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

The Linen Everyday Lavenham Gown paired with Justine’s individual Hoff trainers and jewellery


With various decades expertise developing for large name manner brand names, in her early 50s, Justine Tabak determined to launch her eponymous label. Getting worked for some of the most effective-known British vogue companies, like Boden, LK Bennett, Jigsaw and M&S, she experienced come to be significantly pissed off by the ‘sameness’ of the significant road. ‘It all commenced to appear alike, and I identified it difficult to uncover apparel that combined my adore of classic and modern-day,’ she suggests. ‘I also felt disillusioned with the large volume, craze-led, ‘buy for discounting’ tradition of basic manner retail and required to strategy a slower, far more crafted way of doing work.’ In 2016, Justine made the decision to get the plunge and build her individual modest business.

Acquiring started out at her kitchen area desk, producing primarily for her circle of friends, Justine Tabak’s classic-inspired dresses have turn into a cult favourite. There is a concentrate on very simple, tiered (but not as well voluminous) silhouettes and floral materials. The straightforward to put on attire (and separates) are usually impressed by vintage finds, reimagined in present day day, all-natural fabrics, which includes Irish linens, Liberty Tana Lawn and Nottingham lace trims. To preserve squander to a minimum, the strains are designed in batches according to desire, and frequently offer-out. ‘Making anything in Britain enables me to meet up with deal with-to-encounter with makers, material producers, designers and crafters who contribute their techniques and creativeness,’ she suggests. ‘After decades of doing work with mass producers in far-flung locations, it’s good to be equipped to preserve it community.’



Dressmaking is in Justine’s loved ones. Her grandfather, an Austrian refugee, was a women’s tailor in London’s East Conclusion the family members moved to Manchester to flee the Blitz. Her mum made all her possess garments and attire for Justine and her two sisters. With a keen desire in manner from an early age,  ‘I was the little one that was regularly making badges, costumes, customising my college uniform’ Justine researched for a diploma in Trend & Textiles at Leicester Polytechnic, adopted by a Masters at London’s Royal University of Art. On graduating she landed her initial career at Fendi in Rome and expended 4 a long time building for the Italian catwalks.

Now both 58, Justine and I to start with achieved in the course of her Boden times and I have followed her occupation route ever since. It was higher time we caught up yet again – and lovely to reconnect. Here we chat about fashion, sustainability and how she manages her brilliant compact business enterprise.


Justine Tabak photographed by Claire Pepper


What encouraged you to get the leap from doing the job for big fashion makes to beginning your personal label?

I’d always preferred to begin my own label but never ever felt it was the right time, especially when my children ended up youthful. I was a single mum for substantially of my 30s and 40s and didn’t fancy the insecurity of managing my possess business enterprise. My youngsters encouraged me to do my have detail when they were being youngsters, so in my 50s I ultimately made the decision to consider the plunge! I’m very grateful that they did, as I’m making the most of the new local community of sustainable style mates and performing regionally with a group of makers. I’d put in years travelling the globe all through my profession, a little something that did not usually accommodate family members lifestyle and did not come to feel correct in a far more environmentally-aware period, so I needed my very own brand to have ‘Made in the UK’ at its heart.


How did your enterprise begin, and what was your to start with Justine Tabak style?

Originally, I developed a temper-board of the varieties of clothing I personally liked simple to put on, vintage-made-modern day, rather and realistic, dresses  – usually with pockets! The first selection involved jackets, trousers, tops and skirts but it was a simple, tiered, crimson corduroy gown that captured the creativity of press and buyers, alike. 6 yrs back, the Petticoat Lane gown was forward of the curve, a form that was romantic with an edge –  and to this day, the costume is a favourite in the selection.




Notify us what inspires you and influences your patterns, and what’s important to you when generating your collections?

I have generally been a scavenger for vintage outfits and have a loft full of second-hand clothing for reference. I may well look at a shape, a depth or a print and conjure up a new type from these influences. I’m not usually mindful of some of my influences. For case in point, I enjoy Liberty prints but it hadn’t transpired to me why, until finally I opened up the wardrobe of my late father a few of several years back and counted above 20 Liberty print shirts that he experienced gathered in excess of time! My mum and father ended up the two artists and influenced in me a like of used arts my mum would carry me from Manchester to London to visit the V&A  and new boutiques in the 70s, she took me to Biba and Laura Ashley.

When creating, I don’t want to just style and design a quite frock, simplicity and practicality are just as significant. There have been many iterations of a intimate costume but I like to feel mine are hardworking, produced in robust all-natural fabrics in models that will very last for years. I’m not a slave to tendencies and hope to make parts that truly stand the exam of time.


Why did it really feel essential to you to be a part of the sluggish vogue movement?

The sluggish style motion is so important right after many years of conspicuous consumption. I feel passionately that we all will need to get fewer and really like our dresses far more, for too very long we have had a throwaway culture that devalues the craft of making dresses. It’s likely to just take a extended time to retrain previous behaviors but for the sake of the planet, the trend cycle has to adjust. Sluggish vogue implies you are not slavish to rapidly tendencies, it considers the do the job that goes into just about every piece and in undertaking so implies that we squander fewer and educate other individuals to make far more acutely aware possibilities. On a lighter observe, I appreciate the new crop of slow fashion designers that generate their have own stories and appears to be within just their collections, with individuality and creativity at the main.

Explain to me a common working day (if there is such a matter!)…

I have a studio in London Fields, Hackney. The stroll to do the job requires 45 minutes which is constantly great, imaginative thinking time. Running a little business suggests multitasking 24/7 and any just one working day can include style and design choices, generation specs, visiting material and garment makers, photography, social media, accounting and buyer company. I have developed from a a single-girl band to a compact but attractive team of 4.  Alongside group JT, we do the job with loyal collaborators for sample producing, images and manufacturing. I in no way see the position as designer as extra important as the technical enter that helps make the magic take place.



What are your most unforgettable collections and patterns? 

Hard! I assume total it is viewing a happy consumer that will make a design memorable. Which is the elegance of social media where by you see buyers genuinely having fun with their purchases and dwelling in their dresses. Just one of my highlights is a costume manufactured of fluorescent test seersucker which coincidentally came out at the time of the initial lockdown. It captured the ‘rainbow spirit’ and a share of its income went to charity, so it was a beauty via and as a result of. Other attire that have a actual really feel-great component are the linen items, linen is these types of a variety, sustainable cloth and we make our possess linen checks at a attractive relatives run mill in Ireland.


What are you performing on appropriate now? 

We work very near to the season so currently deciding upon corduroy colors for subsequent autumn and planning a new autumn linen/ tartan check out. At the exact same time, we are building major ups for our batch creation future month. We’re so lucky to make regionally as we can little by little incorporate to output, all yr round.


Lastly, how would you describe your type? Does it function an abundance of color and print like your collections? And do you have advice for remaining attractive?

Of system, I shell out a whole lot of time carrying my attire. I never ever meant to make the collection so vibrant but instinctively print and designs are what I’m drawn to. I actually have palpitations if I go to a classic textile good! It might arrive as a surprise but I never have really many apparel, I are likely to don items for decades. I have uncovered my fashion and I’m incredibly comfy in my very own skin. I are inclined to costume down with trainers or boots, it is an method that I consider typically tends to make for a additional contemporary appear. When not owning a gown day, I adhere to a nicely-slice pair of denims (a Levi’s straight leg design and style) and simple blue shirt or white Petit Bateau t.shirt…yes, I can do minimalism also! Fewer valuable pieces are usually improved than much too quite a few choices.

At the close of the day, staying elegant is about donning the dresses and the outfits not putting on you…feeling cozy adequate to reflect your very own temperament in your clothes is enduringly fashionable.



Shop Justine Tabak over Here  – That is Not My Age readers have been provided 15% off for the relaxation of July (using the code TNMA15 at checkout). Supply lasts right until the close of July and can be made use of on all products and solutions like any sale.



And a few a lot more summer dresses designed with sustainability in mind: