Designer Gyunel Rustamova was born in Azerbaijan, moving to London to study fashion at not just one of the heavyweight design colleges, but two. The London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins alumna designs a ready-to-wear and couture line from her South Kensington atelier, creating all of her prints in house from hand illustrations. These are then transformed by a skilled design team into prints. It's been a long love affair for me with Gyunel - I call her pieces wearable art, because she creates fashion, yes, but always with a fine art edge to them, they are a creative delicacy. The devil is in the detail and you can discover worlds of it, if you stare at a Gyunel piece for long enough.
Gyunel garments are produced in Italy and made from some of the finest fabrics I have touched in a long time, in fact Vivienne Westwood's infamous words - 'Choose well, buy less, make it last' - spring to mind whenever I see her clothing. Quality is paramount - none of the lining-less, single seamed and cheap fabric offerings that sadly come with so many fast fashion brands. When it comes to waste, Gyunel's leather is by-product from the meat industry in Italy and whilst not everyone advocates for leather, by-products are certainly part of the waste conversation. As the ready to wear designer herself says, 'Each piece from my RTW collections is sampled in England, and manufactured in either Italy or England, to try and support small and local businesses'. On the subject of operating with a close knit London-based design team Gyunel says, 'Gyunel Couture collections are made entirely in my Knightsbridge atelier by a team of couture specialists and the quality speaks for itself. I feel our level of sustainability is definitely one of the things that makes my brand unique.'
I styled my Gyunel outfit with black faux suede shoes from Public Desire (yes, you can dress stylishly without wearing leather - for those who choose to), and a coat from Brick Lane independent designers Twins Diverse.
Founded by design duo Silvio Orrico and Sonia Tauhid, the brand has perfected the art of repeating the same silhouette with a slight moderation - the team are the anti-thesis of fast fashion and are against pushing new unnecessary product - instead they opt to consistently repeat styles because their customers love them. Browsing the Brick Lane boutique is always a treat, and I have never felt panicked that I am not 'on trend'; in fact it's quite the opposite, I always leave - some times with a purchase, others without, confident that I know what I like and that I can take time to decide, come back and still find what I was looking for. Pressure free shopping - I love it! All my jewels are Swarovski, as mentioned yesterday.
In the evening, I headed back to my base, St Martins Lane Hotel, and changed into a vintage look from Blitz in Brick Lane, specifically a red kimono.
Blitz is a fantastic vintage and second hand shop known to be quite the hub for shoppers keen to pick-up pre-loved or throwback pieces. A 2-storey Victorian warehouse for vast vintage fashion, lifestyle and secondhand homeware bazaar - it's a must-see kind of place. My shoes are the same pair from day one, faux leather from Public Desire and my bag is also a second hand piece from a tiny shop in Brick Lane.