There's been a lot of talk about these jeans, a lot of papped celebs seen wearing them. So expectations in womenswear were running high with the arrival of Frame, a denim label founded by four London and California-based friends back in 2012.
Their aim was to create the perfect pair of jeans by bringing together the quality and heritage of denim manufacturing in Los Angeles, with the influence of a London style, cut and fit. Perfect jeans is a serious feat, but we've tried and tested and we conclude that Frame are right up there.
Come and see what all the fuss is about. Here at The Hambledon we're stocking Le Garcon, a skinny boyfriend, in the Exmouth wash, and Le Skinny de Jeanne, their classic skinny, in Film Noir and Culver.
We've all been unashamedly looking forward to the end of this uncharacteristically hot weather and it's all down to one woman, Buffy Reid, the knitwear entreprenuer behind &Daughter. Guernsey knits, ribbed sweaters and chunky cardigans are just about the only things on our mind right now so we were super excited to talk knitwear inspiration, working with her dad and how she acquired the name Buffy.
What was the original inspiration behind &Daughter?
&Daughter was originally inspired by a hand knit Aran I found one Christmas that my Grandmother had made. I was working in fashion in London at the time and my friends and I all lived in knitwear but found it hard to find the type of pieces we wanted to wear- a simple crew neck in a perfect shade of navy or a chunky cable knit but in a modern shape.
My Dad had worked in knitwear his whole career and growing up we were surrounded by boxes of amazing things and that somehow felt missing from what I could find and it felt relevant.
Describe your typical working day?
Coffee about 6ish, emails and customer orders start the day. We dispatch from our studio (which is in my house) so we pack each order that comes in and then a courier comes to collect later that day. After that I usually spend the morning working on the new collection that's in development. At the moment that's AW15, so it's mood boards and sketch reviews, Skyping with the factories to catch up and feed back on prototypes coming through as well as checking on progress for the forthcoming Spring season.
The afternoon is usually lots of meetings: appointments with press or our web and production teams to discuss the site design or any upcoming campaign shoots. Then, if there’s still time left in the evening, hopefully a
glass of wine and dinner with friends.
What do you like most about what you do?
&Daughter wouldn’t be possible without the amazing skill and knowledge of the craftspeople we work with, working with them and learning from them is incredible.
How has it been going into business with your father?
It's allowed us to get to know each other and it's a lot of fun which is probably a bit of a surprise. Of course we disagree sometimes but when I go home to Donegal we visit the factories together which are in amazing parts of the countryside where my Dad grew up, it's beautiful and I feel really lucky to be able to do that with him.
Who would you most like to see wearing an &Daughter design?
I most enjoy seeing how our customers wear it. Everyone I see in &Daughter wears it slightly differently and gives it their own take, that’s exactly our intention and it's exciting to see.
Who or what inspires you?
Miuccia Prada and Phoebe Philo: two strong, intelligent women creating clothes for strong, intelligent women. They have changed the way we get dressed.
Which jumper will you mostly be wearing this winter, and how will you be wearing it?
We design &Daughter to work as a wardrobe of knitwear pieces so I tend to wear different styles for different days. I've been wearing our stripe collar t-shirt a lot at the moment as it's a great transitional piece while the weather is still warm and then I layer our boyfriend cardigan over instead of a jacket.
As it gets colder I have a feeling I’m going to be always in our rib collar tunic knit in navy - it’s incredibly versatile, for meetings in the week I’ll wear it with an A-line skirt and a chunky loafer and at weekends with some skinny jeans and flats.
What has been your proudest &Daughter moment
A customer wrote us a thank-you letter recently to say she’d lived all winter in the two pieces she’d bought from &Daughter. It was such a kind and unexpected gesture.
What would you like to do in the future?
We are taking things intentionally slowly, we want to focus on doing one
thing but doing it brilliantly well.
And finally, can we be cheeky and ask where the name Buffy came from?
Of course. My older brother couldn't say Elizabeth (my real name) when I
was born so he used to call me Buff and so for as long as I can remember I thought that was my name. It gets a little sillier as you get older but it's too late now!
Gosport is not somewhere you would associate with premium Japanese selvedge denim. But sure enough, here it is we find the unlikely outpost of Iron Heart, one of Japan's most iconic denim labels - and our latest basement addition.
Why Gosport, then? Well, it's home to Giles Padmore, a denim nut since his early teens who accumulated a collection of Levis that ultimately led him to Iron Heart and its founder, Shinichi Haraki.
Haraki-san, mostly referred to as 'Boss', is basically a denim sensei. His 20-year career started at age 23 with Edwin where he progressed from pattern maker to designer to producer/director in just three years. He launched Iron Heart in 2003, focussing on heavyweight 21oz denim that was originally aimed at the Japanese-American motorcycle community.
Giles and Haraki-san met in Los Angeles after Giles contacted Haraki-san via e-mail with a proposal to distribute Iron Heart globally. And the rest is a story of one of the most unlikely yet most successful pairings in the denim business - their market size has increased almost fifteen-fold since the partnership started out; Haraki-san at the heart of Iron Heart's aesthetic and Giles bringing his expertise in international markets.
What they do share is an absolute passion for denim; and knowing those that share that passion is the reason we had to bring Iron Heart to the basement. As far as Rob's concerned, for the denim heads and purists out there, nothing betters Iron Heart.
100% milled, designed and manufactured in Japan, this is heavyweight denim that is surprisingly soft. They use the highest quality long staple cotton which means the warp and weft don't have to be overly spun to keep their integrity. The result is jeans that will develop their own unique patina over time.
As Giles' puts it, "A pair of jeans is an extension of your personality and soul. Buy a pair that you feel great in, then wear them as much as possible before washing them, that way they will mould and fade uniquely to your body shape and the way you live. They will become part of who you are."
Here at The Hambledon we're stocking the 634s in a 21oz selvedge denim and the the The Devil’s Fit 666 slim cut jean and in an 18oz selvedge denim. Jeans for people who take denim seriously.
Never was a truer word spoken than when Laura Brown recently declared "we do a good birthday". Presents beautifully wrapped, fizz by tradition and cakstands and confetti on hand. It also helps that we have a master baker among our ranks: Victoria's daughter Mercy (a future bake off contender we think) whose expertise is called upon on ocassion. For 15 she whipped us up a Hambledon favourite - classic coffee and walnut topped with an espresso-infused buttercream (recipe below). Happy birthday to us!
For the cake:
225g/8oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
225g/8oz caster sugar
4 free-range eggs
50ml/1¾fl oz strong espresso coffee
225g/8oz self-raising flour
For the buttercream:
125g/4½oz unsalted butter
200g/7oz icing sugar
50ml/2fl oz strong espresso coffee
12 walnut halves, to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until very light and pale.
Add the eggs one at a time to the butter and sugar mixture, beating well to completely incorporate each egg before adding the next egg.
Add the espresso to the mixture and stir well.
Add the flour and walnuts and stir well to completely combine.
Spoon the cake mixture into two lined and greased 20cm/8in cake tins.
Transfer to the oven to bake 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean and the cake is golden-brown.
Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
For the buttercream topping, beat the butter and icing sugar together in a small bowl until pale and light.
Add the espresso and mix well.
Spread the buttercream over the top of each cake, then place one cake on top of the other.
Decorate the top of the cake with the walnut halves (or sprinkles in this case) and serve in generous slices.
We've long been wanting to work with the lovely ladies at Betty Magazine (one of our favourite reads) and finally the perfect opportunity arose in the form of our 15th birthday. So we asked them to compile a wishlist of their fifteen favourite Hambledon wares. And then we thought, what the heck, let's celebrate this occasion with a giveaway. Yes, people, this impeccable selection could be all yours.
(This competition is now closed)
1. Falcon Serving Tray £19.99 | 2. Mint Skyline Fountain Pen £17.95 | 3. Nail Polish Paprika £12 | 4. School Milk Bottles Crate £9.95 | 5. Where Chefs Eat £14.95 | 6. Double Star Gold Earrings £38 | 7. Popcorn Holder £2.95 | 8. Chiaverini Apricot Jam £5.95 | 9. Birthday Candle Card £3.50 | 10. Pink Love Salts £9.95 | 11. Pearl Tea Cup & Saucer £4.95 | 12. Classic Strong Mint Toothpaste £5.50 | 13. Rose & Vanilla Tinted Lip Blush £9.95 | 14. Nail Enamel Remover £10 | 15. Vintage Bouquet Long Socks £19.95
As fun as last year's traffic stopping honeycomb ball bonanza was, we decided it might be an idea to go out on location to shoot this year's lookbook. Much googling and many phone calls later we wound up back in Winchester, just down the road at Milner Hall. And what a backdrop it turned out to be, complete with all kinds of perfect props snaffled from the broom cupboard - tea urns, trestle tables and Hampshire Antiques Society signs - plus a great balcony from which to fire balloons up into the beautiful vaulted ceiling.
By the end of the shoot Victoria's son Hal had run countless errands on skateboard and bicycle, Finn was as proficient as a removals guy shifting stacks of chairs with a trolley; everyone had overdosed on the potent coffee from Black, White Red and photographer Michael had listened to way too much country music for his liking. Not that it mattered. Got the job done and we couldn't be happier with the results.
Welcome to The Hambledon Parish Hall Lookbook for Autumn 14. It’s a little bit WI, a little bit tea party, a little bit village fete but we hope it’s fully lovely. And it’s all available in store and online.