Meet the Maker: The Emperor’s Old Clothes
In week 8 of our Handmade Season at Flock celebrating all our handmade & vintage labels we introduce you to Cecily Blondel of The Emperor’s Old Clothes:
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Bristol but have been living in Brighton for nearly 8 years now.
How long have you been running your label?
We have been going since November 2012; the team has changed over the years but The Emperor’s Old Clothes has always been my project and I’m really excited to have such a great little team now including Charlotte, Louisa & Ella!
What materials do you use?
We use beautiful mainly vintage and end-of-roll fabrics. It’s important to the ethos of our brand not only in terms of sustainability but also because the history of these often antique pieces really add to the personality of each new item of clothing. I’m always on the hunt for ‘new’ vintage fabrics whether I’m in away in Paris or closer to home – I’m often pouncing on the newest stock from Pick Up Sticks Vintage in Flock – meaning there’s generally lots to choose from at the Emperor’s Studio.
What is your making process?
It depends on the type of piece I’m making: if its a bespoke or custom piece its very much customer-led. I work really closely with each individual from helping them to develop their garment idea – whether it be mens tailoring, bridal, formal or casual-wear – to designing the item and advising or sourcing their perfect fabric.
If it is a ready-to-wear piece that we sell at Flock or online then often the look and feel of the fabric dictates what type of garment it will eventually become. We have four main dress designs the Amy, Catherine, Susa & Lottie (above), as well as other seasonal pieces like our high-waisted shorts and men’s waistcoats which we create in different fabrics. I design and pattern-cut all the Emperor’s pieces and then I or one of my team cut, sew and hand-finish the piece ready to hit the shop floor/our online stores.
Do you offer customised pieces?
Yes our dresses can be ordered in different sizes, fabrics and styles in store. With a whole studio of amazing fabrics customers have a hard time choosing but its always really interesting to see which combinations they go for and how similar or different they are to something we might have done! It’s great because people often order these pieces for special occasions like weddings or parties so you know you’re helping them feel confident for their important moments with a piece that no-one else will be wearing.
What is your favourite material to work with?
Probably cotton as its so malleable and easy to sew although we recently had a bridal customer who choose the most beautiful silk dupion which was gorgeous to work with!
Where do you work?
We have a studio downstairs at Flock where we hand-make all our clothing and accessories as well as run customer appointments and fittings.
What’s your best seller at Flock?
Recently its definitely been our high-waisted shorts & braces! Our little purses are also always popular and make great gifts.
What’s inspiring you right now?
Although it feels like the summer is only just beginning I’m starting to get excited about jackets and coats for this winter! Having sourced some gorgeous wools recently I can’t wait to get stuck in. Also looking forward to creating some more mens’ smoking jackets (below) this autumn/winter. Plus we have our next themed A/W collection in the pipeline which we’ll be releasing more details about in the next couple of months…
Where do you sell online?