Stories

We Love the NHS Dress

By Justine Tabak

We Love the NHS Dress

Today we're launching our new, limited edition dress in support of our fantastic NHS care. The NHS is something that we take for granted, and through this pandemic we have all watched their heroic contribution. As a small token of gratitude, we created this special dress in our best selling Primrose Hill dress. It's just a tiny drop in the ocean but as a small brand it's something that we wanted to do to say thank you. All of our profits from this style will be donated to the NHS via their NHS Charities Together scheme, supporting all the NHS charities as a whole. 

If you don't already know this 'favourite' dress, this time in a unique "NHS' mid blue, it is cool, comfortable and has been in the collection from the beginning. A modern prairie style, it oozes contemporary romance cut in the simplest of everlasting cotton gingham, perfect for wafting around your garden during lock down or keeping cool indoors.  

We made just 20 of these dresses with care in one of our London-based workshops over the past few weeks, and are selling these as a limited-edition batch so make sure you don't miss out; buy a dress and donate to our wonderful NHS!

A massive thank you to our beautiful model Jane, pictured wearing the dress, herself a paediatric nurse in an NHS hospital who took her valuable time out between shifts to photograph the dress. Just lovely!

Justine x

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The Last Call

By Justine Tabak

The Last Call

The last eleven days have been absolutely incredible. I can't thank you all enough for the support you've shown a small brand like mine at this most challenging time. 

With just one day left of the pop up, I wanted to share with you my two newly launched Camden Passage styles available for preorder now, and a few of my favourites that we still have stock of. Our cupboards are looking bare, but rest assured our makers have started to carefully cut so we'll be restocked soon. We're donating 10% of sales to the Felix Project, a London-based charity working to redistribute fresh, surplus food to help feed those in need.

I've been lucky to take part in this pop up alongside 11 other independent brands all hand-picked by Isabel Spearman, and what a lovely bunch they are! Each brand created an exclusive dress for the pop up, all available to buy today online with individual discounts and donations to chosen charities. Take a look to see what they've created over on the event's website ...

https://dailydressedit.com

Justine x

 

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The Virtual Daily Dress Edit

By Justine Tabak

The Virtual Daily Dress Edit

What an incredible whirlwind of a response we've had to our new Rainbow Gingham Camden Passage dress! A massive thank you to everyone who has placed a pre-order in the last few days. 

Designed in collaboration with Isabel Spearman for her Daily Dress Edit, over a cup off tea many months ago now, who would have thought that the rainbow gingham would ring so true. Made from deadstock seersucker, the neon checks positively glow woven on a white ground. Stitched up into our best-selling Camden Passage dress, long and loose cut for easy everyday dressing. 

The beauty (and sometimes frustration…) of deadstock is that you never know how much you’ll be able to find, and once it’s gone it’s gone. I have just enough fabric left to make a handful more of these beauties, so place your last orders now to avoid disappointment. Then it will be over to our makers, they’re poised ready to cut and stitch ... 

As part of the Daily Dress Edit virtual pop up I was paired with an instagram friend, and Isabel in her wisdom connected me with the wonderful Zeena. I couldn’t have asked for a better match, a rainbow dress for a rainbow person. I LOVE all the photos Zeena has taken, just beautiful. 

I'll be donating 10% of all sales from the event to the Felix Project, a London-based charity working to redistribute fresh, surplus food to help feed those in need.  

Love

Justine x

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At home with you

By Justine Tabak

At home with you

Hello lovely subscribers

I hope you're all managing to stay safe and well, and keeping your spirits up. Whilst separated, together we fight on for the hope of brighter days to come.

In recent days I've been finding pockets of joy through social media, and with that in mind I have a favour to ask ...

This season we shot our Spring collection earlier, but I’d planned to be shooting a second, more summery photo shoot featuring new pieces with my small team. With that not being a possibility right now, I thought I’d turn to you, and ask if you wanted to share snaps taken around the home or garden wearing your favourite JT style? It can be from this season or any previous, and we’ll share as many as we can on both instagram and a coming newsletter. If nothing else seeing your beautiful faces will make me smile! 

I wanted to share with you a few photos I've spotted already on instagram. Each one as unique and beautiful as the wearer...

Nikki, one half of @styleinthestix wears her gingham Primrose Hill dress looking particularly sophisticated hanging out the washing! 

Emily glances out the window from her beautiful St Tudy Inn wearing the gingham linen Whitstable dress ... @emilyscottfood 

Mirror, mirror from Rachel's bedroom, the Holkham shirt dress for those days when you feel like you need to elevate your 'working from home' outfits above PJs!

Not one but two pics (see pink flowers at top of page ) from Claire @cakeandmoss who has always taken the dreamiest of photos wearing my dresses. She wears the red gingham Primrose Hill and the chamomile lawn Riding House dress.

Lisa and Buddy ready for 'dress up Friday' in her London Fields dress. I love that she's styled this piece with her trainers! @_lisa_dawson_

Not one but two for Kate of @wearsmymoney. Whilst the first strictly speaking was taken last year on holiday, she shared this recently to remind us of all the wonderful adventures we have to come once we reach the other side. She wears the Isabel Primrose Hill dress (sadly sold out), and the Arlington floral Riding House dress.

Twinning checks with her sweet daughter, Lisa from @alwaysstylish_lisa in the navy gingham Primrose Hill dress. I love the blue Matisse in the background. 

A poppy red Petticoat Lane dress for Rachel from @stylemeshort to celebrate her son's 15th birthday.

Cara out on her daily walk in her linen Hanbury dress.

Juliet wears her mint stripe Primrose Hill dress in the sunshine of her garden this weekend.

And here's my effort, wearing my red gingham Primrose Hill dress, with my favourite cup of Yorkshire tea. Sadly looking at this picture, I realise it's time I got some potting done !

I can't wait to see your photos from wherever you may be, simply send over to support@justinetabak.co.uk or tag me on instagram.

Stay safe and sending love to you all,

Justine x

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The long and short of it ...

By Justine Tabak

The long and short of it ...

Hello lovely subscribers

In these unprecedented times I'm sure you've been incredibly touched by the spirit of community all around, neighbours looking out for each other, volunteers in huge numbers offering to help the vulnerable, and the genuine warmth of social media to connect digitally where we can’t physically. Creativity has been blossoming as people take time to slow down, becoming resourceful and watching this collective spirit has been a joy.

We had our own ‘make do and mend’ moment last week; we received our last batch in from our lovely makers before we headed into lockdown, but due to us all doing our best to follow social distancing some of our usual steps to check production were missed resulting in the dresses being made longer than planned. In these times we have to be patient, mistakes happen and most importantly all involved are safe and well, so with a glass half full I’ve found I quite like the longer length too! With the wonders of photoshop photography has been tweaked, and I’ve decided to open up offers for both lengths on the site. If you would like the longer length they’re available to buy now, or alternatively you can preorder a shorter length and I’ll arrange a detour with my sewing machine to hem for you, even posting on the extra fabric which you could then turn into a matching accessory!

Whilst some are finding it useful to use this time to engage in creative pursuits, I can honestly say that some days I’ve struggled. I’ve had days where I feel like I need to be moving and making, but equally others that it’s been hard to get off the sofa, the shock of the news still sinking in. There’s no right or wrong here, and I’m slowly learning to be as gentle with myself as I would with others. If you have been finding it useful to keep busy and connect with your creative side, we’d love to see any projects you’ve been working on at home in the ‘make do and mend’ spirit. Send any photos you have to support@justinetabak.co.uk or tag me on instagram @justine_tabak , and I’ll share your stories to celebrate our community of makers.

I'm loving these vintage wartime graphics for 'make do and mend'....

 

Along with the two Poets Road dresses we also received a fresh batch of red and white gingham and beautiful navy broderie anglaise Primrose Hill dresses. All of these styles come from the same pattern block, an easy breezy silhouette perfect for wafting indoors and out. Sizes are limited overall, and unfortunately we don’t know when we’ll be able to make any more at the moment, so please do order to avoid disappointment.

Stay safe, stay home and sending all my love,

Justine xx

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A letter to you

By Justine Tabak

A letter to you

Hello lovely subscribers 

These are truly challenging times we find ourselves in, it's difficult to put into words and absorb the ever changing situation. Family and friends separated, holidays shelved, children at home, we're all doing our best to keep busy in what has become a very stilted, surreal place. So first and foremost, stay safe and we are sending our warmest wishes to you all. 

In many ways it seems frivolous to be sending out letters about clothes and certainly, dresses could never be deemed life essentials. But what I'm learning very fast is how my tiny community, however small, has been hugely supportive and messages of positively have come flooding in. 
Over the coming days, weeks, or however long we find ourselves distancing from each other, my aim beyond all is to never loose sight of the fantastic community we’ve built here. I’d love to help share positivity and joy in any way I can. We’re all in this together!

On a practical side, this is where we are with the collection. First batches of Spring stock are safely at the warehouse where they were delivered many weeks ago. New styles 'coming soon' are sadly on hold, ready to go once these days are behind us. You can still pre order for some of these styles, and please do check out the ones in stock, lots of lovely joyful and comfy pieces for days spent at home. Any previous pre-orders should be with you very soon. 

I work with three lovely manufacturing workshops, two in London and one in Great Yarmouth. Our newest makers in Norfolk are luckily managing to carry on for the moment, albeit with stringent hygiene practices and sensitivity to their loyal staff. We are fortunate to know all our makers inside and out and all of them have been taking the right precautions for their employees, working at safe distances and wearing the correct protective clothing. Our teams are small and tight and no risks have been taken within the 'family factories'. 

With safety as top priority however, our London manufacturers have now closed for the time being and we will be supporting them through these very difficult times.

Here's Yuksel and Sital who run our two London-based manufacturing workshops respectively.

Over at our Bletchley warehouse, the wonderful Susie and her team have put some clear and stringent practices in place. They are continuing to post out your orders with attention and care, whilst practising social distancing within the warehouse space. All staff who can work from home are doing so, and those who need to be on site have been divided into two rotating teams. Hygiene is uppermost and you can be sure as safe an environment as possible. To their current knowledge their couriers are continuing but please bear with if a delivery takes that little bit longer. 

Here's Susie and Chloe back in January at the warehouse...and a packing station below...

And as for me, the studio is home based so whilst distracted with the news, it will be a time of consolidation and creativity. I'm working remotely with Chloe, and as a two man team we will keep each others spirits up remotely. New ideas will surely flourish, and we’re getting back onto our own sewing machines very soon! I'm a firm believer that adversity makes for creativity and we'll be getting in touch with you over the coming weeks to see if you'd like to get involved. 

And of course, do keep in touch, on the support email support@justinetabak.co.uk or via Instagram. The customer camaraderie is a beacon of hope within all this uncertainty and we will get through this together. 

As always, thank you for all your support, stay safe and love to you and yours. 

Justine xx

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A Mothers Day Post

By Justine Tabak

A Mothers Day Post

Hello lovely subscribers

I debated long and hard whether I should send this newsletter today. In these unprecedented times we're all struggling on a practical level, how to function in a more limited environment, and on an emotional level, it's excruciating to think of missing the company of loved ones. My parents have 180 years between them, so it's hard to contemplate how they will manage in the coming weeks. But my Mum says we 'have to keep positive and keep going', 'pull together and things will be alright'. 

So after much consideration, I decided to carry on and write about my Mothers Day offer, simply because in moments of suffering, reaching out to community is more important than ever. As trite as it sounds, I hope an element of normality will give you chance to pause and smile, refreshing the hope that we can and will get through this together. 

To Mum, to Grandma, to Mummy and if you just feel like it in these anxious times, to Me. Celebrating and cherishing our Mothers should never be forgotten in whatever way we can. It’s a small sweetener in these difficult days, but please accept a code for these colourful jumpers should you wish to send a huggable woolly in the post for this Mother’s Day. 

Use ILOVEMUM15 at the checkout for 15% off just this week. I’ll be asking my kind partners to send next day post where possible. Oh and these jumpers are made in Scotland, if there was ever a time to support local British business it’s now.

Stay safe, and please do feel free to reach out and get in touch.

Justine x

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Crafted in Norfolk

By Justine Tabak

Crafted in Norfolk

Firstly, I hope you're all managing in this period of huge uncertainty and sadness that is affecting the global community. I had planned this post a week ago and so much has changed since then. In many ways it seemed frivolous to be talking clothes when health concerns are uppermost in our minds but then I thought we still need to find pockets of joy and most importantly show our support together through our collective stories and creative communities. So if you have a quiet moment, read on to discover the story behind my new dress and maker... 

I’ve been wanting to create a shirt dress for quite some time now. A dress that makes you feel both ‘put together' yet casual, can be worn 'dressed up or down' by simply by loosening up a few buttons at the neck. Pretty and practical - the simple idea of a shirt dress epitomises everything I try to achieve through each and every style. 

So this spring I've introduced the Holkham shirt dress, inspired by vintage Edwardian work dresses and named after a pretty village from the county it is hewn. Fitted and flared to it's ruffled hem, this dress sleekly skims the body, topped by a neat rounded collar and tiny frills adorning the three quarter sleeves. Cut in deadstock cotton shirting, made thoughtfully throughout and of course with all important deep pockets. 

When it came to making this style, I wanted to find a manufacturer who was used to making shirts and found the perfect partners in Yarmouth Stores. This heritage company has been around since 1898 and famous for making classic coastal workwear -  Fishermans smocks, traditional chore jackets and aprons. They have clothed Edwardian 'herring girls' of the fishing industry, wartime work forces, aprons for shopkeepers right through to modern style mavens who love the authenticity of a real workwear jacket.

When I visited Yarmouth Stores last year, what struck me was the community spirit, with all the pattern making, cutting and sewing all under one roof. The original building, overlooking the River Yare, is a mix of painterly heritage and modern studio employing 20 machinists in its sunny upstairs workspace, beams of coastal light streaming into the airy spaces. You really felt the warmth of a traditional family business with an open friendly environment of workers, some employed for decades.  

But it hasn't always been easy and Yarmouth Stores is a splendid reminder of the few surviving manufacturers we still have in this country. Whilst so many retailers have outsourced to far flung cheaper production, Yarmouth have remained strong to its original brand and adapted over time, still making original workwear but also selling their own updated classics through their website. It's hard to find a more dedicated team of makers and crafters.

https://www.yarmouthoilskins.com

Here we share some photos and pages from the history of Yarmouth Stores ( formerly Johnson and Sons ) plus a few photos of our dress being made just weeks ago at the factory...if there was ever a time to buy and support small and local, it's now. 

Wishing you all well 

Justine x

At present day Yarmouth Stores, each dress is carefully cut on a 'lay' per size from card patterns. The cutter works out how to cut the pattern creating the least amount of cloth wastage. Bundles are created to hand over to seamstresses, who sew each 'piece' with care, from overlocking through to pressing and finishing, adding buttons and buttonholes and snipping threads.

The final result is our Holkham shirt dress, made in blue, white and beige cotton pinstripe. Available to buy online now.

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