I was never immersed in fashion as a child, my Mum was most comfortable in mountaineering gear or blouses and flared cords. She dressed us in hand me downs and was an eco-warrior before it was a thing! Mum is from the make do and mend generation. New clothes were such a rarety for us as kids that I clearly remember my first trip to Oxford High Street, age 8 to buy a coveted Ra Ra dress. I can still feel the excitement when I left the shop with my new wares; giving me my first taste for the fun of fashion.
My Dad, a Librarian at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, was once described by his work colleagues as looking like ‘he had been through a hedge backward chasing badgers’. The truth is he probably had (a hobby of his was badger watching).
His style was his own. Tank tops, cotton twill shirts, cords and scruffy hair, and the occasional tweed jacket. His style was not fashionable, but who’s to say he wasn’t stylish. It may not have been a conscious thing, but his clothes were practical and suitably ‘Librarian’ with a touch of English eccentric. Dad would always put comfort and durability first and, genuinely, never gave a thought to what anyone would think of what he was wearing. Like the badgers, and nature in general, he lived appreciating simple, un-spoilt, natural beauty. He made it very clear that things like make-up and piercing, that went against his aesthetic taste, were un-appealing. Of course I rebelled and got my ears pierced without his approval.
Dad especially hated spending money on unnecessary things and would be happy to buy an item of quality that he knew would last- a mindset that we are already seeing evolve since the pandemic has forced us to shop more consciously.
I didn't know it at the time but all these things have influenced my choices, and my own personal style.
Back in the early days of Dad’s work as a librarian, cataloging was done manually. He struggled to embrace the introduction of technology, and to his last day he would tell us to get our head out of our phones and read a book or look at the world around us!
With the influence of technology increasing in our lives, I have become more aware just how important it is to redress the balance; for all sorts of reasons, not least good sleep and mental health. In honour of this and my Dad, I'm excited to introduce our first Thread Tales' Book Club, beginning with an eclectic mix of reading suggestions from our team, and of course, a couple of Dad's favourites. We can't wait to share our thoughts with you and to receive your suggestions too.
Autumn Winter 2020 is a celebration of the values I was taught by my Father, Law Librarian and nature lover. We photographed this collection where he spent most of his working life, at the Bodleian Library, in a city he loved. Oxford. This season we've introduced Men’s scarves, modelled by my Brother. A Landscape Architect, eco warrior and plant lover; he represents a young man his Father would be immensely proud of.
The collection showcases the character of natural materials and ‘touch me textures’. Natural beauty takes centre stage, as influenced by my Father’s mantra. My focus, as always is to design unique and desirable pieces made from sustainable fabrics, handwoven by Artisanal experts. Each design has an individuality only achieved through hand-weaving and creative design.
Yak yarn is a Thread Tales’ favourite, and is a feature in our new Men’s scarf collection. With a hand-feel like no other, in part due to the hand spun fibres, these scarves are rustic yet velvety soft, a texture that elevates a suit or casual t-shirt with effortless charm.
The hero piece in this collection started with a conversation during my last trip to Nepal with our Partner workshop Owner and Master Weaver, Sachin.
I wanted to take a traditional Herringbone design and enlarge it to showcase the beauty of the yarn composition- Cashmere, Yak and Silk. Having worked through this idea with Sachin, we used the new fabric for a gorgeous Kimono jacket / Coatigan design. Woven as as a traditional square Kimono, this piece saves on waste through its simplicity. I design every piece with minimal environmental impact in mind and handweaving each panel to size allowed us to produce this idea with no textile waste.
The complemetary wrap was designed alongside to showcase the beautiful tactile and texture of this combination of noble and natural yarns with statement fringes left long and raw along the selvedges of the wrap.
This season we have expanded our knitwear offering to include our Multi-Functional Cardigan. Nick-named by us as the’ In and Out’ this trans-seasonal piece is ideal for layering in Winter, or as a jacket in the Spring. Ours is oversized and softly belted. Choose from hand dip-dyed subtle Ombre neutrals or ink fading into blueish grey.
For 2020-2021, in addition to adding at least one new innovation per season, we continue our pledge to reuse and recycle yarn wherever we can, reduce our carbon emissions and contribute to a circular economy, without ever compromising on quality. With that aspiration always in the forefront of our minds, this season we present cosy bobble-hats and protective snoods, crafted from Recycled Cashmere.
The beautiful covers of the old books in the Bodelian library are the inspiration for our palette of dusty green, olive, Ox blood, rusts and teals, along with inky blues and Cranberry.
The warm neutral tones of the stonework and the fan vaulted ceiling of the Divinty hall (famous now for the Harry Potter scenes filmed here), formed the inspiration for our second palette, and the backdrop for the shoot. Caramels, creams and tans are complemented with soft khakis and granite greys.