Stories

Autumn One Look Book

By Justine Tabak

Autumn One Look Book

The first leaves have fallen and early Autumn is upon us ... 

We've been quietly launching some new pieces behind the scenes, uploading styles as they arrive from their makers, so I thought it a good time to share my new look book 'Autumn 1' with you. Taken on a crisp morning in Hackney marshes, north London, these pictures epitomise the transitional spirit I strive to encapsulate in my collections with a cross over from late summer to the first nip of Autumn ; cotton dresses worn over tights and under jumpers for cooler days, velvety soft cord taking you from September into April, and linen to layer over polo necks so they can be worn all year through. 

All pieces seen are available to order now, but some styles in 'deadstock' fabrics do have limited sizing left so please check. More coming soon as we head into Autumn proper. 

Justine x

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Buller and Rice

By Justine Tabak

Buller and Rice

I'm proud to say that my Newington Green local hair salon, Buller and Rice, is the first sustainable salon in London. As our awareness of the damage we cause to the environment is growing, we're changing how we go about our everyday lives. I truly believe that sustainability is about doing the best we can, and when it comes to Buller and Rice they've done just that and more so. Every aspect of their business has been considered, from their recycled furniture and styling stations made from compressed hay, to their choice of biodynamic products. 

On a sunny Friday afternoon I took a trip down to visit Stephen at the salon, and we chatted over a blow dry and style ...

I meet Stephen and his cute Brussels Griffon dog Cyril, who apparently has quite the following himself! We chatted through my style and decided to go with natural curls that reflected my casual style, I'm most known for a scraped up scruffy pony tail! Stephen has been working as a stylist for years, establishing himself in London at 'Pimps and Pinups' in Spitalfields where he met his now business partner Anita Rice. 

Buller and Rice has a beautifully modern aesthetic, feeling very green and fresh. They use custom made furniture out of repurposed materials, such as their upcycled Belmont chairs, styling stations cut like a jigsaw to reduce waste, and marble-effect mirror frames from recycled yogurt pots. Cool LA-based brand BFBG designed the wall hanging and soft furnishing, giving the space a homely yet hip edge, whilst combined with a subtle mid-century modern vibe. Overall the space feels contemporary but approachably so, and has a distinct lived in feel to it.

Here I am pre-styling, happy to be in the hands of Stephen for a little pampering. 

Products used by the salon are bio-dynanic, meaning that the farm that grows the raw ingredients is chemical free, produces organic crops slowly and with rainwater alone, and produces no waste. OWAY products, seen here, all come in glass bottles that can be recycled or reused, the labels are made from sugar cane and bamboo, and the products are all vegan.

Even their hairbrushes our considered, using go green detanglers from WetBrush that can be thrown in landfill once they are past using and naturally break down after 5 years.

Stephen works on my hair as we chat. I was excited to hear about the salon's ethos and dedication to trying their best to cause no harm and use the resources already around. For example, the salon is kitted out to be energy-efficient, and the shower heads used to wash hair use a third of the amount of water. They even recycle hair clippings, donating them to the charity Matter of Trust to help clear up ocean oil spills.

He described how for them they just wanted to do as much as they can and educate as many people as they can, whether it's through colouring, take home products or furniture. The bottom line has to be great hair care, but if a customer comments on how much they love their powdered '"plant and mineral refresh" dry shampoo, it's even better to be able to tell them that the product doesn't contain any harmful substances and is made in an ethical way.

Here Stephen is putting the finishing touches on my new style, a fixing spray.

Giving Cyril a cuddle! You can follow Cyril's antics on instagram @cyrilbbd

I wore my Primrose Hill dress in pink rose for the occasion. It was a beautifully sunny day, and these dresses are perfect to waft about in in the heat. 

Here I am lounging at the end of my visit, feeling very relaxed and content. The best bit about Buller and Rice is that you could walk in off the street not knowing anything about the salon's ethos or dedication to sustainability and feel so at home. First and foremost it's a lovely salon offering talented stylists and a wonderful experience, but they've managed to achieve all of this whilst setting up in a sustainable way. They're a successful example of a modern business, and I wish them all the best of luck as they continue to flourish. 

Buller and Rice are open 6 days a week, and you can either call 0207 249 7727, visit their website at www.bullerandrice.com or just pop in at Newington Green to arrange an appointment. 

Justine x

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The Best Friend Dress

By Jason Edwards

The Best Friend Dress

My childhood friend Elizabeth, has owned her Irish linen Petticoat Lane dress since I launched the style in my first summer collection. Worn and loved, the linen has aged beautifully, becoming softer through every wash, and more often than not it's the dress I guess she'll wear any time we meet. She recently described it as her 'best friend' as 'you just put it on and go' and 'it's just so reliable, comfy and easy to wear'.

I'm delighted that so many customers echo this experience, many returning to buy another colour each year as they get so much wear out of it. Beautiful linen isn't cheap, but it is green and clean, antibacterial, easy to wash, sustainable to make, and keeps you cool or warm so can be worn all year long. A forever fabric for a forever dress. 

The Petticoat Lane style is easy and breezy with gently puffed shoulders, long tiered wafty skirt, a touch of hidden shaping in the bodice for a flattering cut and three quarter sleeves so the dress can be worn whether you're in 30 degree sunshine or a  drizzly 'summer' day. I live in mine whether in the garden planting a few bulbs or out for dinner. 

I've spotted some really lovely photographs of customers wearing the 'best friend' dress, and wanted to share these with you. Always good to see your pics and please do keep them coming! 

Wearing the saffron yellow ...

Here, Caroline from the blog 'Not Such a Model Mum' wears her dress in sunny Barcelona.

Below, Julia wears her dress exploring California, and my 'best friend' came with me to Lopud, Croatia.

Rose red ...

Victoria, founder of 'Made by Wave' beach accessory brand, wears her dress on a lucky British sunny spell through Richmond Park.

Duck egg blue ...

Alissa, chef, author and founder of supper club KinoVino, wore hers whilst providing a beautiful spread for a shoot with Red magazine to celebrate the launch of her cookbook Salt and Time.

The GGHQ team ...

All wearing Justine Tabak linen pieces (apart from Gill in the middle who wears her ink blue number below ...), this lovely team champion and support linen makers from flax to dress. 

Ink blue ...  

Gill at work at GGHQ
....and here's Heidi with hat in the Outback, Australia!

Peapod green ...

Marina, co-founder of the 'Bump Class' and producer of the weekly podcast 'The Parent Hood', wears her peapod dress at home.

Milk white ...

With a beautiful pink bunch of peonies in hand, Claire, from Cake and Moss adds the most perfect romantic, yet rustic touch to anything from cakes to ceramics. She wears her white dress again and again on her instagram feed. 

And Rosie, food writer, wears her dress relaxing at home.

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Summer 2019 look book

By Justine Tabak

Summer 2019 look book

Summer's finally here and let's hope we all get to see lots of sunshine whether home or abroad. 

I wanted to share with you my summer look book. We shot these pictures way back in February on a rare glorious day on the East Sussex coast and none of us could believe our luck as we felt like we'd been transported to Santorini! The house where we shot was called 'Sandcastle', an amazing Art Deco 'palace' of a home with cool wide terraces, beautiful collections of art and whimsical modernist treasures. We were so lucky to share this home for a day. 

Enjoy the sunshine wherever you are.....

Justine x

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A sneak peak behind the Spring Summer collection

By Jason Edwards

A sneak peak behind the Spring Summer collection

Behind every collection there are numerous tiny influences that slowly weave their way together to create the fabric and body of the final work. From a favourite childhood dress, fabrics from inspiring mills, paintings gazed at on rainy weekends, working with makers and customer feedback, all of these influences contribute to the creative process. 

Through running this tiny business, I'm working differently, openly and transparently with a new found freedom after years of working in the industry. I've always been very keen to share our journey with you, so whilst we are busy working on next season I wanted to take a moment to share a few 'behind the scenes' snapshots, from inspiration to sketches, fabric and colour palettes, all the way to a glimpse behind the photo shoot. 

I do hope you find this interesting and of course do send me any thoughts and ideas that you may have for the next season! 

Justine x


At the beginning we create mood and inspiration boards, this season was all about the Bloomsbury painters, Victorian aprons, ceramics, botanical paintings through to archive  Laura Ashley.

 

We then source fabrics and develop colour palettes that sit together to create mini stories to the collection. I have a big old ledger 'scrapbook' where fabrics are pasted. 

 

Designs are sketched, diagrams made, and specs given to the pattern cutters and makers. Here we have the London Fields dress. We're lucky to have worked with the same team from the beginning of the brand and know just what we are looking for. 

Lucy is our pattern cutter, draper and sample maker! Always service with a smile! 
Fitting and amending first samples.
Once the first samples are complete, we work with a small photographic team to see the clothes come to life on our regular model, Jade. Always a scary yet exciting day but James our photographer, is one of the most laid back in the business and always makes for a relaxing time.... Bob the cat creates good karma! 
And that's a wrap! With the shoot finished there's no going back ... we get on with the business of making our small production runs and load up the images on to the website.
We're off!..... 

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Our Sustainability Pledge

By Justine Tabak

Our Sustainability Pledge

As we're well into Spring with renewed energy, I wanted to talk about sustainability and transparency, and what this means to us. There's been a lot of news recently about the effects of fast fashion and thanks to the recent Stacey Dooley documentary on the BBC showing the appalling destruction of the environment through the overproduction of cotton, finally it seems that the world is waking up to the effects of fast fashion as a major polluter to our planet.  

Whilst not claiming to be an 'eco' brand, we find ourselves describing the brand as a sustainable one. However, this is a murky term. There is no one set way to be sustainable, but to us it means 'doing our best' to respect our environment, the people who are involved with our clothes and a minimal waste ethos.

So here is our sustainability pledge, defining what we mean when we say we try to be sustainable. In our own small way, we do hope that we are helping to change perceptions and work towards a more healthy and happy environment. 

The journey of our fabrics ...

  • Buying British fabrics where possible means our fabrics have a smaller carbon footprint. Even when raw fibres are not grown in this country, by sourcing locally, we cut down on air miles for transporting which adds to greenhouse gasses. By buying local we are also supporting local business. 

 

  • Pure linen is a perennial fabric within the collection. Our Irish source is beautiful and local without the need for long haul transport. Flax that is made into linen is naturally sustainable as it is grown without the need for extra water. In just 8 weeks, flax is ready to be picked, whereas the cotton plant takes around 25 weeks to harvest! 

 

  • We've started to use 'deadstock' fabrics within the collection. Deadstocks are fabrics that have been overproduced by mills, often commissioned and left over from big brands or left as stock for suppliers. These rolls, if unused, just end up stagnating in warehouses or at worst in landfill. All the processes which go into creating fabric, from growing, dyeing, weaving to finishing, uses energy and water, so by using existing fabric rather than ordering our own stocks, we don't need to repeat these processes again.

Through the hands of the maker ...
 

  • We make our pieces within London, just a short journey away from the studio, meaning that our pieces have far less distance to travel before being 'in stock'. The journey of garment to your door involves as little travel as possible, reducing carbon emissions.

 

  • We make on a continuous basis in batches through the year. This means we don't carry excess stocks and do not overproduce. We aim to sell through every single item, as we've loved creating each piece and want you to love it too. 

 

  • Our prices reflect the quality of our fabrics and British made production costs. We do not over inflate prices to reduce drastically in sales. Our makers are paid a fair wage, meaning that here in London they are paid at least a London living wage. 

Starting in the studio, ending in the studio ...
 

  • We have a seasonless approach to design, with styles that are characterful and classic to be worn for years to come, hence the term ''slow fashion'. The emphasis is on quality and forever style, not fleeting trends.

 

  • We design each piece being mindful of fabric consumption, meaning that we want to make the most of every square centimetre of cloth as it's cut.  

 

  • We post and package each piece ourselves, taking time to inspect quality and ensure each piece is received with love. We use recyclable packaging with no plastic, simple paper boxes and bags, kinder to the environment.

I hope you've enjoyed a glimpse into our process and the ways we are currently trying to do our best to be sustainable. Is there anything more you think we could be doing or trying? I'd love to hear your thoughts ...

Justine x

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Scottish Fisherman Knits

By Jason Edwards

Scottish Fisherman Knits

Whilst we've been blessed with a spot of sunshine over the last few days, there's still a nip in the air and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw more snow before spring has sprung. At the same time, my inbox has been flooded with the latest spring summer offerings, but frankly I'm not quite ready to leave my jumpers, scarves and coats behind! The high street may be racing ahead but here in slow fashion land we love a jumper slung over a dress or jeans both at this time of year and for months to come. 

My Gansey jumper, thoughtfully knitted in Scotland and based on the patterns traditionally used by fishermen for their cable knits, comes in indigo navy and grey mix, colours that embrace all seasons. I love the twisted tweed yarn which shows flecks of other tones within the colour mix. Here's Karen, one of our lovely customers, wearing the Gansey jumper around the streets of Shoreditch.

Justine x

 

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Christmas with Mina Holland

By Justine Tabak

Christmas with Mina Holland

Two weeks ago we introduced you to Mina Holland, deputy editor at Guardian Feast magazine, writer, author and eater, as she showed us around her beautiful home and wrote a special guest blog for us. To get into the festive spirit, she’s written a follow up piece which shares a favourite recipe of hers with us for the Christmas table. Without further ado, back to Mina ...

Sprouts are vital on the Christmas table. I'm happy with them in any form as long as they aren't plain boiled – such a missed opportunity when these particular mini cabbages are such sponges for flavour, and a seasonal treat. In previous years, I've variously roasted sprouts with sriracha or made a crumble with an anchovy-laced roux. But, this year, I'm applying the flavours from one of my staple roast lunch sides – Savoy cabbage with caraway seeds and butter, originally published in my book, Mamma: Reflections On The Food That Makes Us (Orion, 2017). Not only is it really easy and fabulously good (I've long held that caraway seeds are under-appreciated), but it doesn't require the oven at Christmas Day rush hour. Happy Christmas to you all!

Brussels sprouts with caraway seed and butter

Serves 4-6, as a side

50g salted butter, plus extra, to serve
1 white or yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tsp caraway seeds
1kg Brussels sprouts, trimmed, peeled and halved
Salt and black pepper
Lemon juice (optional), to serve

Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a low to medium heat. Add the onion and caraway seeds and gently cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Raise the heat slightly, add the sprouts and sweat them in the spiced butter for about five to seven minutes, or until they start to take on a golden colour, becoming a little crisp at the edges. 

Add 200ml of water, cover, raise the heat slightly and cook for five minutes before checking, stirring and, if necessary, covering again, depending on how cooked you like your sprouts. I like them to hold their shape but yield easily to the bite. Season with salt and black pepper – a generous pinch and grind should do it, and serve immediately with an extra knob of butter and a squeeze of lemon, if you like.

Many thanks to the lovely Mina, we can't wait to try this dish out over the festive period. I hope you've enjoyed this two part series getting to know Mina as much as we have, and are starting to get into the Christmas spirit and hopefully a little rest too. 

Love 

Justine x

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