Category Archives: Eco Friendly

An Interview With n-1 Couture

From Argentina last week to Italy this week, my guest this week is the independent fashion company for women whose outfits are hand tailored in Italy, offering a look and lifestyle based upon beauty and sensuality in harmony with our being and the natural world around us.  Watching the cycle race, Giro D’Italia , at the moment and seeing the gorgeous scenery that is Italy,  you can not help but to embrace the natural earthy colours and florals that comprise the n-1 Couture’s collection.  Without further ado, welcome Darren …image

Hello my name is Darren Eryou and together with Paola Morandi we form the core of (n-1) couture. We have backgrounds in such diversified fields as fashion, art, architecture, graphic design and photography, which makes us slightly schizophrenic but also provides us with different perspectives and approaches on the way we do things. We live in a small town in northern Italy called Cremona and we have a firm and steady belief in local production and have always been convinced that small scale “artisan” designers and workers will continue to have a relevant role in the fashion industry. Empiricists by nature, we like to participate in every level of what we do. This means that we don’t just have an idea or draft up a drawing of a design and have it sent off to be made – we make it ourselves. Sourcing fabrics for us means seeking out local textiles, visiting them, touching the fabrics, discussing with the producer how they were made, etc. We want to know as much about it as we can before deciding to work with it. This kind of approach can at times be exhausting, but it’s the way we work and is ultimately rewarding. There is no stitch or hem in any garment that we have made that doesn’t reside in some part of our minds.

imageWhat inspired the founding of n-1 couture?

We had been working in the field of what we could call “couture” for some time – making unique, custom designed outfits for dance performances, video productions, historical reproductions ecc. We have always been passionate about what we call the “plastic arts” – a very open concept – but something that could be defined as the moulding of colour and form, like with painting, sculpture or film. The step to founding (n-1) couture was a big one – because running a brand is not quite the same thing as creating individual couture pieces, for obvious reasons. As contradictory as it might sound – one of our goals with (n-1) couture is to maintain that spirit of artisian uniqueness while being a brand at the same time.

imageWhat’s behind the brand name, n-1 couture pronounced ENNE MENO UNO (or N minus 1 in English)? Was it difficult to find a name that really sums up your ideals?

In our case, our brand name preceeded us. Given that we still don’t have aperfect grasp on the meaning of (n-1) one could say that from a traditional brandind point of view we are a bit unorthodox. In any case – (n-1) is an ideal or philosophy which guides us. The further we go down our path, the more we begin to understand the meaning of our brand name. It may seem paradoxical, but (n-1) is an ideal that we understand by creating, constructing.
In a technical sense, (n-1) means subtracting the “transcendental” aspect of something, and discovering that “something” as it is in itself, without any form of prejudice. In a simple sense, (n-1) means discovering a kind of newness in things themselves by finding new ways to look at things in themselves. This is praxis for great painters. Take Paul Cézanne and his paintings of apples. Apples can be a seemingly banal subject – but Cézanne discovered new ways of looking at such a seemingly banal subject – an in the act transformed the art of painting itself. It is an approach that doesn’t explicitly attempt to create something radically new, such as with cubism – or by extension – “avant-garde” fashion circles. It’s a form of patient discovery, a labour of love – trying to see things are they are in themselves. Slowly, day by day. With Cézanne we see the same thing with his paintings of Mont Saint-Victoire. Cèzanne wants to see the Saint-Victoire mountain in an (n-1) kind of way – not as a landscape or a postcard or as a pretty picture but as a thing in itself stripped of all prejudice. The mountain becomes a kind of living mass of sensations – majestic, violent, burning hot, ice cold, etc. So that’s what (n-1) means to us. “n minus 1” or “enne meno uno” in Italian. Hope that makes sense

imageMy favourites from your Spring collection are the Matisse drop waist A-line Spring Dress in floral Liberty cotton; Sand Feather A-line lace dress; and the Fluo tailored shift dress. What outfits are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

Our Liberty 2014 collection, of which the Matisse, Renoir, Seurat and Degas dresses are a part of has done very well. We are very passionate about Liberty so this has been gratifying – we wanted to engage the floral trend but in our own way – and that’s where Liberty Art fabrics came into play. The Sand Feather dress has gone over well, as lace seems to have become a constant trend and that has also been the case with the Fluo dress – flourescent colours seem to be in the spotlight this season. Our line of tunics continue to be a success and one of our big present and future challenges is tranforming our line of tunics into a line made solely out of GOTS certified organic cotton. We want to be as sustainable and responsable as possible but trying to convince consumers that they should be as well is not an easy task. We still have alot of ground to cover.

imageOut of all the outfits in your collection,what is your favourite?

It’s difficult to pick out just one item – we tend to think less and less in terms of finished “items” or “objects” and more in terms of concepts. “Liberty” is a concept we really like – some dresses have been more successful than others in terms of what we sought to accomplish – but we see the Liberty concept as kind of having its own organic being that pulls us into new and often unexpected directions. At present we are releasing a series of clutch handbags made in Liberty Art cotton fabrics which is something that we had never planned to do but just kind of “happened.” Such are the pleaures of being small and flexible. “Sustainable is Beautiful” is another concept born from our desire to put sustainablity at the forefront of our thinking and we are quite fond of the designs and the packaging as well – the idea of making the consumer a producer through packaging the garments in planters together with a bunch of seeds to plant and grow is a small step for us in attempting to propose a more multi-faceted notion of fashion that can enable us to expand the meaning of fashion and its role in the world at large. So in the broadest sense possible – “Liberty” and “Sustainable is Beautiful” are concepts which we feel very much a part of and hope to develop in new and unexpected ways in the future.

imageApart from your passion for sewing, you have a passion for keeping the Italian artisan spirit alive – by using materials, tailoring and packaging in Italy. what place in Italy has most inspired your designs?

(n-1) couture has a longstanding love affair with the island of Sardinia. We could list so many reasons as to why we are so fascinated with this island but I think what intrigues us most is this kind of spirit of austure beauty which kind of overwhelms you. The history of Sardinia and its unique maritime position have given Sardinia a very rich heritage which somehow never overcomes the sometimes savage beauty of the island itself. Sardinia has been colonized by different Mediterranean cultures since the prehistoric period – yet at the same time it has always resisted colonization. Each culture has let a series of traces – but they remain just that – traces, as if they were small zones of intense ornamentation and articulation which are knots on a tapestry which is the island itself. It has been crosses upon by the Greeks, Romans, Phoenician, Saracens, Byzantines, Catalans, Genovese and more. But more often than not these cultural traces are expressed as tiny fragments in local tradition, customs and festivals. If we imagined Sardinia as a garment, it would be an enormous, austere flowing sheet of fabric adorned sparsely with small but functional exquisite ornamentations: a gilded byzantine decoration here, a phoenician decoration there. The ornamentations are signs and would never be central to the garment itself – and they are always in a kind of reasonation with one another.

imageWhich famous lady would you love to see as the “face” of n-1 couture?

We have mentioned elsewhere that our “ideal” customers would be either Monica Vitti in Michelangelo Antonioni’s film “The Adventure” or Anna Karina in Jean-Luc Godard’s film “Pierrot le Fou.” And this is because they are women who are forced to reinvent themselves and the world around them – they must reinvent “love, language and themselves.” So those are two examples of possible ideal “faces” for (n-1) couture. In terms of a real, present day faces or a famous lady we really don’t have a single answer. Nowadays the very notion of the “icon” or “face” is in crisis – it’s kind of dissolving in the high speed rapid rotation of contemporary media culture and it’s rapid rotation. If we were to choose someone who could still represent a traditional face it could be Laura Morante. We love her work in theater and as an actress and above all her courage. If we wanted to choose amongst the faces that represent the new kind of icons of our changing contemporary culture it could be Lorella Zanardo – a writer and activist or Annalisa Leone – a colorist or illustrator. These are also talented women changing the world we live in.

imageYour collection is full of colours of every hue – what colour(s) are you personally leaning towards this season?

We are becoming increasingly interested in colour relations as compared to just colours in the strict sense. Pastels are definitely a trend this season and we have followed suit with our Liberty collection – but what we increasingly like to do is propose a complementary item, often worn in layering, which creates a far richer dynamic in terms of colour. For each of our Liberty dresses – Matisse, Renoir, Seurat and Degas – we propose pairing a colored semi-transparent top which creates a distinct colour relation with the pastel dress. From a simple white chiffon top to a subdued gold-green organza top to a more flourescent fuchsia-organza gradient silk top – the idea is that through layering the perceived “sum” of the colours creates a sensation which is greater than the simple addition of colours. This was something discovered in colour theory or in pointillist painting in the 19th century called “colour contrast” – two colours, juxtaposed or overlapping – have the effect of a third colour when seen from a distance. We can call these colours something like “colours of the eye and mind” – if we juxtapose two primary colours we will peceive a third colour which has an intensity much greater than the sum of the two primary colours alone. So these kinds of colour relations interest us more and more. We are currently working on some flourescent designs but what interests us most is finding a way to increase the perceived intensity of the colours through “complementary” items with varying colours.

imageLooking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2014 – what styles/colours do you hope to see being worn?

We will be moving forward with our Liberty 2014 and Sustainable is Beautiful collections with neutral and soft tones for autumn. The so called “street style” or “luxe sport” is something that we have begun working on with our “Inuit” hoodies in boiled wool and is a style we are developing in our own individual way – the idea of mixing couture with wearable and athletic sihlouettes is something destined to grow as the line between haute couture and everyday life continues to blur. Layering is also a trend we will be following up on. And, of course, knitwear. Which will be a big step for us.

imagePersonal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Argh! This is a question we want might to skip. We put everything including all of our energy into what we make – what we wear boils down to what is most comfortable to work in. A pair of supergas, jeans, linen smocks. Essential and extremely practical.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (apart from your own!)

One online store which has always stood out for us is Nastygal. Beyond the whole issue of content driven e-commerce which Nastygal does so well, there is an underlying sense of style and “essentialness” which make it stand out from the others. It’s chic but there’s something so fun and elegant about it at the same time. And that takes talent – so it’s a well earned success.

What’s next on your clothes/shoes wish list?

As far as shoes go – anything by Charline de Luca will definitely go into the wish list. For clothing – Antonio Marras.

Boots or Shoes?

Shoes, shoes, shoes…It’s not that we don’t like boots – quite the contrary, it’s just that we weren’t genetically constructed for them.

Any links you would like to share so that readers can find out more about n-1 couture

Our website is and drop by and visit us at:


Thank you very much for talking to me tonight, the essence of Italy has certainly captured me and I’m sure that many blog readers will feel just as inspired….

Linda x

Photo Credits: All photos have been published with the kind permission of n-1 Couture

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An Interview With Wear Eponymous

Hailing from Glasgow,  new fashion brand Wear Eponymous have introduced a fresh and fun approach  by strongly championing emerging designers and showcasing exciting limited edition lines as well as believing the fact that everybody should embrace their individuality.  So this week I’m chatting to the lovely three founders – Elaine, Laura and Alan, to find out more …welcome…image

ALAN: Hi! Wear Eponymous is a new fashion brand with a fresh and fun approach to the industry we know, love and as individuals have worked in for many years. We think everyone should embrace their individuality and eponymous means uniquely you. Shopping with us you’re choosing to dress for yourself, to follow key trends without following the crowd and, most importantly, be your own story.

You’ve all got good vast knowledge of the fashion industry from the photographic, MUA, and technical knowhow. What inspired the founding of Wear Eponymous?

We wanted to create a sustainable future for ourselves after many years working as freelancers but we have key goals to achieve that align ethically with our own sustainability plans. As many creatives will tell you, there is very much a ‘working for free’ attitude that has crept in to the creative industries (and others) over the last few years and we want to address this. We feel that providing quality products at affordable prices will allow us to achieve our goals of sustainability and in return will allow us to pay creatives and give something back to people in the industry.

imageYour idea is that everyone should embrace their individuality and the word “eponymous” means “uniquely you”. So who thought up the brand name? Was it difficult to find a name that really sums up your ideals?

We wanted to create a sustainable future for ourselves after many years working as freelancers but we have key goals to achieve that align ethically with our own sustainability plans. As many creatives will tell you, there is very much a ‘working for free’ attitude that has crept in to the creative industries (and others) over the last few years and we want to address this. We feel that providing quality products at affordable prices will allow us to achieve our goals of sustainability and in return will allow us to pay creatives and give something back to people in the industry.

imageYou’re a new fashion brand with a fresh & fun approach to fashion and you also feel strongly about championing emerging designers, such as your first guest emerging designer, fellow Scot, Laura Sherriffs. So, when designing or choosing outfits to represent your brand, do you go by popular styles, customer requests, your own preferences or bits of all those?

LAURA: As a team, we have an extensive background working within the fashion and beauty industries and as a result, working at the likes of London Fashion Week helped to educate us in trend forecasting and observe the process of runway collections translating into high-street everyday looks. When choosing collections to represent our brand, we’re always mindful of our customer base and combine their thoughts with trend forecasting to deliver an affordable but high-quality product. When it comes to selecting our emerging designers, we use a criteria of exceptional talent and originality of design.

My favourites from your collection are the turquoise checkered shirt and the black classic clutch bag. What outfits are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

The dress collection in particular has been very popular and we have seen a sellout in our classic black bag.

imageOut of all the outfits in your collection, what is your favourite?

I’m torn between the contrast collar dress and the high-waisted faux-leather skirt! The great thing is our products are designed to be extremely flattering on the body and as a petite but curvy lady, the struggle to find dresses and skirts that don’t swamp my figure up is over! The contrast collar dress is completely timeless, but with the collar, it adds that little element of personality other little black dresses are missing. As for the high-waisted faux-leather skirt – being a fan of leatherette textures, it’s perfect for helping the transition into spring/summer – black faux-leather is too harsh for summer! It teams up perfectly with pastels.

Wear Eponymous aims to prioritise good ethics in everything you do from chosen suppliers through to product packaging and model casting. How important is it to you and your designers that your models promote a positive body image?

ELAINE: We think it’s so important to promote a healthy image as life is tough enough without scrutinising your body and focusing on what you don’t like or wish was different. No-one is perfect and we don’t want to promote an unachievable image. We want everyone to embrace our tagline of ‘be your own story’ and encourage our customers to dress for themselves.

imageWhich famous lady would you love to see as the “face” of Wear Eponymous?

We love and admire anyone who has fun with fashion and dresses for themselves. From a fun point of view, someone like Paloma Faith clearly epitomises ‘be your own story’ and injects so much of her personality into her outfit choices and we love that! We select pieces that fit with trends but are also timeless too so a classic beauty such as Jourdan Dunn fits our eponymous ethos; you instantly know her style.

Your collection is full of cutesy pastels and striking monochrome – What colour(s) are you personally leaning towards this season?

Always a fan of pastels, I’m really channelling baby blue and pink! The blue hues seen in our pastel skinny jeans and pastel blazers are so fresh and bright – just what we need after what seems a very long and miserable winter. I’m always a champion of monochrome as it really is seasonless – it will never go out of fashion, but as always, in summer I lean more towards white, and in winter towards Black. The third trend I’m really tapping into this season is “Geo” – which is the trend based off of an earthy palette. Nudes and earthy tones are very underrated and used, but incredibly complimentary to all skin tones – the trick is to select the right hue for you. I’m personally in love with the W.E. Classic trench coat in beige – the toning is so rich and unusual for a trench coat.

imageLooking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2014 – what styles/ colours / era do you hope to see being worn?

There is a fair emphasis on a neutral colour palette predicted – a lot of grey, black and nude tones present on the A/W 2014/15 runways. That being said, there’s also hints at colour bursting through, particularly in tones of burgundy, purple and burnt orange, as well as a touch of deep blue. In terms of shape, we’re definitely moving away from skin-tight clothing and heading towards traditional feminine silhouettes, as well as boxy oversized tailoring.

imagePersonal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I love classic pieces that are comfortable to wear and allow me to go about my varied working day knowing that I won’t be held back by an uncomfortable heel or super tight skirt! When I’m working on shoots or rushing between meetings I opt for a tailored trouser, classic shirt and a ballet pump or boot. I love dresses for events and will definitely opt for a heel then but at 5ft 9” it’s never too high!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?(apart from your own!)

I always like to visit House of Fraser as they have a great selection of brands (personal favourites being Biba and Mary Portas). Warehouse has always been a go-to for classic pieces and you can’t beat New Look for some fast fashion.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

We’re already looking towards our autumn/winter collection, but for spring/summer we’re hoping to bring in some more pastel palettes in our shirts and dresses and we love the monochrome trend, in particular we have spied the most stunning dogtooth heels which may have to make a debut before the change of season!

Boots or Shoes?

This is hard! I’m always a sucker for a great court heel – get the right pair and you can wear them with anything! However, if I were to base it on trends, it has to be the cut-out boot – black for winter, tan for summer! They have a great versatility and I just adore how clunky and grunge-like they look with any outfit. Other classics include a Chelsea boot for a great 60’s mod vibe and a pair of tan Oxford brogues – comfort, androgyny and sophistication all in one shoe!

Links you would like to share:

It’s been great chatting to you and learning about what Wear Eponymous is all about.  You have a great future in front of you and I’m sure you’ve gained some new customers/fans amongst my readers!

Linda x

Photo credits:  All photos have been published with kind permission from Wear Eponymous.

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