Stella & Alf

Friday, 29 August 2014

Top, Stella & Alf.

Way back when, when I first started Mibbing, when 'The Mibber' didn't exist in it's current form but that of  'What She Saw'. I discovered Stella & Alf. It was in the olden days, I like to think back to the early days and remind myself of how hard it used to be to discover the good MIB, the REALLY good MIB (ok, so it was probably just over a year ago - I may be exageratttttting)

And that it was. I was instantly smitten with their aesthetic. The kind of effortless simplicity which is often reserved for super hip tumblr posts. Timeless and stylish. And since, the introduction of The Twenty, has added another string to their bow. If they couldn't get any better they have an ethos that makes guilt-free shopping possible. 

I asked Co-Founder, Paris, to answer a few question to help us to get to know Stella & Alf a little more. And tease us about upcoming pieces!


Well both my parents are architects, I think just made it seem really natural for me to design, and has definitely influenced the type of brand I wanted to create. I studied Fashion Design at The University of Westminster, and throughout my studies and various internships, I found that I was always happiest in the design studio creating simple pieces, always with a focus on longevity and provenance.

 I was always drawn to brands who were very open about the creative process, and who gave a clear insight into how they operated. We are a teenie-tiny brand and whilst this meant it was a natural way to start up (to start very small, close to home, and do everything in-house) I very quickly became really interested in supporting British made products, and this has become integral to what Stella+Alf does.

 I find this question really tricky, I think as a designer, much of what you create is the result of a culmination of so many experiences and influences. Having said that, much of what I design is based on feedback from our customers, and I absolutely LOVE Pinterest for keeping inspiring images all in one place.

 Launching The Twenty, I get a buzz every time we launch a new piece, the reaction is always fresh and inspiring.

 I mulled over the word "honest" for a long time. For me it communicates not only the simplicity in terms of the design of our pieces, but also indicates how transparently our products are made- like I said, pretty much every process is carried out in our little studio in Lincolnshire, and that is so crucial to what I feel S+A should be. 

Our three key principles say it all- Honest Design, Beautiful Fabrics, Made in Britain.

When I design a product, I imagine how my Mum, Grandma and little sisters would wear the same piece respectively, if it's relevant to them all, that's how I know a garment embodies what I'm trying to achieve.

Hopefully doing more of the same- promoting British-made,small scale, handmade products, and meeting some great people on the way.

Can I say future? I'm so excited for our new stripes to be released, and we have some gorgeous snuggly knits for winter.

The Twenty is really about making British-made fashion accessible, whilst also maintaining the luxury- gorgeous fabrics, and only twenty of each piece made. Next up - lots of stripes, some gorgeous textures for winter, and some branching out into new territory (ominous I know, but top secret!)

It's always the S+A story, the reason behind the name-

Alf was a trawler man from Lincolnshire. Stella lived on his street.
They married on the 1st November 1958.

They had children. Nieces, nephews, grandchildren.
A ginormous dog. 
They worked hard, laughed harder.
Held hands, hugged big, shared sweets, smiled lots.

They were part of a generation who didn’t just wear clothes once, for one season, simply because they were in fashion.

Their clothes were selected and saved for.
Worn, repaired and recycled. Grafted in, worked in.
Cherished, loved, laughed in, lived in.

Paid for in units of time well spent.
They kept their feet on the ground and their imaginations in the clouds.


Shop Stella & Alf online at: and be sure to follow them on Twitter to find out when the next The Twenty is released!

Andrea x

Second Hand News

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

As I type, I actually think it's been raining for a whole twenty four hours. I feel a twang of guilt thinking of Autumn, like I'm cheating on what's left of Summer. But how can I not dream of staying warm and layering up. I'm the coldest human being ever. I even wore my winter coat out yesterday. Not to mention, my day job which reminds me AW14 is very much in full swing. So I need to face facts: it's already happened, Summer has slipped away.

I mourned Summer for all of about 30 seconds before googling faux British made fur accessories! Ha!

Whilst I don't want to invest in a new winter coat - my MIB Topshop wool one is still very much a good'un - I do want to tweak it. Not to mention my new favourite phrase: "What Would Stevie Nicks Do?". And then theres that felt fedora I just can't stop thinking about.. and I'm not and have never been a hat person *monkey seeing no evil emoji*

Naturally, when the heavens open my first thought was faux fur, on reflection I have seriously questionable fashion associations. Probably the same reason why I should be banned from buying suede shoes. It's true when they say there is no bad weather just bad clothes - or in my case bad choices.

Helen Moore, came up trumps in my search. Already adorning the shoulders of Fearne Cotton (or is it Wood now?) and already being hotly anticipated as THE fashion week must-have, you can't really go wrong. The multi-coloured scarves, the pill box hats and the perfect addition to my existing coat - the peter pan collar, in Forest green no less.

And lets not forget their MIB credentials, with an impressive 31 years of British manufacture under their belts. Swit Swoo. They promote everything I love in a brand.

Whilst I can't bring myself to look at woolies, just yet, I can ask WWSND? She'd accessorise!

Scarf, Age of Reason; Hat, Christy Hats; Scarf, Helen Moore; bag, M.Hulot; Shoes, Arthur Sleepers; bg, Liberty Print.

A scarf layered with a scarf, you say I'm crazy. I say think Burberry AW14! Tie your Shawl with a belt at the waist and luxuriously layer your faux on top.

I wanted a black felt hat but a pop of colour and the feather detail on the band, I just couldn't resist this emeraldyblue shade.

Slipper shoes in tweed to add in texture and bring out the bluey tones of the accessories (even more). The new age rock n roll blue suede shoes. Ones I still won't wear in the rain.

And lovely, lovely, beautiful tanned leather. This wrap over clutch is perfect.

Check out my Pinterest board with lots of styling and inspiration for my new favourite look.

Andrea x

Birthday Haul

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Chocolates, Rococo; Custom Necklace, Anna Lou of London; Acrylic Necklace, i am acrylic; Top, Stella & Alf.

As you probably guessed from my recent blog posts, I've had a birthday. And as all my friends and family know: I only Buy British! The challenge was set and duly accepted. 

(I'm joking. I don't challenge my F+F!) 

I'm not one for birthdays and celebrations and attention being on me. Odd for a Leo, apparently. But I felt well and truly spoilt on the day and spent it in excellent company.

As well as the plethora of gift vouchers (not very exciting to snap!) I also received cash which I put towards this dreamy Stella & Alf top - a present from me to me via other peoples money! Can't blame a girl for getting what she really wants. I've worn it SO much. I wonder how I dressed without it before. 

As well as being greeted with an enormous bunch of flowers from the boy, I also received the traditional box of Rococo Chocolates (which were demolished before this picture was taken!!) a beautiful rose gold custom necklace from Anna Lou of London and tickets to go see First Aid Kit this September! I am beyond excited to see these girls and am already planning my nordic inspired outfit for the occasion. 

Finally, I received a few other little bits and bobs including the cute cloud necklace from one of the bests. I love Tatty Devine's wizardry acrylic but this necklace by I Am Acrylic is hand-cut! HAND CUT. How amazing and I am equally obsessed. Also, bought from my friends pop-up shop, I make fun stuff, specialising in local, hand made.. err... stuff.

Andrea x

Online Descriptions.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

I keep having the same conversations. OVER. AND OVER. 

So I felt compelled to write a slightly more chatty post. 

I recently read this on the Business of Fashion so maybe this spurred it. Or maybe it was the difficulty a number or friends and family had with buying me gifts for my recent birthday which has had me repeatedly have this conversation. Whatever it is, we all need to be talking about it more and making it happen. Forcing change.

Bless the friends and family, they tried, even picking out products I had linked in old posts on The Mibber, which turned out to be made in China. It's okay if you've got so big you've had to outsource to cope with demand. It's OK. But when you claim to manufactured in the UK for X number of years and you celebrate British craftsmanship. It beyond frustrates me. Equally recently, I had a blunder with a dress I had bought which had stated it was MIB in the description and when I received it was actually made in Romania.

What frustrates me the most is how the majority of garments sold in the UK, state their provenance in the care label. And so I struggle to understand WHY if this information is available on the garment WHY it can't be included in the garments online description. Of course no manufacturer/brand selling in the UK is legally obligated to state this information. But I believe if they feel obliged to include it in the care label, they should include it in the online description. 

The "MIB movement" is growing. More people care about where stuff comes from. And to those that do care, at least they can make a slightly more informed decision. Would someone who really only cared about the latest look honestly question whether to buy a garment made in Bangladesh, probably not. So whats the harm about being transparent about where things are made. I'm not trying to say brands are trying to hide this information, or that they have something to hide, maybe they unanimously decided at the start of the internet - people didn't care enough. But now I feel like enough people really do care.

Foreign factories aren't inherently bad, one disaster taints the whole country the backbone of their economy, and whilst there are very dark and murky areas of fashion manufacture still, a lot of brands are doing a lot to bring up the quality of the factories in these 'bad' countries of origins. So they should be shouting and be promoting this. Some COOs are more technologically advanced, cater to more specific skill sets, it's not about reshoring every industry. It's not about boycotting. It's about more consumers being more open to education. Some manufacturers are better than others at producing higher quality of goods, treating their staff fairly, creating safe working environments. Why shouldn't we, as consumers demand the best in all of these issues at a fair and honest price regardless of where it was made? It shouldn't be assumed that something made in Y means it was made in horrid conditions. Is this what brands are afraid of? A retaliation of poor assumptions? 

Whilst I don't buy British because of manufacturing conditions - it is obviously becoming increasingly a contributing factor to my decision making process. Instead I buy British based on the economy, supporting the small factories and brands trying to do it here. I know how much minimum wage amounts to. I know we have strict health and safety legislation. I know the brands I'm buying from. To some extent I even know some of the factories and studios and people making the garments and products. There is traceable transparency in what I buy made in Britain. And since I started MIBing this had become very important to me.

I can't avoid online shopping with my niche of shopping. The high-street, in particular my high-street, is yet to recover from the recession, there are barely any indies in my local town. And that is why I so appreciate the smaller brands proud of what and where they make. I just think it's time we call about the big ones. I'm not asking for Honest By type transparency, not at all. Although extremely informative and even interesting to discover the extent they are willing divulge their manufacturing process. All I ask, is that if you make it, anywhere, you say you made it there. All the information on the care label should be shared in an online description. 

There are big brands out there that are stating which things are 'Made in Britain' but I'm sure this is just to emphasis their own good PR. Even more brands are 'backing British'. But equally there are more big brands which don't say anything at all. I think it would be better practice to just say where everything is made. And whilst I'm not totally naive to believe that product online labelling will change all the woes of manufacture - it's a bloody big step in the right direction. Maybe even the first ripple.

What do you think about online descriptions? Can it really be as simple as if it's on the garment: it's in the description box?

I'd love to know your thoughts. And these are just mine!

Andrea x

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