ateliertammam

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

Tag: travel

2019 in the Atelier

Well the last of 2018 whizzed by in a whirlwind, and as we’re speeding towards February it seems a perfect time for an update…

Last week I was invited on to the Jo Good show on BBC Radio London.img_3221

What a treat to talk to the lovely Jo about ethical fashion and the One Dress project.

Just before the holidays we launched One Dress gift certificates – these make a delightful Valentines or birthday gift for a special woman, who might prefer to choose her own word, and can be bought via the website.

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Since we returned from our tour of Australia in the Summer the dress has kept up it’s wondrous wandering. Appearing at the Bloomsbury Festival in London, the FiLiA conference in Manchester, A fantastic women’s art showcase at Atelie397 in Sao Paulo, Brazil and has been added to by our very own apprentice Nivea, who now lives in Rio. It also made a guest appearance at the site of the WSPU headquarters in Holborn (now Bill’s!) for international day of the girl and to celebrate the birthday of legendary suffragette, Emily Wilding Davison, along with Kate Willoughby and PAWA.

 

The dress is currently on display in the window of Atelier Tammam in Bloomsbury – let us know with a tag on instagram or twitter (@HouseOfTammam) if you happen to pass by, perhaps you can spot your word through the glass! We’ll be setting off on our travels again soon, sign up to the mailing list to be the first to hear all our news and where you can see the dress next.

 

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It’s coming up to being about half way embroidered and I’m aiming for it to be completed by October, to be showcased as a finished piece at the fabulous feminist FiLiA Conference in Bradford – tickets are available now.

The register is available to view on line – all the wonderful words that have been lovingly embroidered on so far can be seen, along with the name of the person each is dedicated to and the amazingly skilled woman (from the UK, India, Kenya or Brazil) who stitched it on.

Yours in awe of the, often unrecognised, talents of women

Ms Tammam

A week of (Fair) Fashion in time for (London) Fashion Week

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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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).

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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.

As London Fashion Week Looms we’ll be posting all our shenanigans on Instagram, facebook and twitter and I’ll do another round up next week.

Yours in Fair Fashion, and anticipation for LFW

Ms Tammam

 

An eco jaunt to Amsteram

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Oh the summer holidays, what a wonderful time! This year, due to a fashionistas rendezvous in the Hague I found my self in The Netherlands, for a glorious sustainable city break.

In the Hague I found myself delighted by the offerings of The Vegetarian Butcher and their delicious meat alternatives. The Vegan “chicken” was incredible – what a treat for a meat-missing ethicalista.

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We were treated to a plethora of vegetarian eateries, ethical boutiques and 2 different eco hotels too. The Albus hotel, a super luxury lodging in the centre of the city offered us a gloriously tranquil and comfortable place to stay. You know how I love it when a business combines luxury and ethical policy, and The Albus does just that. I’d have done without the trendy coffee machines from well known bad multinational company (we all know who), everything else made for a perfect city break stop over spot.

 

 

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Read more about the expedition on Ethical Hedonist soon.

As London Fashion Week looms I’ll be holed up in the studio, more news to come with information about all the offerings at the Atelier from next season.

 

Yours in post holiday / pre fashion week limbo

 

Ms Tammam

 

 

An Indian Adventure, now I’ve returned

My intrepid 6 week journey starts at 5am, one very cold morning in November, packed and ready to head to LHR for the first leg of my flights to the glamorous yet equally impoverished city of Mumbai.

Thankfully, my eco chariot arrived right on time, a cosy, comfortable and all importantly environmentally friendly Green Tomato Car (www.greentomatocars.com) taxied me and my entourage to the airport in luxurious sustainable style.

The initial journey ends the next day at 5am India time when I arrive at my dwelling in Mumbai, ready for a short rest before my first meeting with a new embroidery unit I have been introduced to, later that day.

When I made a decision to monitor as much of my supply chain as possible it seemed a fairly impossible task, but 8 years later , having visited every one of my long term producers countless times and aiming to visit a few more potential suppliers on this trip I feel confident that it can be done – to be able to see the people making my fabrics and embellishments, with care, dedication and true craftsmanship is one of the joys of working this way, it turns a notoriously faceless product into a beautiful story of people and individuality.

So I was rather taken aback as I arrived at what appeared to be the home of this new supplier, though not unusual for offices to be in old flats and colonial buildings in India, this appeared to be where my new supplier lived – a beautiful old house in the heart of Malabar Hill, one of the wealthier districts of Mumbai. I was invited in to a large but sparse and faceless room, where I was (uncharacteristically) not offered even a glass of water and then shown a load of samples of embroidery and bead work extracted from one of the cupboards to line the walls.

The beautiful swatches were lovely, but not unlike other work I have seen on my travels and the experience was marred by the fact that the workers (who I had pointedly asked to be able to meet, and been told they worked from the same place, prior to my visit) were on their one month holiday for New Year. But I was allowed to see the much too small room all 20 of them were expected to work in 6 days a week, from 8am-11pm, all 11 other months of the year (!!!!!!) In my disappointment at not being able to see the work being done and enquiring about the sampling, I had until that point been planning to do, the very charming face of this company told me her other unit was still working, but it was 2 hours away. Great I said I have all day, lets go. But alas, this unit is STRICTLY off limits to foreign visitors, for copyright reasons apparently….

Alarm bells started to ring and I left, making some excuses and feeling really quite saddened by the whole experience.

Perhaps she was legitimate, perhaps they are working on the latest Chanel embroideries or Versace sequinned fabrics or McQueen embellishments, but so what?! Give it a few months and they’ll be all over the papers and on line anyway. If things are really top secret they can be covered up for the 10minutes I’d walk through the unit. In over a decade in the industry I have never been told I cant see a unit, no matter how bad (and some really have been!) and whilst discretion is admirable, when she has already admitted the working conditions of the employees she allows into her home and must therefore trust, how can I believe the other unit is working even close to fair trade standards? How can I know anything without seeing it?!

The conundrum here is that the workers she employs, certainly the ones off on their holidays, do come back, I am sure they do take pride in their work, and the long hours they work mean higher incomes to send back to their families. Time and time again I have seen and heard of workers chosing regular employment in less secure units that offer lower hourly salary but a higher all day rate (even if the day is 8am-11pm) over fair trade employment, with all its long term benefits – because the days are shorter and therefore the basic take home salary is less.

Which means fair trade units need to be able to offer longer hours to their workers, if they are to be able to keep going and keep supporting people. Its not just the salary with fair trade too, these business offer so much more – security, healthcare, profits into local communities  to name a few. So as consumers it is our job to ensure they can take on more employees for longer hours, by buying fairly traded products (and if you are not sure if its fairly traded – ASK! FashionRevolution.org will show you how).  Then, business like those of the charming lady from Malabar Hill will start losing their dedicated workers, to units offering them much better deals, unless they start offering them a better deal too.

And that is how we make the world fair trade, in a nut shell.

When it comes to high end products like the bridal and evening wear I produce, it is quite likely to be made in the UK (or whichever country you are in) unless you are buying a lower priced off the rack gown (beware of the China designer copies – you will regret it). At Tammam most of our tailoring is done in the UK at our London Atelier, but its our fabrics and embellishments that we source in India, and it is these that are just as important to check as the final stitching. So again, when  you go to buy your bridal gown or prom dress do ask who sewed on the 5000 beads, and where was the fabric woven and what fibres is it made of. So many questions! It is our job to ensure boutiques and designers know the answers to these questions. So much power we have!

Follow the rest of my adventures in India on Ethical Hedonist.

Yours, in India

Ms Tammam