I started designing the Love Letters collection quietly in my mind when I discovered a set of old family letters. My grandfather had passed away in late 2018 and with this came the intimate process of going through all his personal possessions. Among beautiful old photographs and documents were a set of delicate and ageing letters.
As we carefully read through them the sentences revealed a story of romance, hope and survival. They were written by my great grandfather Dusan and addressed to my great grandmother. During the Second World War he was an officer in the Yugoslavian army and fought against the Nazis until he was captured and taken prisoner.
It was while being held captive that he was allowed to write home and over 70 years later these very letters were in my hands. I fell in love with his immaculate writing that instantly reminded me of pinstripes. So I put my own pen to paper and started designing what would be the Love Letters collection.
The black and white print is created from lines taken from the original letters and they run down the garments like pinstripes full of meaning and love.
“BACK IN MY DAY“
The Dahlia floral dress and matching three piece were designed with hope and better tomorrows in mind. The Dahlia flower is said to represent a commitment shared forever between two as well as beauty, elegance and strength. A lot of us have probably heard stories that start with “back in my day” and end with a lecture on how today everything is so much worse. But in the defence of these passionate story tellers, the past eras they speak of are undeniably romantic in their slow and thoughtful pace of life. I loved hearing stories from my grandma about women meticulously matching their handbag colour to their shoes and carefully considering which shade of lipstick best compliments their outfit. There’s an art to thoughtfully curating your wardrobe and styling your outfits with pride and women in the 1940’s had this nailed. This and every War & Drobe collection is a homage to these past times with a determination to revive them through garments.
SUSTAINABILITY AND CRAFTSMANSHIP
When pattern cutting and creating the shapes of the garments I used traditional tailor and couturier techniques. The pleats, gathers and rows of sheering elastic are a throw back to details that can be found in vintage fashion. Fabric is precious and not to be wasted so the smallest pieces of the fabrics are used to cover the buttons and the rest to make the headbands. Other buttons used in the collection are natural Corozo buttons made from Tagua nuts which have been harvested naturally. The carefully selected sustainable materials complement the handmade process gone into making each piece. When we wear rare and unique clothes we reflect who we are because as individuals we are all rare and unique.
THE PRINTING PROCESS
Both prints are original War & Drobe designs with the Dhalia print starting as a hand painted watercolour. The Dhalia garments are created from cotton that’s made in the UK and the Love Letters pieces are made from ethically sourced silks. They are digitally printed using water-based inks that are non-toxic and no harsh chemicals or dyes are used in the process. The supplier I work with only use non optic bleached fabrics which means less aggressive chemicals have been used. My favourite part of their process is that they re-jigged their printing machines, to recycle inks, which lessens waste and reduces the environmental impact.