a little production unit in Bangalore called Jacobs Well, I’d been working with them for my first (ethical) fashion label Tam&Rob, and decided due to a few difficulties it would make sense to go out there and work with them directly.

From the moment I stepped through the door I was hooked… I met Lydia – a force to be reckoned with, and still is – at the time she was part of the production team, now she owns part of the company! Lydia and I have grown to be good friends over the years we have worked together, we have learned from each other, laughed together and I have quite often cried on her (I have never seen her cry, she is far too cool for that!)

Through the years I have spent time helping to train the girls at JW. I have offered my knowledge and expertise to help them grow from a little mad cap production unit in small room above an office, to a fully functional, phenomenal and highly professional CMT unit. In return I have been shown respect as a valued customer, have been supported through my crazy ideas and impossible sampling missions. I have been rewarded with the highest quality production and the opportunity to work with people I not only know personally but I can also call friends.

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A few years ago I employed someone called Ammu, through Jacobs well. Brenda said to me they had a girl cleaning for them, she was really good and wanted to learn but they didn’t have money for her salary. I took her on to do all my finishings and accessory production. Ammu too has grown to be a friend, an amazingly strong and dedicated woman, she has worked her way up in JW through sheer determination. I am so glad I was able to give her the start she needed and am so proud of how successful she has become.

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Sumitra and I had a run in early on, she made a very expensive mistake on some fabric she was cutting and I was furious (I didn’t have any more fabric!). However as time went on, I noticed how brilliant she was at tailoring, I put her in charge of stitching my ready to wear wedding dresses and she did not disappoint. She is an asset to JW and quite frankly I wouldn’t have had a collection without her. We are now working on a new bridal business that will be made at JW – watch this space for more information!

I have asked my friends at Jacobs Well to write a little about working with Tammam over the years;

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Lucy was our very first client for fashion clothes.  Until she contacted us Jacobs Well was producing only small items like bags and baby clothes, so it is impossible to overestimate the impact that Lucy has had on our business.

It is fair to say that there were quite a few mistakes in very first pieces we made for Lucy and her friend ten years ago.  For one design, she asked us to stitch a pair of trousers and then dye the finished item.  Happily we sent the constructed trousers for dyeing only to see the whole thing returned with the bright white stitches glowing out from the coloured fabric: not knowing any better, we had used polyester thread which had not taken the dye.  Oops. 

Lucy’s patience and ability to adapt was our saving grace in those early days, and we are so happy that she saw our potential and stuck with us.  We have learned so much from her over the years.  Most of all, she had enough faith in us and gave us such good training that our small team of tailors was eventually able to produce the ultimate couture items: wedding dresses.  For this, we had to learn special ways of making seams, how to make a bodice with boning (which was completely new to us), the proper ways to fit the dress, how on earth to cut such a long garment properly: it was a huge achievement for us and all down to Lucy’s training.  In addition to her commitment in working with an ethical production unit, Lucy was also a pioneer in using sustainable fabrics and taught us about materials including peace silk, where the moth is able to fly free from the cocoon.

Both Ammu and Sumitra have grown in confidence and ability thanks to their work for House of Tammam, and I am also very grateful for the training she has given me, and for the confidence she has in me.  We are honoured to count Lucy as our first ‘real’ client and as a friend of Jacobs Well, and it is our pleasure on Fashion Revolution Day to say we made your Tammam clothes!

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I feel so privileged. I know who made my clothes, and my customers do too. To me that is worth so much. Here’s to another decade working with people I know and love at Jacobs Well.

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Yours in Fair Trade

Ms Tammam

 

 

 

#MyWeekWithAlison

Ah the Easter Holidays and my good friend and top journo Alison Jane Reid of Ethical Hedonist Magazine came to stay for a few days, and we thought we’d make the most of it!
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AJ and I at LFW with the wonderful Jenny Agutter

First up – The Tammam Great Easter Sample Sale (on until 18th April) with masses of fashion bargains from top indie eco brands. We shopped until we dropped! Best buys – Matt & Natt hand bags, Nancy Dee dresses and BibTs for the babies.

 

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We decided to host a delicious vegan gluten free dinner party, with Alison Jane and the Team Tam girls, using an Abel&Cole fruit and veg box we had delivered that day.
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For starters – grilled pepper and broccoli
Mains –  leek and carrot risotto garnished with gem lettuce
Salad – using the mixed leaves and organic tomatoes from the box, with a date, nut and orange dressing – yum!
For desert – fresh fruit and Cecilia’s magic cakes.
Washed down with a delicious bottle (or two) of organic wine!
The next night we went off to a fabulous Inner Circle singles party above L’Escargot restaurant in Soho, with even more wine and fabulous entertainment, there was even a picture of Cliff on the wall – always a sign of a sophisticated establishment….
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Next up on my week with Alison, time for some pampering treats –  to start a wonderful relaxing facial from Aromatherapy Associates in Knightsbrige. Friendly staff and an incredible location and the most divine lotions and potions used to cleanse my overworked, London smog stained face – I especially loved the Rose tonic which reminded me of a smell from my past…
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Sparkly faced I headed over to see the incredible Ross Cosgrove at the Luke Jacob hair salon in Spitalfields in East London to get a short summer ready crop, and my second head massage of the day. What a treat!
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The crop!

AJ loves the cinema and so do I, and we were invited to a private screening of the lovely new film VE Night, at the sumptuous Soho Hotel.
Well fed, pampered and totally shopped out we ended our week on a high. Thanks for coming Alison….!

Guest post from Michelle, our Scottish WEG

Here’s our wonderful WEG (work experience girl) Michelle, from Robert Gorden University in Scotland, to wax lyrical about our 2nd annual art competition, and to spill the beans on our next extraordinary sample sale.

Yours in interior design

Ms Tammam

 

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Michelle;

Throughout my time at Tammam, I have been working hard to help organise this year’s exciting A Sustainable World competition. After the incredible success of last year’s art competition, we are once again opening the atelier doors to the creatives of London and beyond to find a designer to completely transform the interior of the couture showroom.

 

 

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This year, entrants can be inspired by the glamorous ‘hey – day’ of our home, Bloomsbury.

Bloomsbury has an amazing history in literature and is known worldwide for its lavish parties (which I would have loved to attend) and forward thinking residents, we would like our new showroom to reflect this heritage and display our beautiful contemporary designs using vintage techniques and materials. Their designs must also create space to display all of our ranges, including haute couture evening gowns, couture bridal wear, couture day wear and tailoring, as well as a space for our very exciting brand new LBD line. As always, to make the competition truly Tammam, all materials used must be reclaimed, eco or sustainable.
I am also very excited as Earthborn paints are sponsors of the competition this year! As well as having an amazing colour range (we all particularly love the shade “Reading Room”) Earthborn offer clay based paints, which means they use eco alternatives to traditional paint ingredients, making them 100% sustainable and eco-friendly, which we love!

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The newly designed atelier will be open in May, but get those entries in quick as the competition closes on March 29th, just 9 days away!

Let any budding designers know, they can enter here.
After the winners of the competition have been announced, the showroom will play host to the Great Easter Sample Sale, which I have also been working on. The sale will see some of the best eco, vegan and sustainable designers such as Outsider, Nancy Dee, Kiboots, Matt & Nat and Makepiece set up shop in the Tammam showroom to sell their rare, past season and sample stock at amazing discounts of up to 80% off! If you would like to grab an exclusive ethical bargain, the sale will run from the 3rd to the 18th of April and we would love to see you there!

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After the sale draws to a close, it will be operation renovation for everyone in Team Tammam as the new showroom begins to take shape. Make sure to keep an eye on the Tammam Twitter and Instagram pages as I’ll be documenting the transformation on them daily….

 

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Yesterday I dashed down to Pure, the enormous fashion trade show at Kensington Olympia to see what eco brands were on offer.

My top tips are

Poppyengland.com sweet organic cotton prints – especially love the kids dresses.

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helenmoore.com incredible soft and fluffy faux fur

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Oka-B.com fabulous eco recycled shoes. I want some of these to go with my LBD…

Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 14.36.35  Some fabulous treats to go with one of our couture creations.

 

Until Fashion Week….

Ms Tammam

Haute couture and haute cuisine in Amsterdam

Last month the team traveled to the glorious city of Amsterdam, for their fashion week celebrations and an intimate eco-fashion event in collaboration with my favourite 4* – The Albus Hotel.

Moi showing off as usual...

Moi showing off, as usual…

Over a sensuous and sustainable dinner at the Hotel’s incredible Senses Restaurant, guests were treated to a parade of 3 of Amsterdam’s most gorgeous mannequins, strolling past the diners in the finery of Tammam High Couture.

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From classics like the New peacock and the swirl print coat (a favourite of our celebrity clients) to a hand crafted silk organza and hand made lace bridal gown as a finale, the guests were wowed by each gown to float by their dining table.

The waitresses wore our new LBD collection – launching later this year and press launching at London Fashion Week this month… watch this space for more information on that.
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And to round off the evening; a cocktail named after me – Tammam Spritzers all round!

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Yours in sustainable luxury

Ms Tammam
Albus Hotel & Senses Restaurant kisses for all

Albus Hotel & Senses Restaurant kisses for all

Kick start a collaboration

Dahlings,

Apologies for being away for so long, I have had a lot of projects simmering and am now ready to serve one up!

I have been working with renowned contemporary artist Mikey Georgeson on an amazing “wearable art” peace silk project.

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Here we are contemplating, and waiting for a magic moth – watch the video at the top of the kickstarter campaign to see more….

 Take a look at our Kickstarter campaign here

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 15.29.06Mikey and I have some very beautiful VERY limited edition hand painted accessories for you to purchase, in time for the holidays. We don’t have many and you are pretty much the first to know, so snap them up fast if you want one.

This is all part of my mission to revere the humble silk moth. Our ultimate goal is to create a fabric from a found silk supply chain, this means any silk used would be a natural / wild waste product and not from a captive animal. I’ll be working with a group of incredible hand weavers to hand loom the cloth that will then be made into a couture gown, ready for Mikey to paint.

The modern answer to Dali and Schiaparelli, with a sustainable and social justice message… who shall we get to be our Wallis Simpson?!

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I hope you like it and will help us, and the moths, by backing our project on Kickstarter.

Yours in wearable art

Ms Tammam