Welcome to this week's Day in the Life post. Today we meet Cecily Blondel of vintage inspired clothing brand The Emperor's Old Clothes.
As one-half of handmade clothing label The Emperor's Old Clothes no two days are really the same; with lots of bespoke commissions such as wedding dresses and made to measure three-piece suits, as well two themed ready-to-wear collections each year and one-off designs in between, all inspired by costume design and vintage shapes, there's certainly never a dull moment...
I seem to have got into the 'go to bed early, wake up early routine' in recent months - I wake up around 7am and head straight to the kitchen to make a cup of Earl Grey Tea before running a nice hot bath. A little while later when I'm dressed and ready to face the day (with another cup of tea in hand) I sit down at our living room table and go over some notes from the Business course on which I've recently enrolled. By now my partner John is up and is getting ready to head to Snooper's Attic the beautiful Brighton boutique from which we sell our handmade clothing and accessories - our day in the Attic is Wednesday and we generally split it and do half the day in the shop each.
I pack up my things and head around the corner, enjoying the sunshine to our studio, which is located in the very old stable buildings of Farm Mews. Also housing an art gallery and many artists' workshops - our studio building is where we design and sew all of our one-of-a-kind ready-to-wear clothing and hold fittings for bespoke commissions.
Only having a half-day ahead of me I get straight to work on some of our upcoming 1950s style summer dresses; today in pink & white gingham and bright yellow cotton. I left the studio halfway through cutting them out the day before so the first task is to finish this and start pinning them together ready to sew.
Soon its time for (another) tea break whilst I review the progress on our upcoming Spring/Summer collection and post across our social media channels. Then its back to work sewing the bodices of the dresses one of which will be sleeveless, whilst the other will have cute little cap sleeves...
I find once I'm in the studio time flies right by, so I often set an alarm for 20 minutes before I know that I have to leave. When this sounds I quickly wolf down a sandwich and tidy the studio - there's nothing less inspiring then arriving to a messy studio so I always make sure I leave it neat (if only I could learn to do this for our home too!) - then head over to the shop.
Snooper's Attic is located above the very popular Snooper's Paradise in Kensington Gardens, every fortnight or so they change the display on the stairway and I'm happy to see that not one but two of our pieces have been included this time one of which being the 'Lemon Coat' I made recently from beautiful pale yellow pure wool.
In tag team style I catch up and swap accounts of the day so far with John then he's off and I settle into the afternoon shift with the wonderful Lucia of Lucia J Elliston, another maker & vintage seller from the Attic. Aside of course from looking after our lovely customers and the shop floor, I write the Attic website's weekly blog; after doing this its time to get on with some labelling and general sorting of our individual retail space, removing items that we've sold through our Etsy store ready to post the next day.
This completed I indulge in a chocolate cupcake and another more in-depth browse around our various social media - the Attic also inspires at least one or two Instagram posts and usually a couple of sneaky fabric purchases from Rag & Bone Textiles and Homewares, their space is directly next to ours so as much as I try to avoid temptation its virtually impossible...
Home time draws near and its time to cash up using our original vintage till which makes a very satisfying Ping! sound each time its opened, then pack up and head home. John has dinner on as I arrive so we settle down on the sofa for an evening in front of the TV with my current knitting project: the pheasant from Louise Walker's 'Faux Taxidermy Knits'.
You can keep up with all The Emperor's Old Clothes latest designs and inspirations via our blog, as well as following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for our new Spring/Summer themed collection coming soon!
Thank you Cecily! You can catch up with the other posts in this series here.