We are extremely pleased to welcome Obscure Couture to IndependentBoutique.com. Recently nominated for the Scottish Fashion Awards Young Designer of the Year, this young, funky and fearless fashion label has no where to go but up. When you wear a piece of clothing from Obscure Couture you are making a statement. They are for the individual, the extrovert, the party animal. We chat to the ladies behind the label Jennifer and Lyndsay about how their brand has developed, what inspires their designs and their plans for the future. Read More.....
It's become decidedly more mild of late and it has got us in the mood for Spring. Snow drops and crocuses have started to poke their heads out of the ground and the sun has started shining. Of course the start of a new season means a new look and here at IndependentBoutique.com we've picked some of our favourite products that will breathe new life and colour into your wardrobe. Spring has sprung!Read More.....
Did you catch us in the Manchester Evening News last week? http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/business/s/1470661_independentboutiquecom-boss-champions-young-talent
Boss lady Vicky explains how she came up with idea for IndependentBoutique.com and the site's success since it's launch last year.
Knitwear designer Victoria Le Marquand is championing the best of young, up-and-coming talent via her online fashion store, IndependentBoutique.com. Victoria, 34, said she developed the site to help undiscovered designers to showcase their collections alongside well-known brands. IndependentBoutique.com was launched last May and sells clothing, jewellery and accessories.
Victoria also runs her own cashmere label, Marmalade, making designer knitwear for boutiques and even Harrods. She said: “There is so much undiscovered talent out there and I wanted to give designers a platform to sell their latest trends alongside other brands. “The idea for IndependentBoutique began after I was approached by other sites to sell my brand, Marmalade. “But they were not really suitable for me. My brand, although small, is well-established, and I wanted to sell it alongside other high-end brands that were focused on fashion. Read More.....
Madeleine Thompson's opulent cashmere collection has gone from strength to strength, each season her designs attract more buyers and her profile rises, with high profile individuals advocating Madeleine's garments. IB spoke to designer Madeleine Thompson to discover the story behind this meteoric rise to fashion prominence of her British-based brand:
How do you describe to people what you do and your design style?
I design for the girl that likes to look great even on off duty moments from Saturday brunch to a walk in the park to the Monday morning Starbucks run.
What sort of comments do you get about your designs?
My focus is on elegance & simplicity while still looking fresh, never fussy. I like to experiment with different textures and of utmost importance of course, is the feel of the fabric against the skin. Being comfortable is something that I put huge emphasis on as a designer. My consumer is always very impressed with the quality and comfort of my designs. I spend a lot of time sourcing the best quality cashmere to ensure that I make the best garments available. Read More.....
Where did December appear from?! We love Christmas here at The Vintage Beauty Parlour. I simply cannot wait to get the tree decorated and hang my Elvis Christmas bunting (yes, it really exists!) So we were itching to get down to the annual Manchester Christmas Markets and stuff ourselves silly with festive joy and calorie laden Christmas treats. Obviously we had to dress for the occasion. Dita was modeling her new jumper, a rather fetching Christmas pudding number (right) complete with knitted holly and berries. I like way it looks like a granny whipped it up by the fire, you can’t beat home knits.
I wore my new vintage Pendleton coat and hand knitted buttermilk ear warmer. Here we are (below) under the Father Christmas Zippy about to make ourselves chubby with festive food.
Dita Von Pug got lots of attention and strokes as usual and had a fantastic time finding little treats on the floor. It was a veritable floor buffet for her, with her favourite area being by the Bavarian bratwurst stand, where she hoovered-up pieces of mislaid sausage. Obviously we had to sample the delights, don’t worry I saved her a piece as always.
Manchester's Christmas markets are a dieter’s minefield; but a foodie's dream, it allows you to eat your way around Europe one bite at a time, which is delicious fun. Next on the tour was Switzerland, my sister Susie had the Racclette, which if you like melted Swiss cheese this is the treat for you. The bubbling grilled cheese is layered over boiled new potatoes, gherkins and pickled onions, …a veritable mouth party!
After all this savoury snackage some sweetness was needed so we took a trip to Italy and had some lovely samples from this beautiful selection of delicious almond based cakes. Little bites of heaven!
We finished it all off with lashings of Glühwein laced with kirsch, what a perfect evening…
Wishing everyone festive joy,
Love from Bethany and Dita Von Pug xxx
Emma how do you describe to people what you do and your design style?
I am a jewellery designer/maker. I make luxury hand-made jewellery for women who want to wear unique pieces that have a story. I take great care and attention over my designs and every detail is handmade by me in my north London workshop.
What sort of comments do you get about your designs?
The bird collection is bold and graphic and also very playful. My jewellery is kinetic - the birds bob and spin in their hoop 'cages' or on the t-bar 'branches' as the wearer moves. This is jewellery that’s meant to be out on display, even when it's not being worn. My latest stars collection, although much more delicate, is also very kinetic. I love the fact that the over-long earrings tickle your shoulders as you move, revealing tiny shining stars from between the chain.
Tell us about your background?
Well, I was a production editor for many years on national style and women's magazines. I worked on More, Company, Living etc.
So why did you start doing jewellery?
I simply couldn't find jewellery that I liked in the shops, so I started designing my own! My first real design was a huge charm bracelet made from articulated cloisonne fish. Friends and colleagues asked me to make them one, and the whole thing snow-balled from there. Then one of my fish bracelets was featured in Elle magazine. Subsequently I launched "Lily the Pink" as a costume jewellery line back in 2002.
When I left journalism to have children in 2004, I decided to go back to college and study jewellery making and design. I enrolled at London Metropolitan University, and finally launched my eponymous label back in November of last year (2010).
Which designers have influenced you?
I have an extraordinary Scott Wilson necklace that I love - his huge, sculptural designs are amazing. And I worked for the goldsmith Angie Boothroyd for a short while one summer. Her craftsmanship and attention to detail taught me so much about the skill of fine jewellery making.
Tell us about your design process from concept, production and to the shelves...
Design starts in your head – I get my best ideas at night when the house is perfectly still. Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere – a Henry Moore exhibition, the dramatic sweep of a spiral staircase, a petrol blue dress. I keep my mind and my eyes open and a sketch book handy. I sketch all my ideas – we were taught at college to capture everything – even if it’s just a line. I keep all my old sketch books and constantly revisit them – you never know when the germ of an idea might influence something in the future.
Then I go to my work bench and start to make a prototype – this part always takes longer than I anticipate. Initial ideas sometimes don’t hang right on the body or look too clunky. I revise and revise the prototype until I’m happy. It’s good to have an occasion to aim for, like a friend’s 40th. If I make a piece and wear it out to a party I usually get a pretty good idea whether it’s going to sell well from people’s comments. Once I’m happy with a design I make sure it translates well into a whole collection – earrings, bracelets and necklaces that sit well together as a suit of jewellery. Then all the pieces need to be hallmarked at the Assay Office in central London. Then, if they’re being plated, I take them in to Hatton Garden.
From then on it’s full steam ahead to get the collection photographed so I can send out mailshots to potential customers and buyers – then you wait for the orders to roll in!
How do you think your brand has developed?
It’s very early days and I’m on a huge learning curve but already a distinctive clasp for the necklaces and bracelets has emerged in both my collections – I feel this will become my signature!
What do you hate most about your job?
Working on my own – my dream is to have a workbench in a shared studio.
What are your main achievements and what do you aim to achieve now?
Getting my debut collection into the Tate Britain shop in my first year as a designer/maker was a huge boost. I also previously had collections of my Lily the Pink line in Liberty and Browns Focus, Dublin. To get a few more big named brands like that behind my jewellery would be fantastic.
What advice would you have for anyone starting out in jewellery making?
Have confidence in your designs and your jewellery making skills and don’t be afraid to approach buyers and galleries.
IndependentBoutique.com is proud to work with British designers, why do you think British design stands out?
Because it’s quirky and eccentric and not afraid to push the boundaries.
IndependentBoutique.com's founder Victoria Le Marquand has been interviewed by the fabulous Katy Cowan from the Creative Boom website. Creative Boom is an online agency and free network community for the UK's creative industries, the interview ' 5 Minutes with Victoria Le Marquand' is worth a read .....