We’re having a major fashion moment in womenswear this week, making space on the rails for new label Shrimps. Super cool, beautifully crafted and slightly bonkers, this is the Pre SS/18 collection we’re most excited about. And we’re not the only ones. In just a few short years Shrimps has attracted a cult-like following in London fashion circles and beyond.
The story starts back in 2013 when founder Hannah Weiland (Shrimps is her childhood nickname), had her fateful first encounter with a sample of premium faux fur while studying at London College of Fashion. Inspired, she soon after launched Shrimps with a debut collection of pick-n-mix coloured faux fur coats. Laura Bailey championed the label from the start and it wasn’t long before Natalie Massenet took note, one day chasing Bailey down the street to ask her where her coat was from and promptly placing a sizeable order.
Four years on, the label has evolved into a full ready-to-wear offering featuring fun knitwear, soft tailoring, pretty dresses and quirky accessories alongside the signature faux fur outerwear. Weiland credits Grayson Perry and her 91-year-old grandmother as muses; the look is part modern, part nostalgic, always a mishmash of colours, textures and print.
The Pre SS/18 collection is all of these things; animal print and gingham, peter pan collars, ruffles and bows. Not forgetting the sherbet coloured faux fur. This is one cult we want in on.
Just as the nights draw in and we’re careering towards Christmas, along comes PreSS18, taking us a bit by surprise as always with a lovely promise of what’s to come once the festivities are all over and done.
This is a collection to see us through the dark days, guiding us with ease from one season to the next with a palette of pastels and plenty of fun.
Bellerose and MiH lead the way, throwing soft metallics, a spot of leopard print, beautiful embroidery and classic stripes into the mix. Then enters newcomer Shrimps with pastel fake fur, peter pan collars and gingham; Mes Demoiselles and Pyrus with floaty stars and ditsy florals; and St. Erasmus with the most beautiful, OTT bling.
Nevermind midwinter, we’ll be happily playing dress up.
Workwear; we’ve seen it inspire many a menswear collection over the last few years and we continue to be big fans of the aesthetic. That said, we're very much welcoming a fresh take this season with thanks to basement newcomers M.C. Overalls, a label with a long and industrious history manufacturing workwear since 1908.
Not that you’d know it, because M.C. Overalls aren’t peddling their heritage like most. And we love that. What we see instead is a great collection of hardwearing pieces adapted for the modern streetwear market. Straightforward Ts, trousers and jackets constructed from polycottons, heavy denims, technical fleece and jersey. And yes, we have overalls too.
Available in-store from this Friday, coinciding nicely with the opening of the label’s first bricks and mortar store on Carnaby’s Newburgh Street. Congrats M.C. Overalls, we're super proud to be exclusive UK stockists for AW17.
At last, there’s a nip in the air and with it comes a very nicely timed drop of knitwear from basement newcomers Country of Origin. Against the backdrop of soulless mass production, this is a label doing things differently and producing truly beautiful knitwear in the process.
Founders Ben Taylor (a filmmaker) and Alice Liptrot (a University of Brighton fashion textiles graduate who previously worked for Donna Karan) started out determined there had to be a better way to produce contemporary clothes that are honestly made, highly desirable, and made in Britain. They wanted to produce clothes that lasted longer than a season, and for there to be transparency about where things come from and how they are made, hence the brand name.
All of this proved easier said than done, however. The pair scoured the country looking for manufacturers and found large minimum orders stacked up against them. So instead they turned to 19th-century textile technology: hand-powered, hand-framed knitting machines, the happy halfway between mass-market, computer-controlled machines and hand knitting with needles.
Today the label occupies a small strip of land between two train tracks in South London, a none too salubrious setting where they design and make bespoke orders on a hand-framed knitting machine, with their ready-to wear collection hand-framed in Hawick, one of Scotland’s specialist knitwear centres. Inspired by modernist art and design of the twentieth century, this is a subtle Mondrian on a beautifully crafted jumper, a good knit with an interesting primary colour stripe or trim. All the stuff we really, really like.
Japan has been making waves in the menswear world for a good few years now with Tokyo seen as a breeding ground for emerging talent, and the industry out there fast earning a reputation for impeccable quality and attention to detail. And as the noise has hit our shores we’ve been steadily turning our attention in its direction and finding ourselves increasingly impressed with what we’ve been seeing and buying.
While they may take their references from different places, what resonates from all of these great Japanese labels is a commitment to producing high quality, hugely wearable and timeless pieces; an approach that is forward thinking and respectful of heritage in equal measures.
As Rob says, the fabrics are second to none; theirs are the pieces that will still be hanging in your wardrobe when everything else has faded and died. And while first impressions reveal beautifully simple and functional garments, look a bit closer and soon you notice heaps of personality and loads of great little details.
AW17 offers shining examples of all these things from menswear’s Japanese gathering. Beams drawing inspiration from Ivy League America, this season exploring texture with beautiful mohair and Melton pieces. A Vontade, referencing US and European military, workwear and sportswear, excelling in clever detailing for AW17. RoToTo socks, classic as they come in appearance, crafted from a fabric that regulates temperature at the skin’s surface using NASA technology. Made in Japan, these are the labels to look to for something that little bit extra.
Steeped in denim history, MiH has always been somewhat retrospective in its approach, often recalling its 70s heritage in its collections. (Founder Chloe Lonsdale is daughter of Tony Lonsdale, the man behind the legendary Jean Machine stores, and denim model Chekkie Maskell).
This season, however, MiH is taking us back to the 90s with Golborne Road by Bay Garnett, a capsule collection inspired by the West London style scene of the 90s; a vintage scene which is legendary, emanating from Portobello Road market - stretching from Golborne Road to Westbourne Grove. It was a time that introduced a new way of dressing; mixing vintage, denim and streetwear in a seemingly slapdash way that continues to define good street style today.
Pioneering the look was famed British stylist Bay Garnett; Golborne Road was her running ground, and this capsule collection, a curated selection of just eight vintage treasures thrifted over the years, plucked from her archives and faithfully reproduced for the masses.
Here at The Hambledon we're stocking the Tiger Camo Shirt and Turner Dress, two classic and downright fabulous pieces, which we're tempted to wear together in true Golborne Road style.
There’s a small town on the west coast of Wales called Cardigan where lots of really good stuff happens. Much of it is thanks to major do-ers David and Clare Hieatt, who returned to their native Wales after a stint in London back in the 90s. They founded (and later, sold) the original Howies clothing company (you might recall we stocked it for some time), moved to a farmhouse on the edge of Cardigan, dreamt up the Do Lectures (a lecture series which they still hold annually in their cow shed) and set up The Hiut Denim Company, which we’re really pleased to welcome to both menswear and womenswear this season.
Hiut came about after the David and Clare found out about Cardigan’s former denim industry; four hundred locals had been employed making jeans; 35,000 pairs of them a week, for three decades. Until, one day, the factory closed and the business went overseas. The discovery was a bit of a eureka moment for the couple and there and then, the seed for The Hiut Denim Company was sown; a means of bringing manufacturing back home, using the skill on their doorstep, breathing new life back in to the town, and making some really good jeans in the process.
Hiut’s whole ethos is ‘do one thing well’ and that’s what they stick to; using the best quality denims, cutting them with an expert eye, and letting their ‘grand masters’ at the sewing machines do the rest. Even with the music loud and the coffee strong, they can only make 100 pairs of Hiut's a week. But that’s ok, because they are really, really good.
This is the rigid denim we’ll all be wearing this season. For the girls, a classic slim leg style called Coda, a button fly mid-rise crafted from raw denim. Then there’s the Girlfriend, lower in the rise, sitting just above the ankle, made from 13.oz denim, rinsed once. Heading down to menswear you’ll find the Organic Slim, Slim Tapered and Selvedge Slim, all getting the seal of approval from Rob, our chief denim fanatic.
Only question is, will you be joining the Hiut No Wash Club? An elite club, where six months without washing means six months - no cold dip in the bath, no getting caught in the rain without an umbrella - all in pursuit of the most beautiful pair of jeans you've ever owned. The bar has just been raised, Hambledon denim lovers, say hello to The Hiut Denim Company.
If you’ve ever coveted a beautiful pair of vintage Levi’s, or found the perfectly frayed and faded pair only to be disappointed by a baggy leg and unsightly crotch, then you need to know all about womenswear’s latest arrival, Re/Done. We’re one of a very select few UK retailers, with limited stock available, and hugely excited because we think we just hit upon the holy grail of denim. No stretch, advanced dyeing processes, or strategically placed rips and tears here, just genuine vintage jeans, worn in to perfection, that also fit to perfection.
And here’s the secret. Re/Done actually take vintage Levi’s apart at the seams and re-purpose the fabric, cutting it to achieve a modern fit. Founded by entrepreneurs, Sean Barron and Jamie Mazur, the brand was born because "all the cool chicks we knew wore vintage Levi's but had them tailored to fit better". It took them almost a year to arrive at the process of taking apart Levi’s that were made for men and re-cutting them to fit women. Now they manufacture their jeans in Downtown LA, with quantities limited since each pair is handpicked, hand cut, and distinctly one of a kind. They like to think of Re/Done as a movement rather than a denim company; a movement to restore individuality in the world of mass-produced fashion, to keep heritage brands relevant and create sustainable fashion.
Here at The Hambledon, we’ve managed to lay our hands on two styles from both their Re/Done Originals line and Re/Done Vintage line. Re/Done Originals replicate the dye history and are created ‘in the spirit of’ vintage Levi's. We’ve got the straight skinny stretch and a high-rise ankle crop. The Vintage line is crafted from genuine, vintage Levi’s and we’re stocking the high-rise ankle crop as well as a relaxed crop. We’ve also got a few of their re-modelled Champion sweatshirts and Hanes Classic Ts to complete the classic Americana look.
A company, a movement, whatever Re/Done is, we're firm fans and followers of what they’re doing. And we’re not the only ones. Be quick, very quick, is all else that needs to be said.
Bellerose can always be relied on to freshen up the rails, and here they are again, hitting us with the perfect antidote to winter right when we need it. Spring '17 is classic Bellerose, just the right mix of everything. There's a good print. Bright stripe jumpers. Varsity-style tops. A cute rain jacket. Pretty embroidered blouses. And our favourite linen Ts. Everything we're going to be craving as soon as the 25th of December has been and gone.
'Tis the season so every excuse to go all out in the glitz and glam stakes. Heavy sequins, intricate lace, showy frills, metallic leather; our Christmas collections from Custommade, Mads Norgaard and Stella Nova have hit the rails along with plenty of other party pieces. Standouts include a gold leather miniskirt and heavy sequin dress from Mads Norgaard, sparkly clutches from Beck Sonderagaard, sheer lace tops from Custommade and pointy silver snakeskin boots from Hudson.