Over time, Tall Yarns grew into a tale of two halves. On the one side there is lots of make your own: our yarns Soliloquy and Trinity Twist and patterns, complemented by a selection of our favourite needles, materials and tools. On the other side, this growing collection of ready-made: Layercake, a customer-led, back-door entry into the garment industry (I am deliberately avoiding the word "fashion", because I do not support what that stands for). So yes, we do sell knitting patterns, but we don't sell sewing patterns.
And now there are darning and embroidery yarns, to repair knitted garments as well as repair and embellish Layercake garments. Making you look at a bought Layercake garment not just as the finished product but as a starting point to individualise it. Either by combining it with hand-knits and other garments to create your own individual look and style, or by seeing it as a blank canvas to embellish, mend or alter to suit your style and mood.
So ... what is this business about?
There are a couple of terms that fuel the passion that have lead to this seemingly disjointed collection of products. They part explain what I am trying to offer and achieve with my business. Playfulness, flexibility, mindfulness, make-do-and-mend, slowing down... they all help to describe my approach, but none of them encapsulate it. Layercake's tag-line (every*body*happy) comes closest. It communicates my ultimate driver, which is to give people tools that, when they use them, make them feel good. But it gives little insight into the "how". Meanwhile, visitors to our stand at shows ask whether Layercake is just for tall people...
Then I was asked to describe the business in 9 words for a show application....hmmmm, I'd often given 30 words (to go into a show guide). But 9? It took about as many seconds as it took words: "Slow wardrobe of Layercake garments, knitting yarns and tools" tumbled out of my pen onto the paper. The two words that shone out to me and that, for the first time, seemed to bridge all I am trying to achieve were "Slow Wardrobe". Nothing new in that phrase. I have applied it to Tall Yarns before. Yes it's what we promote and support. But now I saw it as an identifier. THE identifier. Because it is the complete concept, within which there is room for lots of approaches, lots of different ideas, people, products. To buy, to make. It is inclusive, it invites, draws you in. What a phrase to plaster on the front of the building: "The Slow Wardrobe"! Having opened the doors again for 4 afternoons a week since October, it felt that the time was right for a change.
Still, all I had come up with was to put "Tall Yarns and Layercake" on the building...not ideal and still sounding as if it brings two different things together.
Well, The Slow Wardrobe erases that perceived divide! It sounds like the description of an emporium (cue favourite word!), because it sparks imagination and curiosity. And, most importantly, it is the shield I can hold up to the fashion industry, it makes me feel stronger, wanting to make my critical voice heard. So many women tell me they are dis-enchanted with the never-ending, fast turn-over of garments offered by the fashion industry. They don't want to change their look every season. They want to be able to go back next year and buy another one of that favourite garment they found, to be able to build on the collection they have at home, not be made to feel that they have to start from scratch every year.
So...The Slow Wardrobe it is! What I stand for, what I want to crusade for, and what also, finally, serves as a great way to explain what people look at when they see the rag-tag combination of products, patterns and ideas that make up everything we offer. You can come back to us 2 years after you saw a Smock, having taken as much time as you needed to decide you are ready to buy one, and then find it there waiting (or being made especially for you!). You can take your time deciding. As you take your time to knit a perfect accessory to go with it. Or embellish it with patches or decorative stitching. Choosing quality over quantity. Wearing your favourite garments that contribute to your own individual style, knowing they will last and that we are here to inspire and support you to feel happy in your own skin.
Welcome to my way of looking at the garments we wear. Welcome to The Slow Wardrobe.