I’m an adopted East Londoner, having lived in Walthamstow since 2008 (when I announced to my long-suffering husband, then-boyfriend, that I would be moving in with him for two weeks until I found my own place and NOT A WEEK MORE).
Fortunately for me, I never left and eight years later I’m still rinsing the life out of E17 and discovering exciting new things. Spaces including The William Morris Gallery, Central Parade and The Mill E17 have created a hub for creative thinking and working, and with the continued expansion and redevelopment it looks like the innovation just keeps on coming.
I thought I knew the ‘Stow quite well but I didn’t realise just how many creatively-minded folk actually hung out here. By the power of Instagram and my love of all things sartorial, I recently stumbled across womenswear website BORN AT DAWN and was excited to discover that (a) its founder, Lucy Knights (@magpie_fashion), is based in Walthamstow after migrating from the North of England (b) there were so many things about her style, her creative outlook and the impressive way she balances motherhood, work and general life that I could relate / aspire to and (c) the concept and thinking behind the brand is right up my street.
So what is BORN AT DAWN? It’s a multi-brand e-commerce website launching in early 2017 that promises to offer rising fashion and accessible luxury. With the current deluge of womenswear websites available - but with differing and sometimes questionable price, quality and style - BORN AT DAWN heralds the beginning of a new way to shop.
There’s lots of things that made Lucy’s brand stand out for me and piqued my interest in its launch next year…
- It will be focused. As a busy working parent herself with limited time but a desire to be on trend, Lucy knows all about the importance of maximising the time available to you. So BORN AT DAWN will be carefully curated to ensure only desirable, must-have items are stocked and align with women’s busy lifestyles.
- It will be effortless and represent go-to, easy to wear pieces that we all want hanging proudly in our wardrobe. Lucy promises to hunt down pieces that are beautiful but versatile, and also allow us to glide effortlessly from day to night - always a winner. The collection promises items that can be worn ten times or more which in turn helps to decrease the cost per wear and justify the investment. Plus, they’ll match many of the staples most women already have lurking in their closets - a huge bonus.
- It will be personal. Lucy is offering a personal shopping element to the collection (available in selected areas) where customers will have the opportunity to book an evening to view the collection and receive expert saying advice, and host a trunk show in the luxury of their own home with friends round for a ‘Born at Dawn Night In’. (I hear prosecco corks popping).
Lucy has spent the majority of her career specialising in luxury fashion retail, and having worked with Harrods on their womenswear sales and strategy prior to conceiving BORN AT DAWN, it’s safe to say she’s an authority on all things elegant.
So it comes as no surprise that one of the most exciting elements of BORN AT DAWN is the range of brands that feature as part of the collection, many of which are Scandinavian and French inspired and so naturally exude that timeless, effortless look.
Brands include Samsoe & Samsoe, Selected Femme and Mads Norgaard and the very cool Maison Scotch - based in Amsterdam and known for scouring the globe to discover unique pieces - which has me particularly animated. Eager shoppers can expect beautiful shirts, soft sweatshirts, easy embroidered kaftans and summer dresses when the brand launches for SS17. Also, 2NDDAY, the Danish progressive womenswear label whose foundation is denim, leather and tailoring and part of the Day Birger et Mikkelsen group features as part of the BORN AT DAWN collection for SS17 and will offer special leather pieces, jumpsuits and perfect boyfriend jeans. Simply heavenly.
BORN AT DAWN and what it stands for spoke to me on many levels. I've reached a point where in my *ahem* mid-late 30s, I seem to be busier than ever and juggling a huge mound of stuff. This doesn’t mean my enthusiasm for fashion has dissipated, quite the opposite, but I simply don’t have time to embark on long shopping trips or spend hours browsing loads of websites. Sometimes, I’m lucky if I can have a wee.
I still want to be on trend but sometimes outfits need to be versatile as I mostly have a wriggly, dribbly baby attached to me and dash around at full pelt. I’ve always had a preference for the experimental and as I’ve got older and wiser my sartorial choices are (hopefully) a little more refined. I’ve never been a fan of the over-done look and favour a minimalist, clean aesthetic that labels like The Finery London and & Other Stories offer, or Jenna Lyons and those super cool Scandi girls radiate. Crucially, on a maternity leave budget I need mid-range prices but with undiluted quality and need to feel that by dipping into my savings to buy the odd piece it’s at a price and quality I can justify.
Lucy explained that the brand's woman is “…a strong, down to earth, creative, social individual. She is confident, accomplished and successfully balances the many different roles she has in her life”. It’s like someone has tapped into my brain and discovered what I’m aspiring to be.
BORN AT DAWN and Lucy’s vision could not have come at a better time for me. My little baby boy is now six months old and whilst he keeps me completely on my toes, I think I’m...gulp...ready to fully embrace fashion again. Yes! Bloggers like Dress Like A Mum and Mother Pukka have realised that many new Mums, like myself, struggle with their identify after having children and are striving to change the bad reputation of Mum dressing. The struggle is real - I’ve lost my nerve and am stuck in a uniform of feeding-functional, easy-to-fling on garb but I'm starting to rebel.
So, here’s to the power of creativity and accessible luxury. Wishing you all the best Lucy and I can’t wait to experience BORN AT DAWN when it launches next year.
I’m excited to dress like me again.