So, what are you wearing? It’s not a trick question but I doubt you’ll give me the answer I’m looking for. Why’s that you may ask? Well, because you can’t see the things I’m asking you about. You can’t see them, you can’t feel them and you can’t smell them (you certainly can’t hear them). They’re the chemical nasties that your high street clothing is harbouring.
A recent report by Greenpeace highlighted that some of the big boys on the high street’s products, in particular clothing and shoes, contain some nasty chemicals that really are not doing you any good. In fact, some of these chemicals have been shown to affect the genetic makeup of animals.
The report entitled ‘A Little Story About The Monsters In Your Closet’, can be read here. It lists some of the companies that are selling these items of clothing…you might raise an eyebrow. Then again, you might not. We’re talking Disney, Primark, H&M, Adidas, to name but a few.
Here at FKHQ we’ve known about these for quite a while and why most of our fabrics are sourced from organic suppliers (and bear the OEKOTEX and GOTs organic certifications) and our handmade clothing are made from these. Please bear this in mind when you’re buying your next item of clothing from the high street.
We love Bora products. It’s official. They’re bright, colourful, and sometimes a wee bit cheeky. What’s more, all of the fabric is organic (hurrah!)
We’ve been lucky enough to catch up with Deborah who is the creator of all the Bora products, and she’s kindly agreed to be interviewed by us mere mortals here at Funky Kitsch.
So what’s the story behind Bora? How did it all start?
I’ve always loved to draw and paint. And when I had to choose a direction to go it was very clear: art school!
At the Willem de Kooning academy in Rotterdam I studied ‘illustration’. I got my degree in 2002 and became a freelance illustrator for children books for education publishers.
When I was pregnant of my second child I though it would be nice to design my own wallpaper and curtains. So found Spoonflower.com. It motivated me to learn how to make patterns. And that gave me so much joy that I haven’s stopped making patterns since then. Fabric brands and clothing brands saw them and ask me to design for them.
Besides designing I have a little webshop that sells the products I designed. And sometimes I do a illustrations for books, cards, etc. But most of my time is spent on the fabric design.
Scandinavian style is all the rage just now and Bora fits right in! Was that a deliberate choice, or a natural extension of your own taste?
I’ve always loved to use happy bright colors. And from the beginning of artschool the themes I loved most to draw where whimsical happy animals and children.
Because of the process how the fabrics are made I was forced to simplify my style. I’m limited to using only a few colors and not too many shades/ structure/ etc.
I must admit that I was not aware that my style fitted in the ‘Scandinavian style’. It was just how my style developed during years of drawing and designing.
What inspires you when you design your products?
Children give me the most inspiration. Most patterns I make are based on my interest, my life or just what I would like to have, wear, see, enjoy, etc.
Little and big moments can give great ideas! If it’s a cloudy sky, a day in the park, sorting out tools, baking a cake; it can all turn into a lovely image or pattern.
Do you strive to provide ethical and sustainable products to your costumers? If so, what drives your ethos, and how difficult (or easy!) is it to stay true to your beliefs?
That’s very important to me. The fabrics I design for Lillestoff are all organic and produced fairly. It gives me a great feeling selling it my own shop knowing that it’s a good product. When there is a choice I will always choose the most sustainable and environmently friendly version.
If products will harm people or the environment that will go against my philosophy of making children and adults happy with my designs.
What’s in store for Bora in the future? What are your plans?
As before I just love to draw and design; I’ll keep doing that with no special plans in mind. I’ll see what comes on my path But I can tell you that i’m working on new cards, posters and a new website. But I’m not in a hurry, because I’m pregnant of my 3rd child
What’s your favourite Bora product?
That’s a difficult one, I design so much that I have no idea what I like most haha!
But the things I like most are the designs that lay close to my life, because it’s about my interest or the interest of my own children. Those designs that come to me and just made for fun. Like the camping fabric design for example. Inspired by a weekend spent with my children camping .
What’s your favourite non-Bora product?
I love a lot of non-Bora products! You can see on my pinterest
For fabrics I’m fond of merino wool! It keeps the children warm on cold winter days. I also love old stuff; all thing enamel, teapots, blankets, kitchenware, lamps.
If you were on a desert island, which 3 items could you not live without?
First it would be my family of course But as you ask for items i would choose:
My computer to draw, my sewing machine to sew and my little 2 row accordion to make some music at a campfire
(I hope there will be electricity on that desert island
Thank you Deborah for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. We’re really grateful.
If you would like to see more of Bora’s products you can see them on our website.
Today has been so sunny and warm and I get the feeling it’s the last burst of summer before it all goes cold, damp, frosty and wet. We’ve made the most of it and gone blackberry picking.
We have a few farms nearby and along the hedgerows grow wild blackberries. We did well this time and managed to find a mighty haul. Not weighed it yet but I’ll guestimate a good 5lbs of them.
Aha! I hear you say. But what are you going to do with them? Well, that was predecided before we left. This year I’m making as many presents for Christmas as I can manage. With this in mind I’ll be making some rather splended blackberry vodka (or gin for those that partake) It’s very simple to make at home. I use the method that’s a firm favourite with my fellow Mumsnetters. Here it is if you’re not familiar:
1 litre of vodka, 600g blackberries and 300g sugar.
Put in a large jar and shake well. Shake every day for a month and then once a month for next two months.
Strain and bottle.
Eat the boozy blackberries with ice cream.
So, if you’d like to offer someone a lovely boozy present this year then you still have time to get going and have it ready for the big day.
With the surplus blackberries I’ll be making a clafoutis. If you’re asking yourself what on earth it is wellllll, it’s kind of a tart cum souffle cum custard. I think in it’s pure form it’s made with cherries but no one likes cherries in the house (apart from me). Anyway, I can tell you it’s delicious and freezable so you can cook in advance. Here is the recipe I got from Pinterest that works well for me.
And lastly, I’ve got another order of really, REALLY, funky fabric on it’s way from Finland. Disappointment is not an option.
Being ever the optimist, I’m sure that summer isn’t yet over. It can’t be. I need to get burnt and go lobster red at least once. But rainy days can be good days. Good days for sewing at least. I don’t feel as though I’m missing out on too much when I look through the office window and see it pouring down.
I’ve not had a huge amount of time to sew in the past few weeks. The school summer holidays have seriously cramped my style and I’m ticking the days off on the calendar to the 3rd September. In the meantime I haven’t been idle. We’ve had a huge delivery of some rather splendid, dare I say stupendous, fabrics from Sweden and Germany. We can’t get enough of those scandi fabrics here at Funky Kitsch! I’m preparing the autumn and winter clothing for the shop whilst keeping an eye out for some pretty impressive Christmas gifts to add to the stock. Keep a close eye out for new stock landing at the end of August. I wish I could reveal more but I’m sworn to secrecy. **cough** Blafre **cough**
The keen eyed amongst you may have spotted that our ever popular range of scandi knit fabrics have a new lower price. We’ve taken 10% ish off each fabric. This isn’t a fleeting special offer, oh no. We have permanently discounted them. We want to share the fabric love at an affordable price.
My Pinterest boards are groaning with nonsense really useful knitting and craft projects. There’s some lovely free sewing patterns that you might like, especially for going back to school, Halloween and Christmas. Make do and mend is definitely on the agenda for us this year. I’m firmly a believer that Christmas (or birthday) gifts that are handmade really are made with love (sweat, tears, hysterics, crying, gin etc). If you’re not already following me on Pinterest here’s the link to save you sifting through millions of pins. Am I good to you or am I good to you?
If you would like to catch up with me in real life, up close and personal, then you can find me at Levenshulme Market on Saturday 24th September. As usual there’s a plethora of all things bright and beautiful and, we’re having a MAHOOSIVE sale. Nothing to lose and everything to gain for you dear reader. If you can’t make it next Saturday I will be there each fourth Saturday of the month up until December when the final market of the year is being held on the evening of the 20th December. Christmas innit.
Lots of lovely ribbing has arrived here at FKHQ. All organic and very soft. I’ve already used it myself (tested, natch) on a top I made for Princess Katherine. Looks fab with a contrasting fabric and gives a professional finish to any garment.
We’ve a range of colours from juicy orange, vivid, pink, red and blue. See for yourself.
And bonus time; If you order more than a metre of any of our fabrics, then whatever size of ribbing you order, the postage will be refunded (ribbing postage only).
So once again I’m up to my armpits in paint. No, not literally. Nor am I doing my own version of tv’s Splash! sponsored by Dulux. I’m on the move again. I’ve taken one of the slightly larger units on the ground floor which will hopefully grab me more customers who will not be able to escape the pull of my lovely stuff calling to them. The keen amongst you good folk will remember that it was only last November that I first settled into the original unit on the first floor, which was also lovingly decorated with my subtle touch of ‘poke your eye out pink’ ™.
Ok first up on the news front is we have some new suppliers. Yippee! Welcome aboard the good ship FK to Twisted Tee, Tee and Toast and Moomins. Each working day feels more and more like I’m off to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party which is good, as that forms part of my company mission statement. All shiny precious things will be with us by end of January at the latest and I will be putting them on the website as they land.
Already landed, unpacked, swooned over and kissed, are these marvellous mono print jersey fabrics from Lillestoff. All are GOTS certified which is something we have come to expect from our fabulous supplier. It is now on the website to buy-as-quick-as-you-can and is available from £5.49. Colours available of red, blue and green. Very versatile, hard wearing and easy to care for.
On a final note, the Moomins are coming! In their droves. Also with us by the end of January. There will be a fantastic selection of household goodies with their adorable faces on them.
We’d like to say a happy new year to all of our fabulous customers and a hello, bienvenue, wellkommen and bonjour to our new customers *big wave*
Keeping you in the loop of what has been happening at FKHQ, we’re moving units at Traders Outlet in Sale. We’ve already outgrown the one we have (after only 7 weeks!) so we’re putting castors on everything and settling in to our new place in the new year. There’s also going to be a huge overhaul of the website with more stock being added so that more will be available to buy online as well as offline in the physical store.
We’ll also be asking you, dear reader, to send in any suggestions of things you would like to see in the shop and in particular, what items you would like tos see being made up out of our funky fabrics.
Of course it goes without saying that New Year brings new stock and boy, we have some corkers for you. Lots of Swedish organic fabrics that are either GOTS or OEKOTEX certified. Many of you will be thrilled to learn that the Summer fabric from Znok will be featuring and we will be taking pre-orders on this as there were many disappointed customers when we ran out of it. It will be landing during January and will be availabe in half metres as well as fully metres. £9.95 and £19.89 respectively. You may also love to know that this time it’s organic. Woop! Drop me an email if you would like to reserve this fabric as it sells out FAST!
There have been many highlights this year business wise and we’re looking forward to expanding even further in 2013. Of course we couldn’t do it without you guys out there. On that note, we’d like to wish a very happy new year to you and yours.
Christmas is fast approaching and I’ve been extremely busy with orders both for the festive season and stock for our new shop. Of course it’s a poor excuse that I’ve not been blogging so much but in my defence, I’ve put it on my New Years resolutions list along with losing half my body weight, giving up chocolate and doing that parachute jump I’ve put off so many times.
Now that I have more space to work (which obviously means more places for my ever growing fabric stash), I’m finding that the range of clothing items has also grown. Not too much but I’ve been making some very cute scandinavian type hats, dribble bibs and blankets. All of which should be found online in the very near future.
Also, we have some new suppliers of funky children’s clothing onboard. Some scandinavian and some nearer to home. All will be revealed in the new year when they’ll be available.
Keep your eyes peeled for new fabric landing from Sweden, Germany and Finland in the new year. Znok, Liandlo and Lillestoff (our year round faves), all have new funky fabrics in the pipeline and we’ve put our names down, our hands up in the air and asked our mum for a note so that we can bag the best ones before they all go!
You may also notice that we have special offers featured on our website which are frequently changing. We’ll also be holding a sale on lots of scrummy goodies after Christmas. My tip? Sign up to our newsletter and be the first in the queue.
If you haven’t already spotted our competition on our Facebook page then wing your way over there and get your name down (if your name isn’t down, you’re not coming in). Lovely goodies up for grabs. What you waiting for?!
Some of the eagle eyed amongst you will already know that we’ve acquired new premises for our actual physical shop. Yep, a real one with shelves and real people and everything.
After a lick of paint last week (eye popping raspberry) and some funky decals to go on the walls, we’re almost ready to wow the good people of Cheshire (darling) with our take on funky wares for the small people. It’s all been positive so far (from fellow traders and passing customers) both with comments on the design of the shop and the fact we’ll be doing something a bit different.
If you are passing by Sale or Altrincham then swing by and say hello. You can find us at Traders Outlet on Tatton Road, Sale (by the Town Hall). We officially open to trade on Monday 12th November.