After my recent trip to Pitfield in Hoxton I have fallen a little bit in love with House of Hackney. Their statement wallpaper designs formed the backdrop to the new designersblock exhibition I went to see and they really caught my eye. House of Hackney specialise in creating bold prints which are used across both fashion and homewares. It’s very refreshing to see a brand do their own thing in an ever homogenised lifestyle market; you will not catch House of Hackney doing pared back Scandi style living or utility chic. They have ripped up the rule book about following trends and set their own instead. Think leopard print, reinvented florals, tropical leaf patterns, woodland animals – you will either love it or hate it.
House of Hackney launched as an interiors brand in April 2011 and was born as a response to the brand’s founders’ struggle to find the type of products they wanted to buy for their home. In June last year they launched their first fashion lines, translating some of their best loved prints into a capsule clothing collection. Their designs are not what your average person would choose (to wear or for the home) but that’s entirely the point. House of Hackney isn’t your average lifestyle brand, and it’s not designed to appeal to the masses. As the name suggests the brand taps into the vintage mix-and-match style of creative types based in the now gentrified London borough of Hackney. But it’s not a quaint look; design wise it’s poles apart from Laura Ashley and Cath Kidston whose prints dominate the vintage floral market.
New prints include the tropical Palmeral and the super green Inferno, which I love. Product includes lamp shades, wallpaper, bed linen, curtains and also dresses, silk vests plus more. Their Hackney Empire design features a collage of different animals including badgers, bird and koalas, which I see as an illustrative take on the taxidermy trend recently popularised amongst the East London art scene. They have also launched some very pretty dresses in a new print, Dalston Candy (I’ve got my eye on the lovely sleeveless shirt dress in Dalston Candy, shown below). Some of the designs look perfect for summer weddings, and I’m quite certain you wouldn’t end up wearing the same dress as someone else which is always the way when you go high street for a wedding…
What makes House of Hackney even better is that the large majority of their products are made in the UK at specialist factories which adhere to the highest standards of craftsmanship. They work with Stead McAlpin, a printers based in Cumbria, where the number of employees has risen from 45 to 150 in the past three years, largely due to the work the label has created. Their dresses are handmade at a factory in London, and I also have it on good authority that they are developing their own tartan with Johnsons of Elgin in Scotland. So while £250+ for a dress sounds expensive, you are paying to support British industry and paying factory workers a fair wage. Additionally, House of Hackney offsets its carbon footprint by supporting the Woodland Trust in creating new native woodlands in the UK. It’s fantastic to see a fashion brand supporting British industry and charities (as part of its ethos and not just as a PR exercise).
They also place an emphasis on service, offering expert decorating advice and a tailor made curtain service. They will arrange for somebody to visit your home by appointment for measuring and a quotation. They can advise on all aspects from early design through to technical, construction and fit from start to finish, and the services includes pattern cutting, curtain making, upholstery and curtain fitting. In addition, all of their furniture is made to order so any of the prints can be made up on any furniture designs, meaning customers get to choose exactly what they want.
They have a new store opening on Bond Street in May so go and check it out to see the House of Hackney empire in all it’s glory.