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Q&A with Caroline Rowland, author of The Shopkeeper's Home

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Well, imagine how pleased we were when Caroline asked if she could feature us in 91 Magazine. Imagine how pleased we were when she asked if she could include us in her book. And imagine how very delighted we were to be on the cover of 'The Shopkeeper's Home', fresh from the publishers this week. We asked Caroline to give us the inside track on writing a book, and what she thinks of shopping.

What gave you the idea for The Shopkeepers Home?

Well shopping and interiors are two of my greatest passions, and I started running a feature in 91 Magazine where we shot a shop interior and the owner's home, and I really loved how it was working. I'd been in discussions with my publisher, Jacqui Small, for a while, and it came to me that this would translate really well into a book, and would totally indulge my love of shopping and interiors!

How do the European, American and Australian stores differ from the British shops featured in the book?

All the shops that are featured are independent shops - many of them stocking lots of products from local designers and makers, so I think there is definitely a sense of location running through most of the shops. The UK ones feel quite 'British' and quirky, the US ones have a feeling of Americana about them - you can spot things like a 'California' pennant or a stars and stripes flag, or American style vintage signage for example. The European ones are very cool and stylish. But they all tie together in the sense that I feel they represent my style in some way - I love vintage but I like to mix it with contemporary design, and I love crafting and handmade things too.

Are you an enthusiastic shopper? What do you like buying?

I LOVE shopping! Anywhere we travel to, either in the UK or abroad, I will always be keeping my eyes peeled for great shops, and have usually done a bit of research beforehand. To be honest, you could quite possibly put me in any shop in the world and I will find something that I want to buy!! I am trying to be a little more restrained of late as I do want to simplify things in our home a little, so I'm trying to only buy things I really really love, but it is hard, I'm a total magpie, always looking for lovely things!

How does making a book differ from writing a blog or putting together a magazine?

A book is obviously a much bigger task. The word count can initially be quite scary, but I decided the best way to approach it was in little bitesize chunks, especially as I was having to work around my new baby! I kind of treated each little section as if I was writing a magazine feature, although the writing style is different. The voice I use on my blog is very different to the voice I use for magazine features and again for the book.

Describe your typical working day?

As I say, I currently have to work around my 15 month old daughter. At the moment she has a nap after lunch so this is when I have a chance to do any project work or writing I need to get done. I generally answer emails once she is in bed at 7pm. She now goes to a childminder two days a week which has made things a lot easier as I can put my full attention on my work for those days. In terms of what I do, it is really varied. Sometimes I am writing features for Mollie Makes magazine, sometimes I am working on things for my book publisher (I also do picture research projects for them), sometimes I am blogging. I love how varied my job is, and I never get bored of it! .

What do you like most about what you do?

The variety is great, as I mentioned above, but it is also the fact that every day I get to write, blog or research things that I am really passionate about. I get to work with so many great and inspiring people too. Work is an absolute joy to me and I'm so happy that I made the leap from being in employment to being freelance and doing what I love every day.

Who or what couldn't you work without?

I think I would be lost without my iPhone. It helps me to keep on top of things all the time. Sometimes if I'm out pushing the buggy I'll also be checking emails, I'm surprised I haven't walked into any lampposts!!

What's your guilty pleasure?

Like a lot of people, it is probably chocolate! I eat way too much of it! Being a busy mum I often just grab a bar of chocolate to keep me going which is really bad! I love fancy chocolate, but I am just as happy with a bar of galaxy or a bag of giant buttons if I'm honest!! ;) 

What's next?

There are some secret projects in the pipeline as well as planning where I am going with 91 Magazine in 2016. I've had to take a break from it while I focussed on the book and becoming a mum for the first time, so I hope to make a plan to take it forward next year. We're also in the process of buying a new house which is a massive redecoration project that is probably going to take years, so there will be lots of material for the blog there!  

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Style Inspiration: Linda McCartney AW15

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Story 2 for our womenswear collections. Autumn Winter 15 is very strongly influenced by the 1970s. But we didn't want to take it into a flares and tie dye parody of the decade. We were looking for something more real and a bit more attainable for ordinary life.

Linda McCartney, with her effortless joie de vivre, her natural beauty and her sense of fun, is our muse for the season. We've taken inspiration from her Scottish rural idyll at High Park Farm in Kintyre. This is a life of fresh air, beaches, horses and children. Think fairisle knits, casual denim and chunky tweed and channel your inner Linda with MiH, &Daughter, Leon & Harper and Sessun.

Linda. We salute you.

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Craie Bags

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We love a handbag and a bag with a split personality suits us even better. French designers Craie have created the perfect bag for every occassion; sparkly on the outside and plain on the inside. Or do you want to reverse that? How about two colour options? In case you can't understand what our vacillating brains are on about, watch the helpful little video below.

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Inspired Bonne Maison

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Our favourite sock makers have taken Ancient Greece and Japanese Kimonos as their inspiration this season, but only they could go via Nicholas Party, Jean Arp and David Hockney. The result is their trademark block patterns and impressionistic style dyed on to high quality Egyptian cotton yarn which is then spun into super fine and comfortable socks. Your feet will never have been so well dressed.

Shop AW15 Bonne Maison Socks
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Style Inspiration: Paris Metro AW15

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Every season we like to have a theme, or a couple of themes, on which to hang our womenswear collections. We spotted a bit of a gamine Parisian thing going on for Autumn Winter 15 and we've called it Paris Metro.

Here's our take on French chic. It's all about oversize knits, cocoon coats, ladylike blouses, matelots and a boyfriend jean. We're loving Charlotte Gainsbourg and Jean Seberg for that insouciant boy/girl androgyny thing and we're loving Simone de Beauvoir for a bit of intellectual rigour. It's all about looking as if you really haven't tried.

Get the look with Des Petits Hauts, Bellerose, Sessun and Mads Norgaard.

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Tricker's X The Hambledon

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Our annual, exclusive collaboration with Tricker's has just arrived in store. Based on the classic Tricker's shoe, coincidentally called Robert (although our Rob assures me this has nothing to do with his choice of style), we have two options. Check out burgundy calf upper with natural welt or espresso calf with self coloured welt (a cleaner finish). Both have dainite sole units. Both have choice of three laces. Both have blind eyelets (no metal rings). Both are £370. And both are limited edition. So hurry on over.

Tricker's Shoes have been handmade in Northampton for 180 years and the company is still run, five generations later, by the Baltrop family. They have one 'Quality Standard' so every shoe undergoes the same rigorous production process of 250 separate operations from start to finish. 

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The return of our Hudson friends

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Our lovely friends at Hudson (thank you Claire, Madeleine, Sandra and Bronagh) have been working their shoe shop magic on the womenswear floor. We've marshalled the old decorating ladder and the chip board and the Hudson Project is now live. And we have just about every kind of boot for every kind of occasion. Old favourites biker Tatham, riding boot Wistow and preppie loafer Stanford are making a comeback. But we're introducing lots of new including Apisi, a grey velvet cowboy (howdy); Azi, a winter white cowboy (likewise, howdy); Bisque, a leather hi top and Crispin, a chunky heeled and pointy toed dressing up boot.
And don't forget the competition. Sign up to our mailing lists and you could win an overnight stay at Cowley Manor (with dinner and spa treatments), a pair of Hudson boots and £50 to spend at The Hambledon.
Hudson is celebrating its 25th Year so we're very pleased to be part of the party. 

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Provenance: Patagonia

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Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia's founder, got his start as a climber in 1953 as a 14-year-old member of the Southern California Falconry Club, which trained hawks and falcons for hunting. He was taught how to rappel down the cliffs to the falcon aeries. He soon started hopping freight trains to Stoney Point and eventually learned to climb. From there he moved on to the big walls of Yosemite..

 In Yosemite, multi-day ascents required hundreds of placements of soft iron pitons which were placed once, then left in the rock. In 1957 Chouinard decided to make his own reusable hardware. He went to a junkyard and bought a used coal-fired forge, a 138-pound anvil, and started teaching himself how to blacksmith..

 In the 60’s Chouinard began his business by forging and selling steel pitons to sustain his climbing. He could forge two of his in an hour, and sold them for $1.50 each.  Since most of his tools were portable, he’d load up his car and travel the California coast from Big Sur to San Diego, surfing and forging pitons.  By 1965, there was enough demand for Chouinard's gear that he couldn't keep making it by hand. He had to start using tools, dies and machinery. He began redesigning and improving almost every climbing tool, to make them stronger, lighter, simpler, and more functional.  

 In 1970, Chouinard Equipment had become the largest supplier/manufacturer of climbing gear in the North America. But as climbing became more popular, it also remained concentrated on the same routes. The fragile cracks had to endure repeated hammering of pitons, both placement and removal of pitons caused severe disfiguring of the rock face.

 After an ascent of the degraded Nose route on El Capitan which had been pristine a few summers earlier, Chouinard decided to phase out of the piton business. In 1972, pitons were discontinued and an editorial was written for the catalog advocating “Clean Climbing” the use of aluminum chocks and slings instead of chrome- molybdenum steel pitons.   Within a few months of the catalog's mailing, the piton business had atrophied; chocks sold faster than they could be made.  It was at this point that he began to see a correlation between the environment and business.

Clothing became part of the Chouinard Equipment catalog with the introduction of Rugby shirts to be used for climbing. The soft goods line expanded to include polyurethane anoraks and bivouac sacks from Scotland, boiled-wool gloves and mittens from Austria, and hand-knit reversible "schizo" hats from Boulder. Chouinard believed that clothing must be as efficient as climbing equipment: an alpinist on a bivouac needs to stay warm when it is cold and feel comfortable when it is warm. In 1973, the name Patagonia was founded. The name was chosen because of Chouinard’s love of the region, it would broaden the appeal beyond climbing and it can be pronounced in every language. 

 

Patagonia A/W15 is now available in our Winchester store.


Menswear A/W'15

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Anonymousism, Apenteur, Baracuta, Barena, Beams Plus, Buzz Rickson's, Carhartt, Champion by Todd Snyder, Christys', Converse, Edwin, Engineered Garments, Engineered Garments Workaday, Fidelity, Filson, Gitman Bros, Grenson, Hawksmill Denim Co., Hestra, Howlin', Iron heart, L.V.C., Merz b. Schwanen, Moray Cashmere, Moscot, Norse Projects, Oliver Spencer, Our Legacy, Patagonia, Portuguese Flannel, Redwing, Sunspel, Tanner Goods, Tellason, Trickers, Universal Works and Woolrich.

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Q&A with Fraser Trewick, Founder of Hawksmill Denim Co.

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We are delighted to welcome brand new British denim brand Hawksmill to the basement. Based in Brighton, manufactured on vintage Union Special machines, using exclusive Cone Mills selvedge cloth and drawing inspiration from European and American workwear, this is set to get the denim heads hearts racing. We asked founder, CEO and designer Fraser Trewick to tell us a bit about the Hawksmill story.

I've known you since your days with Nudie and I know indigo runs though you veins, was this the main reason to go and start up by yourself ?

I've alway had an interest in denim since I was a teenager. In the 80s it was a big thing to buy vintage Levis, and I soon noticed that some of the jeans I was buying were of far superior quality to others. With a little research I discovered that these were the jeans that were made before the age of mass production. They tended to have a capital E on the red tab and were made from selvedge fabric. That was when my love affair with denim began and it's alway been an aspiration to create my own label. Myself and my partner Anthony Smith have had this planned for sometime and just felt that now was the right time to introduce our ideas to the market.

Was it always the intention to go out and work with Cone mills ? How did that come about ?

Before I began Hawksmill I worked for a while with a denim factory in Bristol Tennessee. As part of the project I was lucky enough to visit the Cone Mills White Oak plant in North Carolina. It's the last place left in the US manufacturing selvedge denim and is currently celebrating its 110 anniversary. For me it's where everything started and seemed an obvious choice when selecting fabrics for Hawksmill.

When you designed the cuts did you find inspiration from those much loved favourites that we all have in our wardrobes?

Of course when putting together the jeans we would take inspiration from vintage pieces, but this was more in terms of construction. The fits were created from scratch and were a long time in development. The main aim was to offer something for everyone. Hence, we created 5 classic fits which we felt would appeal to a wide audience.

Do you think the man in the street has a better take on how a pair of jeans should be compared to 10 years ago? If so why do you think this is?

The main reason has to be the internet. Now knowledge which was once difficult to accumulate from specialist dealers and books is widely available on the web. This is a hugely positive thing, and a lot more people understand the work that goes into a premium pair of jeans. Without this growing audience Hawksmill Denim Co would not be able to exist.

Tell us 3 important things that you've learned about starting a denim brand?

1. You're only as good as the people you work with.

2. Never compromise on quality.

3. Focus on what you're doing and don't worry about what anyone else is up to.

 

The Hawksmill A/W15 collection is now available in our Winchester store.