It’s not surprising that I love this new collection by Lu Flux called A Mouthful of Milk Teeth. It combines patchwork, kid’s clothes and knitwear – three of my favourite things. Each piece is made to order from a mix of cotton and wool yarns and the items have great names, like Gummy Trousers, Flossy Skirt and Molar Helmet. Hmm, it’s all a lot more fun than going to the dentist.
Have you heard about Kid & Coe yet? It’s a new family friendly holiday rental website, which aims to simplify modern family travel. It sounds amazing, because let’s face it, holidaying with kids can be hard work. I know because I’ve just spent two months travelling around the UK with a baby and a toddler!
All the places on Kid & Coe are designed to feel like a home from home, with lots of toys, children’s books and places to play. And the most exciting bit is that we are on there! We are so excited to be part of the Kid & Coe stable. When I first heard about Kid & Coe, I knew it was going to be great but now that I have had a good look through all of the homes, I feel very honoured to be on there – there are so many beautiful places to stay. Seriously, there are some amazing houses in destinations all over the world including London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Iceland, Copenhagen, Kerala and of course, magical Cornwall. I’ve included a sample of pictures above but I hope to feature some full house tours of my favourite homes in the coming months. Click here to visit the site.
One of the very first pieces of clothing that I bought for Wren was a cute little printed romper from a small label called What Mother Made at Broadway Market. I was immediately drawn to the traditional shapes and colourful prints on the stall and thankfully, I wasn’t the only one. What Mother Made have continued to grow, and they now produce a large collection of handmade kid’s clothes that look like your Mother could have made them. Their new Autumn/Winter collection has just launched, so I chatted to founder Charlotte to find out a little more about the brand.
What inspired you to start What Mother Made? My grandmother used to make my Mum’s clothes, my Mum used to make my clothes, so this passion for making garments is in our family and has always existed. I really wanted to carry on that tradition, it’s something I feel we’ve lost in recent years. What Mother Made initially started as a hobby, then for the Royal Wedding we made a few pieces to sell at a local craft market. Everything sold out and since then we haven’t looked back. What are the ideas behind the most recent collection?
We were looking through family photos of when we were children, reminiscing. The clothes we were dressed in gave me food for thought. The shapes and textures were amazing and so it inspired us to create our own ‘heritage’ collection. What materials do you use and where do you make the clothes?
We hand-make everything from a studio in Dalston, East London, and we’re proud that we have been able to keep the process British. We use a lot of different fabrics; cottons, herringbone wool, African prints and fleck tweeds. Texture is really important to the new collection and the extra dimension it gives to the clothing. Where do you sell?
We’re stocked in a number of places across London at the moment (In With the Old, 57 Amwell Street, EC1R 1UR, Archie’s Boutique) as well as through our website www.whatmothermade.co.uk. We’ve also kept the original stall we had when we first started the business over 2 years ago at Broadway Market, Hackney, every Saturday from 10am – 5pm. Do you have any children? If so, what is your favourite thing to do with your kids?
Yes we have two. Madison who is six, and Arlo who is about to turn one. At home with the children we love making things; cars, magic telescopes, treasure boxes out of cereal boxes and bottle tops. If you can glue it or cut it, they’ll be making something out of it! What is your favourite children’s book?
We recently bought the entire Roald Dahl collection at a car boot sale and are currently reading The Witches with Madison. They are absolutely timeless those stories and reading them to Madison is like being transported back to your youth. They’re just brilliant to read. Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
Lots, we’re in the middle of planning for next year’s seasons and we’re looking to take the brand to Australia and Scandinavia towards the end of the year. We’re also looking into British collaborations so watch this space…
I recently bought Wren the Bude trouser by Tootsa MacGinty from a great local kids shop. I was intrigued by the name (as we live in Bude) and wondered if they were a local company. A quick google told me no, they’re based in London, but no doubt designer Kates’ love of surfing inspired the name (this is a major surfing area!)
I am very impressed with the quality and style of the trousers and bought them, fully intending that they would eventually be passed down to little brother Fred. It turns out that all Tootsa MacGinty’s clothing (apart from a few dresses) is unisex. Kate founded the brand in reaction to the overwhelming genderisation of children’s clothes – sludgy colours and camouflage for boys and glitzy princess themes for girls. “I believe our world is filled with colour, and everything is a possibility,” she says, “children like colour, they have big imaginations, they enjoy pretending, they love to dream and for them the world is full of possibilities. I don’t intend to limit their imaginations or make their world smaller by putting them in a sea of pinks and blues, or clothes that look like they were meant for adults.” I couldn’t agree more and contacted Kate to find out more about the brand.
What inspired you to start Tootsa MacGinty?
It’s a complete cliché but the birth of my daughter! And a subsequent return to living in London after living in Australia, the US and France since my late teens. I was working as a womenswear designer and was shocked by the stark gendering of children’s wear and toys on offer on the British high street, so set about creating a stylish alternative. Where does the name come from?
It is actually a term of endearment my daughter’s father uses. It is completely made-up gobbledygook!
I didn’t want to choose a name that already had a preconceived connotation. I like that it is phonetic, sounds nice and looks good when written ….and is easy to Google! What are the ideas behind the current collection?
The current Spring/Summer 2013 collection is inspired by the long summer holidays of childhood. In my memory they felt endless (no doubt, when my daughter starts school, as a parent they’ll feel eternal!)
British seaside influences are found throughout the collection, such as the colourful “bunting” all over print, deckchair stripes, ice lollies, donkeys and sea creatures. What materials do you use and where do you manufacture?
We always use natural materials (100% cotton, lambswool, cashmere etc.) and choose fabrics that wear and wash well; it is important that the garments will last to pass down to another child.
We do most of our manufacturing in Portugal and a very small amount of denim comes from China.
Everything is delivered softly pre-washed, itch free, pre-shrunk and ready-to-wear. What is your favourite thing to do with your daughter?
Walking our big hairy sheep dog Rufus, going to see a good movie together (a bit of a rarity in kids film but when you see a good one it’s great to watch her little face light up!) Also, I like to get my running gear on and my daughter will jump on her scooter. No personal bests are ever achieved but it’s a good way to let off some steam. Plus baking and cooking – her favourite bit is the washing up! What is your favourite children’s book?
I love all the books by Allen and Janet Ahlberg. I read them as a child and now enjoy reading them to my daughter. Dr Seuss is great too. Fabulous to read-out-loud and always with a great moral story – The Lorax has felt particularly relevant of late. Does Tootsa MacGinty have any exciting plans for the future?
We have extended our range up to a size 8 year old – available in late July/early August 2013. We’ve also just launched into the US market and I am looking forward to returning to New York this summer to build on the contacts and stockists we have already made.
Thank you Kate! Please visit the Tootsa MacGinty webshop here.