Thursday, 18 June 2009

Emma Jane Clothing

Three weeks ago I got cabin fever and decided to escape to London. So I hot-footed it to the train station, shelled out £60 for a one way ticket, and headed off to the Big Smoke. And once I was there, where’s the first place I went? Why, Camden of course! Shopping Mecca. So after buying a pair of killer heels and meeting my friend for a Kopparberg, I wandered off to the Electric Ballroom in search of a bargain.

That’s where I first discovered Emma-Jane. Tucked away on a tiny stall in the Ballrooms corner was the most fantastic selection of repro boudoir lingerie I’d ever seen. I bought some black and white stripy knickers, took Emma-Janes card and promised to get in touch. I caught up with her a couple of weeks later to find out more about a fashion renegade who eschews style rules and icons in favour of spontaneity and a DIY ethic. In her own words, “I just wear whatever I like, whenever I like!”
Based in East London, Emma Jane started out when her mother used to teach her to embroider and sew from an early age. Various attempts (some successful!) at making her own clothes led to her taking an O.N.D & H.N.D in Fashion Design when she left school, but from there the path wasn’t so smooth, as EJ explained:

I found it hard to get into Fashion Design when I left college so worked in various shops for years! I got married a few years back & my husband was going to open a shop so I stayed at home sewing/designing clothes with the aim of selling the clothes when we had the shop! The shop never happened & I still had all the clothes I'd made, so eventually I decided to try to sell them at Spitalfields market as I discovered I loved being at home & making clothes! It was a success & I'm now selling my clothes from my website ( & from Camden's 'The Electric Ballroom', London!.”

Emma-Jane now has an impressive catalogue of beautiful home-made items ranging from baby-doll lingerie sets to gingham dresses and mens dungarees, all of which are one-off pieces made by the lady herself, dreamed up and bought to reality as she goes along:

“I design my collection spontaneously. I get the idea of what I'm going to make just by seeing the fabric, usually! I get inspiration from the fabric type/colour etc. & the design just comes to me from there!”

Despite the massive amounts of interest people have in her designs and the success of the business so far, Emma Jane has no plans to expand, claiming autonomy as her reason;

"I do everything myself,the designing, fabric buying,making etc..I don't want to employ anyone else!"

So for now, it seems, Emma Jane Clothing is going to remain the Electric Ballrooms best kept secret... - check it out ASAP!

© Copyright Betti Hunter 2009

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