I’ve always enjoyed my trips down to Margin, and not just because it provides me with a good excuse to visit London for a night. HYA may have quite a large blogging team, but it’s not like we’re all sat in an office together, so it’s actually pretty rare for me to be able to get out there and talk face to face with brands and designers and I really get a buzz out of that, as well as uncovering new brands to talk about on the blog. Margin is a bit special in that is is one of the few (only?) tradeshows out there that caters to new and emerging brands, so the show is often the first experience that some of the brands have with a tradeshow environment, and I think that a lot of the brands also got to spend time talking and learning from each other, which is really cool, it makes me wonder if something like a indie brand conference with tutorials and workshops would be a good event for UK brands.
For this show Margin had made the move up to the Hilton hotel up in Kensington near Olympia (where the Pure tradeshow was being held on that same day), and I do like the space, it was big, light and airy, and the air conditioning certainly was welcome. There was the usual mix of brands at the show, some tees, some bags, some womenswear, and some stuff that would only be worn by people far more fashionable than me (which is a good thing, I liked that there was items totally foreign to me). This post is just going to serve as a general overview of the show with a few quick introductions for brands, and I’ll be going in-depth over the next few weeks as I mix show reports with regular HYA posts.
Mayamada are hardly new to HYA readers, but it was still great to meet the guys behind the brand and check out their goods. Really nice quality prints, so now I can say I don’t just like their tees, but I know they’re good quality too.
Bundy & Webster were new to me, and I’m looking forward to showing you guys more because they had some really nice designs. They’re collaborating with young artists and photographers all over the world to create interesting arty shirts.
I immediately liked Karmica because founder James shared my belief that t-shirt brands shouldn’t have a launch collection stuff with logo shirts, but that a bit of branding can be a nice touch on a shirt. Their cuff tags are different colours based on which season the shirts are from, which I really liked and hopefully they’ll follow through with in future seasons.
I don’t think that I’ve ever written about THFKDLF before, but I’m sure more than a few of you know about it as this UK brand have grown rapidly since launching earlier this year with their large print designs. Yes, they’re a logo-driven company which isn’t usually my thing, but they actually do something with it rather than plastering their name onto blank shirts.
Seeing Funkrush, I had a strange burst of confidence and said “I don’t normally do this, but you guys might know me, I’m Andy from Hide Your Arms.” Naturally, I was met with blank stares, pride comes before a fall and all that, just because I’ve been writing about a brand for years doesn’t necessarily mean that they know about HYA. They’ve been pretty quiet when it comes to new releases whilst they were working on some other projects, but their new stuff looked really nice, very typical of their signature style, so hopefully they’ll be doing regular releases soon.
Alice Takes a Trip (who, let’s be honest, I got some pretty poor photos of) hail from Sheffield and they’re one of those brands that will inevitably be pigeon-holed into the vast category of ‘alternative’. They’ve got some really interesting stuff, so expect to see a feature on them soon.
There was no one at the Chronicles Clothing stand when I wandered over which was a pity because it would have been nice to get some background on this brand. They’ve got cool looking clothes though and they felt like good quality, so at least we know they’re a pretty safe bet in that regard.
Dream Nation drove all the way to Margin from Warsaw in Poland with their incredible bamboo frame and cork table setup which drew me in even though I knew that the clothes weren’t my style. Big, big prints on tees, hoodies, and all manner of other styles, I don’t want to stereotype the people that live in Shoreditch, but after visiting there the day before I couldn’t help but feel that Dream Nation could have more than a few dedicated followers in London’s hive of hipster activity.
Fanpac London are a line of licensed shirts based around a number of very well-known musicians bands and more. Usually when you buy a shirt with a band on it the quality tends not to be there, the shirt won’t last very long, but with Fanpac that’s not the case, the shirts felt really high quality and were built to last.
We now start to get into a world where I know little, that of bags that are largely aimed at women. Yorkshire-based Holly & Ruby accepted my blissful ignorance and still showed me their lovely handmade, patterned bags. Quality looked top notch too!
More bags, this time C Grand London and their creative designs. Obviously, these aren’t something I’d wear, but that’s okay since they’re aimed at women, and stylish ones at that. One of the interesting things about this brand is that it is supported by the Prince’s Trust and Cockpit Arts, which seems to be some kind of incubator/hub for design talent in London, it’s really cool that there are organisations out there nurturing British fashion talent.
Carla & Libby are the cut out girls and they make really nice, high-quality handmade bags for men & women, often using reclaimed materials like army surplus leather for the bag straps.
Back to the world of t-shirts and Tooeasy Clothing by an Italian living in London called Niccolo. All the designs are printed onto bamboo shirts which felt great, but I do think their price point of £69.90 is going to put off a lot of people.
As usual Boy Parker made an appearance and it was nice to have someone remember me from February (I am famous, dammit). I’m always impressed with them, both the brands they’re distributing (the phenomenally successful Out of Print and long-time merchants of vintageness PalmerCash) as well as their in-house brand The Illustrated Mind.
To be honest I didn’t really give Trepublic the amount of time that they deserved. They’re a womenswear brand and I don’t really know enough about womenswear to even bluff my way through it, and I didn’t even realise that they had t-shirts when I quickly leafed through their rack of colorful clothes, but they do have some tees with interesting patterns on their site, so we’ll have to call this one a bit of a missed opportunity.
Back to the bags! Urban Junk (who don’t sell through their own site but are stocked all over the place) have some really fun bags with massive back prints. I would imagine that they’re aiming for people a bit younger than me but I still liked what they has on offer, and with the bags retailing at £25ish they’re perfect as school bags. It was really cool talking to the lady from the brand too, I’ve forgotten her name but it was really cool hearing about how the brand has grown and their experiences at other trade shows like Magic out in Las Vegas.
Last up was Gusto, a London-based streetwear brand with some really strong designs, so wearable that even I would have worn the hip-hop based shirts. As you can see from the photos these guys have taken to sublimation printing in a big way and even though they’re pretty new have such a rounded selection of products and strong branding that they already felt like a well established brand.