• Where to go

    For an alternative shopping experience, get to Chelsea Town Hall for the Selvedge Winter Fair.

    Ten years ago, Selvedge launched as a smart-thinking textile magazine with boundaried criteria for featuring the very best makers, crafters and collectors. However for the last five years, the company has expanded to include a shop and twice yearly fairs where many of the creatives featured in the magazine can physically sell their wares. 

    For two days, Chelsea Town Hall will be filled with 100 stalls, including Bleu Anglais, a collection of resist pattern indigo-dyed textiles sourced in rural China, Su Mason's vintage haberdashery and linens, and Studio Kimono, selling scarves and purses made from slips of vintage silk kimonos.

    Unlike some fairs that seem not to vet their stall holders, the thing about the Selvedge set up, is that if they're not good enough to be in the magazine, they're not good enough for the fair. A fine, hand-stamped approval.

    Selvedge Winter Fair, Chelsea Town Hall, King's Road, London SW3 5EE

    Friday 31st October 11am-5pm - Evening reception 6pm-8pm

    Saturday 1st November 10am-5pm

    To buy tickets (from £5) go to www.selvedge.org

  • What to buy

    It was the shadiness of the shades business that made Jonathan van Blerk want to go it alone. 

    Van Blerk was incensed that big brands were claiming their sunnies are made in Europe when in fact they're being churned out two-a-penny from a Chinese factory. So three years ago he launched Eye Respect, "Because I wanted to create a brand that's about respect for people we work with, respect for the craft and respect for the consumer," explains van Blerk. 

    The frames are dead chic: not overly flashy or loud, designed in London, handmade in Italy using top-end Mazzucchelli acetate with Zeiss lenses.  And this summer Eye Respect has been touring their customized glasses hub, popping up at shops around London: choose your lenses (reflective or graduated) and frames (matt or polished) and they'll be assembled right there in front of you and then fitted perfectly to your very own head.  Top respectacles…

    Respect for Craft by Eye Respect is at Duke Street Emporium from 10th-17th August.



  • What to buy

    The days of having one pair of well-worn, well-tended sunglasses are long gone.  These days folk seem to having entire shady wardrobes, with frames to suit the mood or look. 

    Top of my current hotlist are round and pink by uk.lindafarrow.com, apple green at prada.com, reflective by westwardleaning.com and 50s flicks at zanzan.co.uk

    But I've also got my eyes on young, homegrown British brand Finlay & Co.  The brand began when three friends, Dave Lochhead, Dane Butler and Tom Stannard were all a little tired of seeing their friends wearing the same old shades.  They decided to make the kind of sunglasses that if placed on a table in a restaurant, people passing by would ask where they were from. 

    Inspired by North American skater dudes who were fashioning sunglasses from their old skateboards, the foursome looked to making wooden frames.  What they lacked in both fashion or design experience, they made up for with chutzpah. And in 2012, just a year after their initial idea, Finlay & Co was launched. 

    The wooden frames with polarized lenses were instantly hot, and quickly picked up by retailers the world over.  Since then there's been a recent collaboration with menswear label E Tautz, while Anna Wintour declared them 'to be very talented'. And if you're wondering what the achingly gorgeous waiter by the pool at Shoreditch House has perched on his nose… yep - Finlay & Co are the official European outdoor-space sunnies for Soho House staff and are sold at Cowshed spas.

    And for beachy, boating holidays the smart pair to wear is the Carnaby.  This style is made from Canadian maple and guess what?  Canadian maple floats.