Nowhere do edgy design and the DIY spirit cohabit so harmoniously than at Junky Styling. This East London institution was born in 1997 from the crafty hands of Annika Sanders and Kerry Seager. After traveling the world in their early twenties and discovering the prevalence of recycling from San Francisco to Tokyo and the resourcefulness of people for Vietnam and Thailand, the two friends came back to London and began creating clothes for themselves from second hand finds. From making experimental outfits for themselves to go clubbing, to dressing their friends and opening a stall in Kensington Market, the business grew and moved into its present hub in East London’t Brick Lane. Although no two items can ever be the same, as they are all handcrafted from deconstructed pre-loved garments, you can usually expect to see endless stunning variations made from pinstriped suits and men’s shirts in a Junky Styling collection. No transport necessary, the East-End design team just has to reach over and grab the discarded suits of the nearby city bankers to create a style that condenses all the codes of London fashion into something completely unique and always fun.
Not ones to keep their tricks to themselves, Annika and Kerry have just published a book about their experiences and are constantly working on projects to grow and develop their line and spread the word about the fun of upcycling existing clothes!
ECO FASHION WORLD: Your first book just came out, why do people need to buy it?
JUNKY STYLING: To realize how brilliant recycled design can be! The book explains and illustrates the last decade of Junky Styling, the business and design development. It’s an honest account of the successes, mistakes, pitfalls and pleasure involved in running and growing your own unique fashion business. It looks good on your coffee table too!
EFW: You started making clothing without any formal training as a fashion designer. Do you think that was an advantage?
JS: It was the only way to achieve anything at the time, now with the beauty of hindsight and a great deal more confidence, it could be said it was an advantage. Kept us trying harder and never too full of ourselves.
EFW: You were one of the first designers (if not the first!) who started upcycling clothes, how do you perceive the growing trend of designers doing the same thing?
JS: It’s more than a trend it’s a respect for sustainable design and a fresh way at looking at fashion. As long as new designers are original and have the right ethics – bring ‘em on! It’s great if we’ve inspired anyone in any way.
EFW: It seems that the expression 'small is beautiful' fits your brand very well. Have you deliberately chosen not to have too high ambitions in growing your business?
JS: It’s not lack of ambition believe - whilst we are careful not to over expand our current operation, we are growing through diversifying our products and services without diluting the quality of what we do. We outsource some of our production and help those businesses grow, who then in turn do the same and so on.
EFW: If you could create your ideal world in 20 years from now, what would it look like in terms of ethical fashion?
JS: Fair Trade, Organic Cottons and transparent business practice would all be industry standards. There would be no retail monopolies and people would feel great about dressing up to the nines.
EFW: Who would you love to dress in a Junky outfit and why? Kerry? Annika?
JS: Annika – I’m always blown away by musical people, singers, musicians, DJ’s and I have new favorite every week like Dizzee Rascal or La Roux. The idea of changing the look of an individual with really strong dress sense/identity like Noel Fielding or Patti Smith excites me as well – real transformation. Or even just someone exquisite like Uma Thurman, Cate Blanchet , Charlize Theron or Julianne Moore.
EFW: Can you tell us a bit about the collection you will be showing during London Fashion Week?
JS: It’s a comprehensive wholesale offer for S/S10. It’s wearable pieces crafted from Men’s Traditional Shirting featuring dresses, tops, skirts and shorts. The ‘Flag Dress’ is such a versatile piece, it can be worn in several different ways, with or with out a bustle and could go from day to night. – the same dress can fit a size 8 through to 12.
EFW: Do you have any advice for our readers who would love to upcycle their own clothes the way you do?
JS: It’s all about knowing what suits you and getting the fit right. Just keep on practicing.
written by ...love Maegan, November 16, 2009
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