June 17, 2024


The art of Fashion

Summer dresses, sustainability & celebrating small business with fashion designer Justine Tabak — That’s Not My Age

8 min read

The Linen Each day Lavenham Costume paired with Justine’s individual Hoff trainers and jewelry


With many decades experience planning for huge name manner manufacturers, in her early 50s, Justine Tabak made the decision to launch her eponymous label. Obtaining labored for some of the best-known British trend firms, which include Boden, LK Bennett, Jigsaw and M&S, she experienced turn into more and more annoyed by the ‘sameness’ of the substantial road. ‘It all began to seem alike, and I discovered it hard to locate clothing that put together my enjoy of vintage and fashionable,’ she suggests. ‘I also felt disillusioned with the large volume, pattern-led, ‘buy for discounting’ lifestyle of traditional style retail and needed to strategy a slower, far more crafted way of working.’ In 2016, Justine resolved to just take the plunge and establish her individual little business enterprise.

Owning began out at her kitchen desk, producing typically for her circle of buddies, Justine Tabak’s classic-motivated dresses have grow to be a cult favorite. There is a concentration on uncomplicated, tiered (but not way too voluminous) silhouettes and floral fabrics. The easy to put on attire (and separates) are often impressed by vintage finds, reimagined in modern day day, organic fabrics, including Irish linens, Liberty Tana Lawn and Nottingham lace trims. To continue to keep squander to a least, the lines are designed in batches according to desire, and commonly sell-out. ‘Making anything in Britain allows me to satisfy confront-to-experience with makers, cloth producers, designers and crafters who contribute their capabilities and creative imagination,’ she states. ‘After several years of functioning with mass producers in much-flung locations, it is superior to be capable to maintain it local.’



Dressmaking is in Justine’s loved ones. Her grandfather, an Austrian refugee, was a women’s tailor in London’s East End the spouse and children moved to Manchester to flee the Blitz. Her mum produced all her possess clothing and dresses for Justine and her two sisters. With a eager desire in style from an early age,  ‘I was the boy or girl that was continually building badges, costumes, customising my university uniform’ Justine researched for a degree in Fashion & Textiles at Leicester Polytechnic, adopted by a Masters at London’s Royal Faculty of Artwork. On graduating she landed her initially task at Fendi in Rome and spent 4 yrs building for the Italian catwalks.

Now both 58, Justine and I to start with met for the duration of her Boden days and I’ve adopted her job path ever considering the fact that. It was higher time we caught up again – and wonderful to reconnect. Here we chat about type, sustainability and how she manages her excellent compact business.


Justine Tabak photographed by Claire Pepper


What influenced you to take the leap from doing work for huge fashion brands to starting off your personal label?

I’d always wanted to start out my possess label but never ever felt it was the right time, specially when my children ended up young. I was a single mum for a lot of my 30s and 40s and didn’t extravagant the insecurity of functioning my very own company. My children inspired me to do my very own thing when they had been teenagers, so in my 50s I eventually made the decision to acquire the plunge! I’m extremely grateful that they did, as I’m savoring the new group of sustainable trend good friends and working domestically with a community of makers. I’d spent years travelling the world throughout my job, one thing that did not always match spouse and children life and did not come to feel proper in a a lot more environmentally-aware era, so I needed my own model to have ‘Made in the UK’ at its heart.


How did your company start, and what was your 1st Justine Tabak style?

To begin with, I created a mood-board of the styles of clothes I personally loved effortless to have on, vintage-made-fashionable, fairly and functional, dresses  – always with
pockets! The initially selection provided jackets, trousers, tops and skirts but it was a simple, tiered, crimson corduroy gown that captured the creativity of push and clients, alike. 6 yrs in the past, the Petticoat Lane costume was forward of the curve, a condition that was passionate with an edge –  and to this working day, the dress is a favorite in the collection.




Explain to us what evokes you and influences your models, and what’s significant to you when generating your collections?

I have usually been a scavenger for vintage clothes and have a loft total of second-hand apparel for reference. I may look at a shape, a depth or a print and conjure up a new design and style from these influences. I’m not usually aware of some of my influences. For example, I like Liberty prints but it hadn’t happened to me why, until I opened up the wardrobe of my late father a few of yrs in the past and counted above 20 Liberty print shirts that he had gathered above time! My mum and dad had been both artists and impressed in me a like of used arts my mum would provide me from Manchester to London to pay a visit to the V&A  and new boutiques in the 70s, she took me to Biba and Laura Ashley.

When developing, I really don’t want to just design and style a rather frock, relieve and practicality are just as crucial. There have been many iterations of a intimate gown but I like to assume mine are hardworking, built in sturdy natural fabrics in variations that will previous for yrs. I’m not a slave to tendencies and hope to make items that seriously stand the test of time.


Why did it feel important to you to be part of the sluggish fashion movement?

The sluggish vogue movement is so important after decades of conspicuous usage. I sense passionately that we all require to acquire a lot less and really like our clothing additional, for much too long we have experienced a throwaway society that devalues the craft of making outfits. It is likely to get a prolonged time to retrain outdated behavior but for the sake of the world, the fashion cycle has to transform. Sluggish fashion signifies you are not slavish to speedy trends, it considers the do the job that goes into each and every piece and in performing so suggests that we waste a lot less and educate other people to make far more acutely aware possibilities. On a lighter be aware, I enjoy the new crop of gradual trend designers that build their possess own stories and appears inside of their collections, with individuality and creative imagination at the main.

Describe to me a regular day (if there is these kinds of a factor!)…

I have a studio in London Fields, Hackney. The stroll to do the job requires 45 minutes which is constantly terrific, innovative thinking time. Operating a little enterprise implies multitasking 24/7 and any one working day can consist of style and design decisions, generation specs, checking out cloth and garment makers, images, social media, accounting and customer company. I have grown from a a single-girl band to a modest but gorgeous group of 4.  Together with crew JT, we do the job with loyal collaborators for sample creating, pictures and manufacturing. I by no means see the position as designer as far more significant as the specialized enter that can make the magic materialize.



What are your most unforgettable collections and models? 

Tricky! I assume overall it is looking at a happy customer that helps make a layout unforgettable. Which is the beauty of social media where you see customers really taking pleasure in their purchases and living in their attire. One particular of my highlights is a costume produced of fluorescent test seersucker which coincidentally arrived out at the time of the 1st lockdown. It captured the ‘rainbow spirit’ and a share of its product sales went to charity, so it was a elegance by means of and through. Other dresses that have a authentic come to feel-excellent factor are the linen parts, linen is these types of a variety, sustainable material and we generate our very own linen checks at a beautiful household run mill in Ireland.


What are you functioning on ideal now? 

We operate very near to the year so at present choosing corduroy colours for following autumn and coming up with a new autumn linen/ tartan test. At the exact time, we are producing best ups for our batch production upcoming thirty day period. We’re so fortunate to make domestically as we can slowly but surely include to production, all yr spherical.


Lastly, how would you describe your design? Does it attribute an abundance of color and print like your collections? And do you have tips for being classy?

Of training course, I devote a whole lot of time donning my attire. I never meant to make the selection so vibrant but instinctively print and designs are what I’m drawn to. I actually have palpitations if I go to a classic textile reasonable! It may arrive as a shock but I really don’t have pretty lots of clothes, I are likely to don things for a long time. I’ve uncovered my model and I’m really comfy in my very own skin. I are inclined to gown down with trainers or boots, it’s an technique that I believe usually tends to make for a far more modern look. When not obtaining a gown day, I adhere to a perfectly-slice pair of jeans (a Levi’s straight leg fashion) and very simple blue shirt or white Petit Bateau t.shirt…yes, I can do minimalism way too! Fewer valuable parts are normally much better than as well numerous options.

At the close of the working day, remaining attractive is about putting on the clothes and the clothes not sporting you…feeling comfy plenty of to mirror your very own identity in your garments is enduringly stylish.



Store Justine Tabak over In this article  – That’s Not My Age visitors have been available 15% off for the rest of July (using the code TNMA15 at checkout). Offer lasts until eventually the conclude of July and can be applied on all items which includes any sale.



And a few additional summer time dresses designed with sustainability in head: