Calling out to all style foxes this week – my guests on the blog are Susy Parker (ex Sunday Times journalist) and Klaudia Trzcielinska (clothes designer), founders of London’s “go-to” online made-to-measure label “Fox In A Glove”. Offering personal tailoring at High Street prices, “Fox In A Glove” certainly is a modern, stylish and affordable alternative to High Street shopping. These foxy ladies have a fetish for fabrics as well as an eye for design and a talent for tailoring. Without further ado, let’s welcome the ladies onto the blog to find out more….
Hi! I’m Klaudia – I landed in Gatwick 12 years ago from Poland and never used my return ticket. Firstly I worked as a waitress, then studied Applied Statistics, then I worked in the City when I was bought a sewing machine by a boyfriend for a birthday. I went to a lovely little course teaching how to use a sewing machine – and boom! Just like Paul on the way to Damascus… :o) All became clear. Then there were a few courses at Central Saint Martin’s and London College of Fashion and very happy friends wearing clothes I made for them receiving compliments from girls in the streets. And then I met Susy…
Hi! I’m Susy: I had the good fortune to be introduced to Klaudia a few years ago through a great friend in Shoreditch, London. Soon afterwards we went on a weekend away, dancing in Berlin together and ended up having a ‘deep and meaningful’ in Berghain in the early hours one morning. Up until then, for years, I’d been working as a writer/journalist and model, and I was really wanting do something creative and tangible that brought my big loves together – words, pictures and great people! I’ve always wanted to run my own business because I knew it would give me the crucial flexibility I need to work and also take care of my young children. Klaudia always makes her own outfits – she has graced many a London dance floor wearing her beautiful, original clothes that jump out at you but are totally wearable too – she has this very special combination of vision and style and she was making clothes for us, her friends, whenever we asked. That night she talked about her passion for made to measure clothes and we thought about how we could bring that bang up to date for 21st century women. Needless to say before the night was over we’d decided to make Fox in a Glove happen together and a year later we launched our service!
What was the inspiration behind Fox In A Glove?
Klaudia: Aurelie’s (my great friend) beautiful hour glass figure and my long torso – haha. We couldn’t find clothes that fitted, so I started making dresses and discovered that 1cm extra here, 1 cm less there makes a helluva lot of a difference. Every little helps! I realised there is very little of a “middle ground” between high-street shops (there comes a point when one is simply a tad too old for Topshop…) and designer/high fashion clothes. I couldn’t find pretty, feminine, eye-catching, well-made dresses that wouldn’t cost a bomb, so I created my own.
Susy: I love vintage clothing and I’m fascinated by fashion history and sub-cultures. We wanted to take the retro-inspired qualities of fine tailoring, re-connecting with your clothes and truly expressing yourself and we wanted to make them relevant to women today. So much of shopping today seems to be about that frantic lunch-time Insta-buy, or ‘fast-fashion’ – but you just end up with quantity over quality, and all the issues of unsustainable fast-fashion, as well as feeling like just another carbon copy from the High Street. We realised from talking to our girl-friends that it wasn’t just us that found all that a bit dissatisfying really. Made to measure takes longer but it really adds that ‘special something’ – a little bit of a thrill I guess – knowing that the clothes have been made for you, in a progressive workspace by really skilled seamstresses using fabrics you’re just not going to see anywhere else. It used to be the norm, decades ago, having a tailor or a seamstress make up your clothes; we wanted to bring something of that special relationship into the fast, busy lives of women today by creating an easy, direct, online way for women to access made to measure clothing in an affordable way.
Have you both always had a passion for fashion?
Susy: Yes, fashion is interesting, though I think both Klaudia and I have a true passion for fabrics, style and creativity more than anything else. Clothes that express individuality, clothes for real women – rather than just following trends or empty ‘cool-hunting’ – we hope our clothes give women a way of expressing who they are, as the shape they are – with made to measure there’s no need to conform to pre-ordained sizes, which are, after all, just a number on a coat hanger. It’s fantastic this year seeing fashion get more diverse, we love recent campaigns like #droptheplus and the celebration of beauty diversity that’s been emerging on the catwalks of late – and that’s our philosophy (if that’s not too grand a word for it!) – that basically getting dressed should be fun, expressive and make you feel good about yourself just as you are, not about conforming to some industry ideal.
Klaudia: Yes, definitely, but we also wanted to create a brand that has that ‘all the girls together’ feeling – we love keeping in close touch with our clients and we offer a free, complimentary styling service. If you’ve got a wardrobe dilemma, or you want to discuss what you could wear to a certain event, or what suits you – we’re here! It’s an open dialogue and we hope a very inclusive service – whatever your shape or measurements we can find the right garment for you plus we are happy to customise our collection. So, in many ways, Fox in a Glove is more about style than fashion really, and more of a service than just an online shop.
I adore the idea of personal tailoring at High Street prices and the online system is pretty simple – choose a design – select your fabric- provide measurements – and your garment will be custom made & delivered to your door within 3 weeks. Let’s talk about the designs first – what was the inspiration for the A/W 2015 collection? And for the S/S 2016 collection?
Klaudia: Inspiration is always fabric! I find fabrics so very exciting, after a cruise through Berwick Street – I cannot sleep! In the summer I went with Susy to an international fabric fair and Susy pulled out very beautiful corduroys in 3 autumnal colours and jacquard – our Claudia and Alexa dresses are made of these 4 fabrics, and this was the start of A/W 2015. We have lots of fabrics and ideas for S/S 2016. I have an eye on cotton with foxes’ metallic silver tails, and clouds and stripes – simultaneously! I’m drawn to the utterly whacky and mad, which is thankfully corrected by Susy’s “elegant and modern” eye. The result is – well you can see the result!
Susy: We’re fabric fetishists for sure. I think both of us could spend ten hours in a fabric market and not get bored! Perhaps it’s the thrill of the chase?! We definitely took a bit of a cue from the boys for AW15. I’ve been enjoying wearing quite a lot of ‘manly’ clothes over the last year and became obsessed with the beautiful attention to detail on men’s tailoring: collars, cuffs, and pocket handkerchiefs etc and wanted to translate that across to feminine clothes. A recent purchase of a 1940s gentlemen’s smoking jacket from Soho, with this sumptuous jacquard collar and cuffs was the inspiration behind the details on the Claudia and Alexa dresses in our collection. From there we found ourselves adding retro-touches and unexpected details to all the garments in the new collection, whether it’s a lined lace deep V-insert or some military studs and clasps – special little details that hopefully make you go “oooh” (in a good way!).
From the A/W 2015 collection, the stunning pink pencil skirt caught my eye. What has been your most popular design to date? Have you got a personal favourite?
Klaudia: The pink pencil skirt has been very popular. It’s such a fun alternative to the classic grey or black one, and made of a stunning hand-woven fabric from France. It almost feels like wearing a piece of jewellery on… your hips!
Susy: The Francesca dress, with it’s super-flattering drop waist is very popular, and everyone who tries the Alexa dress on does this happy little twirl – it nips in your waist and makes your legs go on forever! Overall our best-selling item is the trans-seasonal Laura dress – it comes in 4 unique fabrics. Like all of our designs we spend a lot of time researching how to make women feel the best about themselves – we consider stuff like: what’s the most flattering fit? What exactly makes women feel fab when they wear it? How exactly should we cut the bias? What fabrics glide on and don’t cling? A ton of conversations with women and a lot of trying things out. Klaudia has an amazing eye – she really understands women’s figures and how to create clothes that compliment them. The design process means we refine and refine until we get the final version. Our Laura dress works on so many body types and people love it, it’s a total joy seeing the happy pictures our clients send us!
If you were able to visit any where in the world, to inspire a collection, where would you go?
Klaudia: To Berwick Street in Soho!
Susy: Can I go back in time?! New York in the Dirty 30s for sure.
Which famous foxy lady would you love to see as the “face” of Fox In A Glove?
Klaudia: Alexa Chung!
Susy: And Greta Gerwig would be a dream…if you’re reading! We are also just about to shoot a fashion film with a very exciting face…coming soon!
You’ve just started to offer bespoke workwear for any business, company or workplace that would like a “uniform” for its female employees. What a great idea! Have you kitted out any famous/impressive companies?
Susy: We created bespoke workwear recently for top chef Jason Atherton’s stunning art-deco restaurant, City Social, in Tower 42 in the heart of the City of London – which was an awesome experience and we’re looking forward to working more with them. We’re inviting anyone who needs a stylish, modern workwear ‘uniform’ for its female employees to get in touch!
Each piece in your collection is a custom made, cut to the client’s specific measurements. As you are based in London, are you able to offer your online service & delivery to overseas clients?
Klaudia: Yes, we do! To all #stylefoxes all over the world!
A little bird told me that you both have a fetish for fabrics and source materials for your designs that are not widely available. Where was the furthest you’ve travelled to obtain material? Have you got a favourite material?
Klaudia: Italy! Not so far, but the quality and range of fabrics out there is incredible. We’d love to go further East though – loom-made fabrics are a passion of ours and we hear great things about Japan. For us it’s about finding high quality, unusual fabrics that really last and wash beautifully – we keep our collections affordable by being really savvy about where we get our fabrics from. Usually bespoke or made to measure clothing comes with a pretty hefty price tag which makes it largely unobtainable, but by being savvy with our sources, as far as we can we really try to keep our collections at high street price points.
Susy: We scour everywhere… from local East London fabric emporiums, flea-markets in Paris, vintage cut-offs, amazing Italian fabric districts in Milan and beyond, end of designer rolls, friends’ attics, our parents’ wardrobes haha…I think it’s safe to say we are always looking, near or far. We’d also love to do our very own Fox in a Glove prints…hopefully soon
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Klaudia: Always a dress! With flat ankle boots.
Susy: I wear a lot of leather. And lace. Hahahaha, that sounds a bit wrong!
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
Klaudia: Wolf and Badger for jewellery.
Susy: We styled the AW15 collection with beautiful, hand-printed tights from Hose Tights – I modelled their collection last year and was so impressed with the quality and how the designer took such time and care over each pair. Plus the patterns and colours they come in rock!
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
Klaudia: Big coat. In yellow!
Susy: I need to stop wearing black so much, it’s addictive! So let’s say something like the awesome multi-coloured faux fur Portia Coat from House of Hackney’s new William Morris inspired collection, it’s an amazing and joyful creation!
Boots or Shoes?
Klaudia: Boots – keep ankles safe when one walks very fast on our hard London pavements!
Susy: Boots all the way! I was raised by my Dad, who was very dapper and absolutely loved beautiful clothes and getting dressed up for parties. He had lots of his clothes, including his shoes and boots, made for him – these days I wear boots all the time, the more manly the better, and I would love to have boots made to measure like he did, he always has a real spring in his step 🙂
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Fox In A Glove.
Please check out www.foxinaglove.com and find us on Twitter @foxinaglove and Instagram @foxinaglove and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Fox-in-a-Glove-1504409019811321 or you can email us at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to chat clothes any time!
Always lovely to chat to fellow boot lovers and I love your fashion sense – even down to the leather and lace, Susy! I wish you continued success in 2016 and beyond. So dear readers, if you had the opportunity to have a made to measure outfit what would you have done? I would plump for a dress with lace, crushed velvet – possibly in black & red! Please do share your dream made to measure outfit ideas…. I’d love to know!
All photographs have been published with kind permission of Fox In A Glove and the photographer, Anita Barry.