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Young British Designers feature - 'How to be in Fashion now' - 4th August 2015 Biased maybe, but the UK really is the hotbed for young fashion talent. And no other retai..

YBD and Sophie Hulme picked out by Flossie, Style Fashion Editor – July 2015

Remember back when we were interrogated by the great Kinder Aggugini about our new venture (see earlier blog entitled 'The Beautiful Dress'). The fearsome Italian Londoner needed to know that we loved fashion. Really loved fashion. That we were vibrantly alive to all of its colour, shape and texture.

He pounced quickly and in an unexpected way, asking us to recall our earliest fashion memory. He kindly shared his, or rather his mother's, earliest recollection of him being addicted to couture: Kinder, as a tiny toddler, standing with his face pressed firmly against the Chanel window during a fierce Milan winter. Such is the charm of the man that he can attribute his visage 'pressing' to the welcome heat coming from within the store as much as to the hallowed items displayed therein.

I remembered the moment I fell properly head over heels with fashion. Irretrievably. Completely. Accompanied by my first taste of impending financial disaster.

It was post school. Off the bus at the High Street, reluctant to march straight home as was the norm. Eager to spend some teenage time alone in the stolen space between schoolgirl and daughter. Coffee or bookshop? Miss Selfridge maybe? I meandered along teasing myself with all of these grown up, terribly independent choices. I was fourteen.

There was a second hand clothes shop. We would call it vintage today and hold it in the greatest esteem. But I had never even considered going in there. Until this day. Something brave made me push open the heavy wooden door and enter. The ring of the bell, the sudden feeling of being locked in all served to make me regret my action but the hooded eyes of the shop lady made me stay. I had to look as if I knew what I was doing. For saving face sake.

I flicked through one rail and stepped over to the other. One more to go and then I was out of there. But that's when I felt it. A rich fluid weight of black material. It leapt to life in my hand and I had to pull it free from the rest. It was nothing like anything I'd ever seen before. A sculpted smooth black sheath made from impossibly fluid yet boned silk. A sheer chiffon netting sat above the bodice which extended in a swathe to the collarbone and down to the elbows, a black satin edge to the chiffon at the sleeve ends and dipping over the shoulders to the mid back. I didn't know that clothes like this existed in real life, only upon some faraway Hollywood screen.

"Try it on."

The matriarch's face had softened a little. "Go on, it will suit you. Try it on."

I can't begin to explain how slipping that dress over my head made me feel. The rush of silk against my skin, its coldness which became a living warm. Its cosseting of my frame, its caress. All that I had known, all that I had worn before had become mere body protection, pretty nonsense to cover me up, to keep me warm. This was about art, creation, the divine. This dress made me glow. Someone very special had had a vision, had thought through every stitch, every detail, every drape, every texture, every which way it interacted with a woman's shape. Someone had wanted to make someone else feel, for a moment, a night, for every time she wore it, like a Goddess.

All of my money in the whole world at that time added up to £5.00. The dress was labelled £5.50. The very nice, after all, hooded eyed lady allowed me to have it. I had no more money for an entire month. I didn't care. I would have happily starved.

I still have it. The point of this story is not only to proclaim the obvious to the world- that Young British Designers love fashion- but to demonstrate one of our founding principles: if we don't love it we don't stock it. Sound business advice would say that this is a fatally flawed model, that we should stock the popular, the proven, the safe. But that, for us, flies in the face of a true love of fashion. Fashion is intensely personal, intensely emotional. Fashion is about risk, we've said it before and we'll keep on saying it. Our designers take risks. some of those risks thrill us to the very core:

The Beautiful Dress from Kinder Aggugini. The Rolling Drums dress from Jena.Theo. The Heather Wrap Coat from Ada Zanditon. The Rachel Penguin skirt from Charlotte Taylor. The Striped Mohair Jacket from Danielle Scutt. David Longshaw's Emily dress. The Shearling Boyfriend Jacket from Elliot Atkinson. Elliott J Frieze's Cashmere Tier dress. Emesha's Corseted Cocktail dress. The Pedaru Coat from Eudon Choi. Felder Felder's Wilma dress. Felicity Brown's Astride Bruant gown. The Hand Painted tunics from Irwin & Jordan. Issi's Volcano Messenger Bag....We could go on and on. We will.

But there is nothing that you will see this September that hasn't been chosen with all of the passion aroused in a fourteen year old girl by a 1940's dress many, many moons ago.



What's your earliest fashion memory? Tell us and we'll send a silken Charlotte Taylor penguin headscarf to the entry/entries that make us smile, laugh, cry...Contact us via Twitter, Facebook or right here.

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Lira Leirner the Portmanteau

It was my seventh birthday and the pianist Maria Joao Pires dedicated her concert to me as a birthday present in the concert hall of the State Museum of Felicia Leirner (my great-great aunt). My overjoyed reaction was that of falling asleep. There was a picture of me wearing a navy blue velvet dress, asleep in my mother's arms in the national newspapers the following day entitled "Born with a silver spoon in her mouth". I told my sister "Wow, this dress makes me look like I'm about nine!" That was the first time it hit me that fashion makes a difference.

Monday 9 August 2010 - 9:00pm

Mariana Moyano

My earliest fashion memory is -in fact- one of my earliest memories. I was about 3 years old, the day my mother, heavily pregnant with my sister went for grocery shopping and took me with her. It was a sunny morning and I remember stepping out of the house and being invaded by an immense sadness and frustration because I didn't have a handbag. How could I possibly go out without a handbag? It wasn't about having my mother's, or about having money to put in it, it was about carrying something with me that would make me feel independent, grown up, free even from the hands of my mother who had other things to look after (yes that was a rebellious form of jealousy). My lounges were apparently then, as loud as they can be today and my tantrum was heard by a kind neighbour who came to my mother's rescue with a black fabric purse with silver brooch, a gorgeous vintage piece with a colourful embellishment of sequins and beads forming flowers. .

That's the day I learnt that what you wear can change your perception of the things, alter your mood and make you face the world in a different way. And of course I now never leave the house without a handbag.

Monday 9 August 2010 - 10:32pm

George Walker

My earliest fashion memory is my Dr Who coat. Now this wasn't actually an official Dr Who coat (even at the age of nine I knew that a floor length men's coat is a fashion no-no.) The coat in fact came from a high street shop and was made up from a selection of different coloured tweeds.

My coat became 'the Dr Who coat' from games in my grandparents' garden, where me and my cousins would transform the large and overgrown paths and fields into a fantasy land populated with any creatures are minds could think of. My coat brought extra respect in these games. When I brought the coat to the garden - and, naturally, I always did, even in summer - I was instantly made the best character in our games: Dr Who.

Sadly the coat didn't earn much respect at school. There it was a point of ridicule; its strange tweed patchwork finish didn't really fit in with the sporty stripes and popper closures of my classmates. Come to think of it, perhaps dressing like a 70 year old at the age of nine wasn't the best idea...but it was what I liked. It taught me that fashion is about following conventions for many, but for some it's about wearing what makes you happy, even if you sometimes find yourself cast out from the circle.

Although at school the coat was known as the 'granddad coat' - or worse, the 'tramp coat' - to me and my cousins it was always my Dr Who coat and that's how I'll remember it.

Tuesday 10 August 2010 - 12:19pm

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