Tweed with a twist
Bespoke Scottish tweed (and velvet, denim, leather) with Dutch wax batik – a unique fashion combo that works – at Settlers Stores in Frome
Frome is renowned for its vibrant independent business, so where else to discover this eclectic collection of clothes and accessories which combine bespoke Scottish tweed with vividly coloured and patterned Dutch wax batik?
Designers Zara d’Abo and Nathalie Sergent of Settlers Stores met living in Kenya 20 years ago and have always loved African colour and print. Now based in Somerset and working with Scottish mills to weave the Settlers’ tweeds, it seemed logical to inject a blast of unexpected colour into their collection. So jackets, coats, trousers and skirts may be lined or trimmed with colourful Dutch wax batik cotton, an imitation of Indonesian hand batik printing copied by Dutch textile manufacturers in the 19th century – hence the name – and very popular in West Africa.
See what I mean? Their take on the Scottish kilt, the knee-length wrap-around Londonderry skirt lined with batik, sits just above the hips. Use the studs along the waistband to adjust. Named after Annie ‘Londonderry’ Cohen Kopchovsky (1870–1947), the first woman to bicycle around the world (for a bet, as you do) in 1894. Available in nine colourways/fabrics, including leather.
Who’s wearing the trousers?
It could be you. Close fitting at the top and loose around the leg – described as 40s glamour or 70s styling – and with a flatteringly deep waistband, the Markham trousers are also lined with batik. A touch of Rupert Bear? They were inspired by Beryl Markham, the English-born Kenyan aviator (and friend of Karen Blixen of Out of Africa fame), who was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west. Available in 10 different colourways/fabrics, including corduroy and velvet.
Go on safari
You’ll need this. Safari jacket in tweed or velvet, lined in batik, with belt, vintage buttons and a vent at the rear. The Seeley safari jacket was inspired by Alice Seeley, Lady Harris (1870–1970), intrepid missionary, documentary photographer in the Congo Free State – and one-time Frome resident. Available in five colourways/fabrics including this velvet version.
Is it a coat or a dress?
It’s up to you. Tailored in a choice of three different tweeds, with inside seams trimmed with batik print, the Elsa coat dress has deep pockets and vintage-inspired buttons. Wear it as a coat dress, open over trousers or tie the belt around to create a shirt dress. Named after the lioness raised by George and Joy Adamson in northern Kenya in the early 1960s and made famous in Born Free.
Ready to set off on some adventures? Visit Settlers Stores in Frome at 5 Cheap Street, Frome BA11 1BN or buy online at settlersstores.co.uk