Cabbages & Roses


(Peerie Flooers hat and mittens, Caller HerrinSheepheid, and Funchal Moebius, all styled with Cabbages and Roses garments from 2007 to 2011.

I receive a lot of queries about the clothes I am wearing in the photographs you see here, and I generally receive the most queries whenever I am wearing clothes from Cabbages and Roses. Anyone who reads this blog will know how much I love and appreciate good clothes. Apart from my precious vintage garments, and some things I have made myself, it is fair to say that I love Cabbages and Roses clothes most of all. The very name Cabbages and Roses – in its suggestive combination of beauty and utility – conveys what is so different about these clothes. They are classic British garments: sometimes luxurious, sometimes practical, but always aesthetically pleasing and designed and made to last. Here is an anecdote which will immediately suggest to you the depths of my fondness – nay, obsession – with these clothes: when I had my stroke, I was wearing a Cabbages and Roses coat which was (and still remains) one of my favourite things in my wardrobe. I collapsed while out walking, was manhandled into an ambulance, and taken to hospital, where all my clothes were swiftly and forcibly removed. I was terrified, half paralysed, and undergoing gruelling neurological examination, but there was still room in my brain to worry about the condition and whereabouts of my coat. The first thing I asked poor Tom when I emerged from the CT scan was to check that The Coat was ok. There was a small tear to the lining which I have now repaired, but it was otherwise happily unscathed.


Me and Bruce in October 2010. I am wearing Tantallon hat, Tortoise and Hare gauntlets, and The Coat.

This coat has all the hallmarks of what I love about Cabbages and Roses’ garments. It is beautiful, distinctive, carefully constructed and tailored. It looks and feels special (folk are always asking me where I got it) but is also comfortable and easy to wear. The design includes several thoughtful signature details, such as the pleated empire line, and the ribbon-tie at the reverse. And importantly, it is made from a lightweight wool (hurrah!) that is really of fabulous quality. The label inside the coat not only told me this, but gave me information about where that fabric had been sourced and woven. Like all of the clothes in Cabbages and Roses’ collections, this coat was made on a relatively small scale in their London factory. So not only is the design truly lovely, but the quality of the British craftmanship in this garment is absolutely top notch. I have already worn it over several winters, and it still looks glorious.


The Coat in 2009. Also wearing Fugue mittens.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, first because I would like to come clean to those of you who are always asking me about my styling: really, quite a lot of it is due to Cabbages and Roses. Second, at a moment when so much of British fashion design seems sadly plastic and ephemeral (I would really rather not wear a disposable blouse inspired by a 1980s pencil case), and when the UK high street is full of badly made synthetic garments that will end up as tomorrow’s landfill, it is really rather nice to be able to celebrate and warmly recommend a company whose design aesthetics, quality textiles, and admirable values are the happy antithesis of those you will find in the Wovember Hall of Shame. And finally, because today I have the very great pleasure to share with you an interview with Christina Strutt.

Christina’s background is in interior decor and styling. When, just over a decade ago, she found herself unable to source the quality vintage-feeling fabrics which she needed for her work, she established Cabbages and Roses and began to design her own. Following the popularity of their textile line, Cabbages and Roses brought out their first garment collection in 2006, and since then have gone from strength to strength. Christina is clearly an individual with tremendous creative flair, yet there is also a good-humour and lack of pretense about both her and her work that I find really refreshing and inspiring. So, here’s our virtual chat, interspersed with some of my favourite looks from the current Cabbages and Roses collection.

KD: Could you say a little about how what lead you to develop your clothing line after the establishment of the C&R fabric and interior design brand? What were the core ideas behind the line?

CS: When our first fabric rolled off the production line, we were so excited by its beauty, in the style of The Sound of Music we made dresses, skirts, shirts, cushions, curtains from our first creation ‘bees.’ It was so refreshing to have in our hands a beautiful faded rose print, something we had been searching for for so long that it was hard not to make anything and everything from it. Then when we joined forces with our current partner, Jigsaw, they wanted a Cabbages and Roses collection in their stores. At this point our clothing collection more than doubled in size.

KD: What would you like women to say about your clothes?

CS: That their daughters steal their Cabbages & Roses clothes from their wardrobe. That we have a cult following. That still, five years later, they are still wearing the same piece with as much pride as when it was new. That they have been chased up the street by a complete stranger asking where they bought that coat / dress / skirt from. That our clothes make them very happy. That at last there is something interesting for women of a certain age to buy that their children also covet.

KD: Would you describe the Cabbages and Roses style as British ? I certainly would, but I wondered what that meant to you?

CS: Yes, I think I would describe our style as British as it has a certain ecclectic-ness that says “I am my own person.” The influences that go to make a collection are, on the whole, inspired by a generosity of spirit, an extravagance of fabric, and the ‘Made in England’ labels that we are so proud to sew into our seams! Although born of Italian and South American parentage, I have lived in England for all of my life. I am privileged to travel extensively, but truly I am happiest at home in England and quite resent having to be abroad so much! I am very proud of this fine country, and to be involved in a very English label that sells all over the world is a source of great pleasure.

KD: Is there a particular era of fashion history that you find most inspirational?

CS: Yes indeed, everything from 1066 to 2011! Since childhood I have loved the history of fashion, from the gentle empire lines, to the exuberant Victorians, from the grand elite to the working-class garments. I also love Edwardian lines and sixties shifts — the only period that distresses me is the 1970s and 80s — a time of my life when I was able to take charge of my wardrobe, but when clothes took on a strange giant-shouldered boxy shape and hair spiraled outwards in a curly, shaggy mullet-shaped embarrassment!

KD: Whose style — either now, or in the past — do you most admire?

CS: When I was a young 20-something girl, working on Vogue Magazine, Kenzo Takada was de rigeur – his beautiful, colourful prints and lovely shapes were all I desired. I also love Helena Bonham Carter’s eccentric and interesting ensembles: she has an independent spirit, wears what she loves, and always looks splendid – especially when she wears Cabbages and Roses.

KD: Do you feel that your design aesthetic has evolved over the decade since you established C&R? If so, how would you describe this process of evolution?

CS: Yes, I do think we have evolved: it has been a hard road that we have travelled, but I think that with our sales growing so steadily year on year, confidence in my designs has grown too. In the early days our designs were simplified to correspond with our limited manufacturing facilities. Now with access to marvelous pattern cutters and a splendid London factory, the designs tend to be more complicated and fewer compromises are made.

KD: Fabric quality is clearly very important to C&R. Could you say a bit about the kinds of textiles you like best and why?

CS: For me, choosing fabric is a matter of aesthetics above all else. When buying fabrics I tend to go for look, texture, and colour, it is an instinctive process and without any sort of financial or manufacturing control! It is only when sampling is being ordered that I am reigned in by our production department — this is where compromises come, but only in the quantities that are to be made. Although I prefer to to use natural fabrics — cotton, wool, linen — I do not mind having to use a man-made fabric if its look is in line with the design.

KD: Are you able to successfully source these textiles within the UK? Is it important to you to that C&R supports the UK textile industry in this way?

CS: In Winter nearly all of our textiles are made in the UK, as the British tweeds and tartans are perfect for our requirements. However, Summer fabrics are necessarily sourced from abroad. I would like to be able to say that we only use organic cottons but sadly this is not true. In a perfect world all of our fabrics would be organic but at the moment we are just too small to be able to afford to make our clothes from organic cotton. However, all our furnishing linens are printed with Okatex approved water-based inks; all our own fabrics are printed in London; and all our woven collection is also made in London. Wherever possible, we support British industry, and wherever possible, we print, manufacture and source British goods and textiles. It is extremely important to us.

KD: One of the most impressive things about C&Rs clothes is that they are so evidently designed to last. How important to you is it that your clothes have longevity in women’s wardrobes? And do you ever feel that this this longevity is at odds with current trends toward the disposable in women’s fashion?

CS: It is absolutely the most important aspect of our clothing collection. Longevity is the antithesis of fashion, and we are so un-fashion-conscious that we consider that it if something is not in fashion, it is not possible to be out of fashion. I do have a horror of seeing someone walking down the street wearing an article of Cabbages and Roses clothing and looking ridiculous: if, say, we had produced a ‘one-sey’ in an extremely fashionable leopard print (I think that this is the name for the all-in-one boiler suit that was fashionable earlier this year) I would feel compelled to throw a blanket around her shoulders and lead her home to change. Happily, though, I don’t think we have ever produced an article of clothing that I wish we had not! I love seeing perfect strangers wearing a Cabbages and Roses piece from five years ago and still being proud of what we have produced, often I see clothing that I had quite forgotten about and think – ‘how clever’!

KD: I love old hand-knit sweaters, and think that good clothes, like those designed by C&R, can really last a lifetime if they are cared for properly. I wondered if you had a favourite item of clothing in your wardrobe that has lasted many years and whether you could tell us a bit about it?

CS: I am wearing, as I write, a Cabbages and Roses A-line sweater first introduced in 2006. We have reproduced this sweater every year since and it remains a best seller to this day. It is designed in our favourite A-line shape, as flattering a style as possible: fitted at the shoulders and bust and gently flaring out so as not to hug body parts that should remain hidden. I am also wearing a navy wool side-button skirt, again produced about four years ago and still featuring in our current clothing collection.

KD: I love your books about textiles, interior decor, and sewing (particularly Home Made Vintage), and wondered whether you had any plans in the future to produce a book about fashion and styling?

CS: Yes, my publisher has asked that we do another book — we are trying to think of a suitable subject. I would very much like to make a fashion book, but it would be difficult to make it not seem like a catalogue of Cabbages and Roses clothing. A retrospective, perhaps — but I am not sure that we are at that stage yet. Perhaps your readers would like to suggest a perfect topic for Cabbages and Roses next tome?

KD: And finally, just for fun: do you have a favourite variety of English rose, or, indeed, of cabbage? I don’t think you can beat a January King.

CS: I think cabbages are as beautiful as roses and often use lovely savoy cabbages as decoration. My favourite rose is Eglantyne – named after Eglantyne Jebb who founded the ‘Save the Children’ charity. It is multi-petaled in delicious pale pink, and has a lovely delicate rose scent.

Thankyou so much, Christina!

51 responses

  1. I share your love of fashion and adore the clothes you’ve introduced through your blog—especially those from Cabbages and Roses. I can’t fit into them but I can love them from afar :-)

  2. A marvellous read. Thank you so much for bringing Cabbages and Roses to my attention; I knew very little about this company before you started discussing C&R clothes on your blog, and it is really pleasing to learn more about the inner workings of a contemporary clothes company which uses high quality materials and which espouses such commendable approaches to producing clothes. I feel signature pieces from the Cabbages and Roses collection can be an important addition to The Slow Wardrobe, and I am especially inspired here by the idea that if something is never “in fashion,” it can never go “out of fashion.”

    I love also how Christina has pinpointed in your interview that “Longevity is the antithesis of fashion.” I feel that cultivating a sense of being deliberately un-fashion-conscious is a great way of making clothes last, and a great way of eschewing the trend towards unsustainably-produced, out-of-time clothes.

    Thank you for this, F

  3. Great article. Love it – you do such interesting topics that I’m always interested to read. Thanks as ever, Kate! Wish I could buying you a cuppa

    • Emma, check with them as to the actual measurements of the garments – English sizes are different than US – one of their tops was sized 12 but actual measurements is 43 inches – so it may work :)

  4. Lovely interview with a great person. I think as British-made and provenance are becoming slowly more sought-after, value will be more and more instilled into are garments, which not only encourages us to shop smarter, but also to keep and cherish our clothes longer. I’m very lucky to be working for knitwear designer Di Gilpin who not only shares the same ethos, but has also worked with Cabbages & Roses to make this lovely hand-knitted reindeer jumper. Thanks for the interview!

  5. I do agree that C&R clothes are very beautiful. In fact I have one of their jumpers that I wear almost daily, around the house. It’s long a-line, grey, and has blue velvet under the hem. I think my jumper is 70% wool and 30% alpaca, and I bought it in Jigsaw 2-3 years ago.
    The only sad thing is that it has pilled absolutely tremendously since I first wore it – so I only wore it out a few times. I have tried to deal with the pills, but they are absolutely all over, and so there would be nothing else left!

    Having said that, I am always very tempted to buy something from them again – just slightly wary of their knitted goods, which is sad! I do love the shape and warmth and comfort of my C+R jumper!

  6. Excellent interview – and, at last someone who realises that ‘quality never goes out of style’. I love to buy clothes that will last me for years. I don’t particularly enjoy clothes shoping and am happy to wear an item for ever – or for as long as it will last. Not always one and the same . :-)

  7. I love your coat – I am sure I have commented on it before. I know what you mean about clothes that just simply make you feel good when you wear them …… I have a beautiful Laura Ashley dress and jacket (in very unlike LA fabric) that Malcolm bought for our 1st wedding anniversary (so it’s 24 years old). Although I haven’t fitted into it for many years, I simply refuse to part with it. The fabric, the cut, the fit are all superb (I think LA has gone downhill since the 80s!).

    • Good to know that I am not the only one…They used to have a shop in my hometown in Germany, I bought some dresses and skirts in the 80s, I’m too old for the flowery dresses now but just cannot throw them out – and I’m still wearing some of the skirts and whenever I am in the UK, I try to go to one of their shops, but last time I was very disappointed and did not find anything…

  8. ” Longevity is the antithesis of fashion, and we are so un-fashion-conscious that we consider that it if something is not in fashion, it is not possible to be out of fashion.”

    I love this. It pretty much sums up my view of dressing myself. Thank you for conducting and sharing this interview. :)

  9. C&R’s design sense and philosophy of manufacturing are both admirable.

    Love both the coats you’ve modeled above. Until this post, though, I thought that the red dress you wore with your Funchal wrap was your own design!

  10. Lovely interview…

    Funny that she mentions Vogue. I’m sure you know this by now, but I picked up their latest issue of Vogue Knitting (Holiday 2011, with Martha Stewart on the cover) and in their suggested web reading, was delighted to find a paragraph or two recommending TextIsles and you!

  11. Hmmm….. it looks like the daughters of women of a certain age have taken over the modelling contracts at C&R’s. I would love to see a few well dressed mothers in their advertisements. These are perfect ‘fab 50′ clothes.

  12. You probably know already where I stand on much-loved garments, and I can entirely empathise with your feelings about The Coat and your pleasure at having found a company that not only shares the same ideals, but produces beautiful clothes. It’s no coincidence that the word “investment” is related to the same source meaning “to clothe”.

    As for cabbages, is there a duff one? The January King has the edge on colour with its purple tones, but how about the texture of the Savoy, or the sweetness of Hispi? I know what I’m talking about. I spent a winter in Cornwall selling cabbages from a horse and cart. Our favourite customers were a family, mother and daughters, we secretly called the Cabbage Queens.

    • I love your question, “as for cabbages, is there a duff one?” I think it’s a jolly question, and I suspect that no duff cabbages exist.

      There is a song I have which includes the lyrics “My girl is the queen of the savages, she don’t know the modern world and it’s ravages… instead of money she has yams and cabbages…” and this reminds me of the Cabbage Queens. I love the sound of your Cornwall winter and am envious of your expertise.

      Thank you for pointing out the etymological connection between “investment” and “to clothe.”

  13. Thanks for this lovely interview. Disposable fashion is really a worry and it’s nice to see people within the industry trying to change the idea of clothing that is worn once and then thrown away. Working in the warehouse for a charity shop really helped bring home the amount of poor quality clothing we accumulate – there would be truckloads of clothing brought in that had to be thrown out as it was not in a good enough condition to be sold. Let’s hope there are more designers out there like Christina :)

  14. Now i’m living in Tasmania I really appreciate good quality British clothes! There is a good hand-made tradition in Australia but really good and beautiful things are hard to find. I’ve probably mentioned her before, but have you come across Eloise Grey? She makes beautiful coats and jackets from tweed woven in Mull. Designed to be heirloom pieces, they aren’t cheap, but they are outstanding in terms of both style and quality. I went and ordered a couple at sale prices this year and I know I will have these for the rest of my life….. Now, I’ve got my eye on that lovely red wool Cabbage and Rose dress…..!

    • I have just had a look on their @ site, thank you for your suggestion. Very interesting philosophy, the connection your made with C&R’s is appropriate, beautiful garment (especially for a person like me always in search -hum !- of the perfect jacket/coat !).

  15. A lovely interview! I love what I see of C&R but find it very difficult to give myself permission to spend big money on a single garment, even if I can expect it to last forever. Maybe it will feel easier when I am a little older and I don’t have kids living at home. Or if I lived somewhere cleaner! Having a great muddy hairy dog around the place does not inspire me to have “really nice” clothes. How do YOU manage? Do you avoid Bruce? Have an account at the dry-cleaners? Or just a big stiff brush and a carpet beater?!

  16. Thank you Kate for your fantastic interview and your continued support of Cabbages & Roses. It is such a pleasure to find like-minded people who value quality and good craftsmanship as much as we do (and we think that your work is wonderful!)

    We would like to let everyone know that we do in fact ship anywhere internationally, through our Langton Street store in London. If you would like to place an order with us but are outside of the EU, please email or call them with your order and our sales assistants will happily arrange a postal sale for you;

    +44 207 352 7333
    shop@cabbagesandroses.com

    Shipping costs depend on the destination, the weight of the parcel and your preferred courier (UPS or Royal Mail), and this will be quoted prior to order confirmation.

    We do hope that this enables our international customers to make their beautiful C&R purchases! Please also remember that you can contact us at info@cabbagesandroses.com should you have any further queries.

    Love, C&R xx

  17. What a lovely interview and virtual tour through your wardrobe. I definitely espouse your views on buying clothes that are meant to last – I’m currently wearing a skirt that is six years old and I hope it has a little longer in it yet.

  18. So sad about your stroke! But you look quite well now, I hope! Your story is so funny, because less than two weeks ago I fell quite a distance and hit my head full force on a sturdy wooden wall. Although I ended up needing stitches and had a concussion, through the horrible pain I was telling my husband who was tending to me to avoid ruining his new coat I had just bought for his birthday! Now I will check out the rest of your site! These photos are delicious!

    • I just wanted to add that I found and read the story about your stroke and found it very interesting as well as horrifying. You are such an inspiration the way you have kept going, though, and with such style!

  19. Hi Kate ! And thanks. I did not know Cabbages and Roses and I highly appreciate the style and the philisophy ! They highly deserve your highlight and women of this calibre on business always deserve encouragements ! You are always dressed so well ! I will have a look inside one of their shops next time I will be in London. The @ site is quite complete, they even have a lovely linen England-made Toile de Jouy (which used to be cotton-produced in Jouy-en-Josas/France but not any more) under the funny name of Toile de Poulet. A book would be a great idea, why not about inspiration-ethics-design-patterns-quality focus on fabrics and production-co-operation with other stylists (like you) and you could even write the preface about the relevant British industry ? I have many books on French couturiers mainly and they are all written on this same and logical way (except for your preface…), and pictures never hurt. And my favorite rose is Rosa Chinensis Mutabilis, always different always simple. Take care of yourself.

  20. But when will Cabbages and Roses make clothes in larger sizes? I love the look, but can’t fit in the available sizes…I’m a 16, minimum.

  21. Thanks for the inspiring interview. I love to hear what’s going on in the minds of designers especially when integrity and longevity are a major part of their consideration in design. Thanks for taking the time to do this

  22. You make me want to move to England! I read every word you write, with so much admiration. Thank you for sharing your beautiful coat…..its definitely a Forever coat! Could some wonderful and brilliant knitter design one for us to knit? And a big hug of gratitude for the Cabbages and Roses interview! I just loved it….I will save to re-read many, many times.
    Thank you, to my knitting soulmates across the pond!

  23. Oh what a beautiful blog story..LOVE the Cabbages and Roses clothes, and they go so well with all your handknits Kate.
    I have always searched for clothes like this, and often in the past have had to resort to sewing my own from the patterns I could source in the general sewing shops here in Australia.
    The styles are so timeless whimsical, practical and beautiful. In my wardrobe I need to get back to the roots of these types of clothes, as i have alwyas loved them the best. Your The coat is gorgeous Kate.

  24. There is of course one teeny problem with the clothes – they’e beautiful (a tad girly for me but then I’m not fond of a skirt bound wardrobe on account of tights) – these are not especially affordable clothes. Some folk may shop at Primark and Matalan because they love the look – most don’t, it fits in with their budget. I would balk at spending 200 quid + on a coat and I’m fairly comfortably off. I’m not arguing in favour of disposable fashion but for a little bit of realism and pragmatism – don’t sneer at disposable fashion if you’re in the enviable position of being able to afford to spend money on your clothes. You’re lucky. Many aren’t.

    • thanks for your comment, Joanne – you make several interesting points here that I think require a response. First, if you’ve been following my blog, you’ll realise that many of my clothes are made my myself from scratch, or refashioned from second-hand items. I also look after my clothes, repairing them and storing them carefully, which means that they last a long time.During the whole of 2008, I decided to stop buying clothes entirely, and to spend a year making everything myself. One of the things that this project taught me was that a single really well-made item is worth a wardrobe full of badly-constructed cheaper pieces. I put my Cabbages and Roses coat in this category – that is, it is an investment that is likely (because of its style as well as its quality) to last me a decade or more. Value is not just about the cost of a single item, but about the years of wear that are contained in it. If I spend £300 on a coat, but it lasts me three times as long as the Matalan coat that costs £60, then the investment is really more than worth it. I certainly did not intend to sneer at disposable fashion (though I find very little to admire either in the plastic Christopher Kane clothes that cost several thousand pounds, or in the £10 garments purveyed by Primark, produced in factories with very dubious labour practices), but I do think that a thrifty attitude to clothes might come in different forms. Is it more thrifty to buy a whole wardrobe full of clothes on the high street because it is very easy and very cheap — or to make one’s own clothes oneself, purchasing others second-hand at charity shops, mending and caring for the clothes that wear out rather than throwing them away, and occasionally treating oneself to a beautiful, well-made and – yes – expensive item that will last one a lifetime? Personally I’m in the second camp.

      • I tend to agree with you because as a knitter and a sew-er well crafted clothes that last are environmentally and ethically more my style (I agree with your stance on disposable couture as evidenced by Kane et al) but realistically if your income is being shrunk faster than a wool sock in a tumble dryer and your disposable cash is near zero three hundred plus pounds for a coat is a lot of money to find. Even if you only plan to do it once every two years. However keep up your good work – I think it’s a sign of a damn good blog if you don’t agree with it all the time!

      • Living in Britain, I need to wear a warm coat for at least six months of the year- So on a geographical pay-per -wear basis, if I lived in Aberdeen I could probably justify being stitched into bespoke tweed! My most loved of coats is a beautiful, beautiful (feel thelove) heather -coloured Gloverall-made in Britain- 100% herringbone wool duffel coat, bought ‘new to me’ for £50. I expect it to see me out, BUT, Kate, should you ever succumb to fickle fashion, I might just consider swapping coats with you. Mine’s even nicer than yours so you’d be getting a deal.
        I have champagne tastes and a lemonade life too Joanne, and mostly make my own clothes as my tastes outstrip my means. If you’re happy to have homemade/ second hand you can still get things you’ll cherish. If I was to buy new, People Tree and their ilk have some lovely things at High Street prices. Having said that, this all applies to grown adults- I’d like to know what parents of teenage children think- and what they think of what their children want?

  25. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog and love knitting my own clothes but i still enjoy fashion and do shop on the high street and m and co which i think you have in Scotland. I admire your fashion choice and the clothes at cabbages and roses are beautiful but it can be hard to find fashion to fit wnen you are petite 5 ft and high street shops do cater for smaller sizes. Even though i shop on the high street i still try to buy classic things which stand the test..of time. .. i am going to think more about my purchases and hope to knit the deco cardigan next year . best wishes heather

  26. You have written a very thought-provoking post, and the comments have been very worth the read as well. As far as thrift in buying clothes goes, I think that for the majority (not all, of course) of people in the US, not much thought goes into the impact their clothing purchases have beyond how they fit into their wardrobe. Here we have Wal Mart (and others) making a killing selling very cheap, made to wear-out (so you have to buy more) clothing. I have to admit to occasionally being a part of this consumer culture myself, even though I really do know better. It (the culture of cheaply made and sold goods) is everywhere.
    I am inspired by what I have read today, and though I’m unlikely to spend hundreds of dollars on a single item of clothing (hand-knits by me being excepted, as sometimes the perfect yarn can be expensive) I will put more thought into how I clothe myself. Thank you for this post!

  27. I totally agree with Kate’s arguments over fashion/clothing – the idea of the Slow Wardrobe mentioned by another commentator is a lovely way to perceive this. Eloise Grey’s blog is a fascinating read – she charts the evolution of her ethical fashion business and thoroughly argues the case for producing and purchasing heirloom pieces over and above disposable items. She also champions Observer journalist Lucy Siegle’s ‘To Die For’, a book about the horrendous manufacturing practices of the fashion industry. If you buy an expensive British made coat – such as one by C&R or Eloise Grey – you’re supporting a whole chain of farmers, weavers, tailors, designers, all involved in honest, ethical practice, and all striving to preserve something special and individual. Every time you buy from Primark you’re supporting child labour and sweatshop industries. You could take this to extremes I know, but I do think it;s worth opening your eyes and doing what you can, and considering the real cost, the human cost, not just the financial cost. Having said that, the amount of cheap clothing I’ve bought over the years probably adds up to more than I care to think about, and none of it has lasted, whether for the shallow fact of going out of fashion or sheer lack of quality. Handmade is great if you can manage it – and Kate is particularly well skilled! – and if not, quality vintage (virtually impossible in Australia I have to say) or really beautiful, ethical, quality pieces are the way to go. A few, carefully selected items go a long long way, and this is definitely how I will be shaping up my future wardrobe, especially now I’m in my late 40s, with young children and on a limited budget – it simply makes more sense. Elegance and quality really do go hand in hand.
    Thanks so much Kate for inspiring such a though-provoking debate….

  28. Oh, dear, I certainly wouldn’t describe someone who’s had a stroke in her thirties as being “lucky” and I don’t begrudge anyone having things I can’t have! I have my share of nice things I have found at thrift shops, but if I could afford it I would definitely fork over the cash, I’m sure. What I’m amazed by is that you can still wear the coat you were wearing when all that happened–I can’t bear to look at the top I wore to the hospital for my little incident, but, then again, it isn’t a beautiful garment from Cabbages and Roses! Which just goes to show the value of something you love versus something you picked up for a song, I guess. Anyway, there are enough horrific things going on in this world to look down our noses at and wag our fingers at and someone’s favorite coat just doesn’t make my top billion list at the moment. ;-)

  29. Slightly off topic but if you want to see some beautiful knitwear – and some clothes that wouldn’t look out of place in Cabbages and Roses go and see the new Scorcese family movie ‘Hugo’. All sorts of other reasons for seeing it too – it’s really magical. I had worried about going to see it as I had loved the book so much but needn’t have. My partner is now trying to convince our ten year old daughter that she should go for the Isabelle bob in the movie. No chance!

  30. Since YOU brought up the issue of well-made, stylish clothing, and since they don’t have men’s clothes, is there a similar UK brand for men. My husband bought a raincoat from Jack Murphy while we were visiting Ireland (from the US) and wants a warm long coat (he is 6’5″)
    Any suggestions?
    Enid

  31. Cabbages & Roses really do make lovely clothes – exactly the kind that I like and I must admit that I am lusting a little bit after the red plaid Full Circle Dress! I had the pleasure of meeting Christina (and Kate) this past summer at International Quilt Market in Salt Lake City when Cabbage & Roses debuted their line Northcote Range for Moda – I doubt that Christina remembers talking to me since their were so many people though but I thought that she was quite lovely to talk to.

    I may not be able to afford their clothing (having only recently finished my Masters and now working as a tier one librarian) but I agree with you about disposable fashion and taking care of your clothing. I have many articles of clothing that have been around for a number of years but since I (and on occasion, the person who owned the item before me) take care of most items well they have lasted.

  32. While there’s much to comment on above, I will simply say – I read the interview, visited Cabbages & Roses, and now a dress is on its way. What I only noticed today is that it is the same dress you are wearing while modeling Funchal Moebius. I have the feeling that even if we lived on the same street and wore the dress on the same day, it wouldn’t be a problem.

  33. Kate, your coat is beatiful! I know exactly what it means to really like a particular garment. Although I live in Sweden I am a big fan of Harris Tweed. By now I have eight much loved jackets, one skirt and two coats. Although I am not interested in fashion or clothes in general (however, I do care for my handknits and am very proud of them) I absolutely treasure my Harris Tweed garments and enjoy every moment I wear them. From the look of them they will last many, many more years.

  34. I absolutely love Cabbages and Roses, my only sadness is that they do not make in larger sizes – 16,18 …Might be able to buy their things if they did….i think they are missing a trick but they you go, they obviously only like thinner people

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