In the spirit of defeating the shameless process of mass consumption we are being fed daily, I have decided to have a monthly feature (where possible), showcasing an alternative seller, designer or artist. These would be people I have interacted with, squealed at in a face-to-face setting in some way (see Kira Don Jewel and me at London Edge) and/or thrown my entire corporate slave wages at. Hey, I make the economy run!
As a massive Etsy buyer, I love supporting smaller business through my custom. They tend to make such amazing products, and are, more often than not, genuinely nice people trying to live off their skills and talents.
Today, I am taking you to the world famous Camden Market in London. This market deserves a post of its own, but I need to fit it in my schedule and ensure the weather is behaving. I randomly went there for a stroll two weeks ago, as I don’t live far and it is always a fun walk.
This market has changed a lot over the years, but essentially it is chock-full of alternative vendors – some producing their products themselves, other manufacturing and exporting, but still with an alternative flavour. In Camden Market, you will find a handful of Goth shops (there used to be way more), and now more and more vintage shops. We, of the Dark side, are still fairly represented though. Yasss represent! high fives in Goth
I was really intrigued by this shop, called Rafflesia Designs, which I had never noticed before as it is by an entrance/exit I don’t usually use. I reckon the skeleton made a telepathic connection with me, look at this gorgeous fellow!
As I stepped in, I met the co-owner of the store who was super friendly and really talkative. I was really pleasantly surprised, as it can be hit and miss in Camden – some sellers do not allow any photography whatsoever and do not build a rapport with their customers.
We started talking about the market actually and how it changed – Rafflesia Designs are one the very very few who still hand-make their products, and that is awesome.
So what is the meaning of Rafflesia? I had to ask!
Well, listen to this : “it is one of the rarest plants in the world and it is known not only for its gigantic petals but also for the putrid smell it emits to attract pollinators and prey. Let it be known that it is also a short-term bloomer and is very temperamental. It may take up to nine months to spring from seed to pod to flower, and it stays in bloom for just a few days (upper limit: one week)“(source).
A diva flower which farts in the general direction of its enemies? We approve!
The shop is run by a couple, who met in Ibiza, and is entirely self maintained : design, sourcing, producing… It is so rare these days, especially when you have a brick and mortar store in London.
The concept is simple : custom, custom, custom, skulls, sugar skulls, and fire ! Customers can bring in their own garments for blinging up, or they can buy off the shelf garments – which having seen them myself – are absolutely gorgeous and well cut.
I was amazed by the variety of prints, designs and fabrics – seriously look at this and this is only half the shop!
The detailing on the garments is what is making such pieces unique : from the buttons, to the collars, the cuffs – everything is thought out and made to turn a bland jacket into a work of art.
I loved the fact that there were designs and cuts for all styles: biker, classic, goth, military , short jackets, long jackets, denim etc … Honestly, this is pretty cool and a testament to the creativity and skillset of Rafflesia Designs.
… Yes, folks, we even got bloomers in da house!
The shop decor was pretty neat too – old school sewing machines and skull – a matchmade in fashion heaven!
The below jacket is the gem of the store, and in fact the one pictured here was reserved by a customer. These are bought and customised … honestly if this was in black, i’d have my hands all over it because …
… badass shiny wings!!!!! And a super fitted cut which I would love to rock once I drop the excess baggage. If you are a denim fan, this is for you!
I saved this dress for last because this is impressive as hell and a good finishing piece … just look at the below. And tell me what you notice?
Every single line within the dress aligns with each other! Imagine the work this must have taken – I was seriously in awe when this was pointed out to me, and it applies to every single skull on this 60’s dress. This is what having a custom outfit made is about : the effort and attention to detail the individual is giving to your garment.
And another righteous piece : the Goth Coat!
I love tailored stuff and so, looking at this, I couldn’t help but think about the work that must have gone into this. People often complain about prices for custom pieces, but this is someone making something for you by hand. Of course, having something custom made is definitely not an every day activity, but I think as a treat yo-self thing, it is worth it.
So my friends!
Are you gonna treat yo-self? do you buy or make custom pieces?
Let us chat in the comments!