Archive for the ‘Made in Britain’ Category

Darren Hayman: LIDO

September 18, 2012

It’s a long time since I posted anything here [work has kept me endlessly busy over the last few months] but I do have a few things on the back burner that I would like to write about once I get some downtime. In the meantime I felt compelled to post up a little something about the latest album by Darren Hayman, LIDO. I had read a few snippets about this album, and not being too familiar with Hayman’s previous efforts [as the frontman of Hefner], I was seduced by the thoughts behind it and the care and effort that had gone into the overall package.

Yes, the album IS about a selection of open air swimming pools in the UK, with each track being an instrumental form of dedication.. Alongside this, Hayman has also produced hand-drawn illustrations to accompany each song, depicting each of the pools in question. The whole thing is packaged beautifully in a cardboard sleeve designed by and featuring cover art from Frances Castle. If this is the way that musicians have to lure us into buying physical product in the age of the digital, then I am certainly all for it.

Darren has also been writing and accompanying blog, which can be found here.

Now, I should go and give it a listen…



September 18, 2011

It gives me great pleasure to be able to [finally] share some information regarding the debut collection from newly established womenswear label MASC. The project is something very dear to me as it is the fruit of the labour from life and business partners Duncan Shaw and Belinda Yick, whom I would say are amongst my most loved people in the world.

The collection has been under wraps over the last year whilst brand DNA was established, business plans formulated and ultimately the garments themselves took shape. I knew that the end product would be of the highest calibre, but I have to say now that I have seen the brand come together as a whole, it surpasses even my expectations.

It has been great to be involved with the project from the start, and really watch it grow and became a ‘real’ fashion brand. I am full of admiration for Duncan and Belinda and it has been great to watch them pool their resources from around them and really submit themselves to something they truly believe in.

Selected to show at Vauxhall Fashion Scout during Fashion Week, the MASC team will be there until September 20th and I highly recommend taking the time to go and see what they have achieved whilst they are still on such a small scale.

More information can be found at

Jessica de Lotz

March 10, 2011

Today, another member of the Linda Farrow Team leaves to move onto bigger and better things. This time, it is the one and only Phoebe Jones. We had the usual rally around the office, and got together quite a significant sum for the little cherub. The reason that I am writing about this is because we found the perfect gift, and I also wish to draw attention to an ’emerging’ London based designer.

The necklace below is by Jessica de Lotz, who graduated from Central St Martins in 2008, and has since gone onto successfully set up her own label culminating in the “Jeweller for Life” range, from which this piece is taken (sound like a press release…much?)

I have always loved the idea and aesthetic of wax seals, and it seems that Jessica has devoted an entire range to them. A look quick to her website makes it clear that everything is made in England, and quite often by Jessica herself.

Bespoke crests and emblems can also be moulded by request.

The piece that we bought is 925 sterling silver, plated in 18ct Rose Gold.

The Green: Soccer Journal

October 17, 2010

I recently found out that a good friend of mine, James Roper, has entered the field of publishing with the launch of new ‘magazine’, The Green. Intended to take a look at the areas of football that are often overlooked in the general media, the pilot issue, “Issue Zero”, features an impressive list of contributors, some beautiful photography and interesting articles that even I as a non-football fan enjoyed reading. Within this issue there are interviews with Bryan Ferry (conducted by The Guardian’s Chief Sports Writer Richard Williams), a look at the history of classic table top game Subbuteo and a day in the life of super fan John Portsmouth Football Club Westwood.

I think that The Green has really hit the nail on the head here – it has managed to fill what appears to be a gap in the magazine market and offers something truly unique. In a nutshell it is a football magazine for the thinking man, covering more diverse areas than usual, but importantly never straying too far from the core values of the game.

Issue One is due for launch in November – currently the website features a neat holding video (below) to whet your appetite. I suggest checking this out if you can get hold of a copy.

Linda Farrow: Made in England

September 20, 2010

I just spotted this vintage pair of frames in the office. Interestingly, the temple tip is stamped with ‘ENGLAND’. I asked Linda Farrow’s husband Julian if they actually were made in England, and he informed me that they were from 1973, an original vintage pair and made in Kent. Apparently, he knew an optical manufacturer around there, and convinced them to make a mold to produce these sunglasses for Linda. I think that is amazing that he knew exactly when they dated from. I also admire the tag attached – it features a small circular cut-out of a lens which allows the wearer to see the polarising effect in action when it is placed over the lens.

Olympic Update

August 22, 2010

On my way to Pudding Mill Lane DLR station today, I stumbled into some sort of open exhibition around the Olympic site. There wasn’t a great deal to see, but it was quite interesting to see how the site has developed since I last had a look around. The local council have set up something called a ‘View Tube’ which is there to showcase artwork and ideas from people within the Stratford community. They have also re-opened part of the ‘Greenway’ walkway which leads between Stratford and Hackney.

I’m sure that to some, the photographs below of what is basically a building site are probably quite uninteresting, but I am really enjoying watching the development of the whole site. I think that once the site is complete in 2012, it will be quite hard to believe that it ever looked as it does below.

Caravans: A British Love Affair

August 21, 2010

I caught this programme today on BBC Three all about Caravans, and how they revolutionised the way that British people holidayed. The programme features some great little interviews and anecdotes with ‘enthusiasts’ – one lady explaining how she decided to drive her family to Paris following the death of her husband and they parked up right outside the Arc de Triomphe and spent the night there. I don’t think that many people have been fortunate enough to have had that experience.

The programme also heavily features a man called Sam Alper, who invented the ‘Sprite’ caravan in the 1950s as he saw that Britain needed a light and affordable caravan, that would be easily available to them. Interestingly, the caravans were manufactured in Stratford East London where I now live. Alper founded ‘Caravans International’ in 1963, and over the next two decades expanded the range and quantity of caravans produced. The company went into liquidation however in the early 1980s.

Sam Alper will always have a place in my heart, as he also founded the Little Chef roadside restaurants still seen around UK roadsides today.

The programme is still available to watch at the following address:

Nigel Cabourn ‘Cameraman Jacket’

June 25, 2010

When I began writing this blog, one of my early posts was a brief profile of British-based designer Nigel Cabourn. I have been intrigued by his collections ever since as it felt like the product was of a much higher class than anything I had really seen, and the materials and build quality seemed to be outstanding. However, I couldn’t find many places that actually stocked the product, so I decided to order the ‘Cameraman Jacket’, study it and send it back.

I have to say that in all honesty I was quite disappointed. The aesthetic of the jacket was everything I could have hoped for, but the actual overall weight and feel just didn’t seem to justify the retail price of close to £700. The construction and detailing is all fantastic, but for me there is something lacking. I am taking this a valuable lesson for my future endeavours.

Made in England (cont…)

June 16, 2010

In the Company of Cooks

June 15, 2010

The Company of Cooks are supporting and promoting an  interactive exhibition at the Imperial War Museum currently, in which leading chefs cook live to demonstrate how we can make the best use of ‘free’ food and make it last.

From The Company of Cooks:

‘The exhibition opened on the 11th February 2010 and runs until January 2011. It  will be an engaging and informative temporary exhibition examining Britain’s messages about the production, distribution and consumption of food during the Second World War. It will also look at the effect food had on the entire nation and its relationship with current agendas relating to sensible eating and thrift.’

The next live exhibition is this Sunday at 3pm, here’s hoping I make it.

The Imperial War Museum is also maintaining a blog revolving around the issues above, which is well worth a look at: