Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Natalie Musgrave of Wayside Flower

It's a beautiful sunny day here in England, a day to be outside enjoying the fresh air, a day to be at the seaside maybe? Along with a redesign on the blog [let me know what you think!] I wanted to do a little shop tour at a very recent discovery of mine on England's rugged Yorkshire coast, a favourite place for our family to visit. 

Natalie is the owner and designer, with her partner, at Wayside Flower in Bridlington, North Yorkshire. 

I first met Natalie at a vintage fair in Scarborough. Her stand stood out amongst the 50s cocktail dresses and pillbox hats like a Hemingway novel in a sea of frothy Barbara Cartlands. There were two striking antique maps behind her [you can see them in the pictures] and simple clothing and accessories that made me think of the East Coast of America and elegant, timeless design. 

I visited the shop a few weeks ago with Noah and was struck by the light airy space with antique furniture, striking vintage pictures on the walls, and designer pieces that are arranged with a curator's eye. Natalie took time to answer a few questions for the Notebook, and her story is as fascinating as her shop.

The Notebook: What is your design background and what or who inspired you to work in fashion?
Natalie Musgrave:After a degree in footwear and accessories at Cordwainers College in London I worked as a designer at Lacoste before setting up a design consultancy with my partner in Notting Hill. Working with brands such as Itochu in Japan, along with other premium brands such as Nike, Puma and Fred Perry

A few great years in New York and Hong Kong followed before returning to our home town of Bridlington on the East Yorkshire coast to build a base after falling in love with a modernist house in need of restoration. Inspired by our surroundings we started our first menswear brand Norsea Industries.

TN: What is your definition of style?
NM: To me style is an expression of a person's individuality.

TN: How would you define your own style and how has it evolved over the years? Do you have a favourite piece or look you love to wear?
NM: I would say I'm a bit of tomboy, I find men's clothes interesting in their structure, feel and functionality. 

I like relaxed, lived in, well made enduring pieces and mixing vintage with new. Clothes that are practical, tactile, wearable and classic.

TN: Where have you travelled that has inspired your style?
NM: I really love the Yorkshire landscape with its rolling hills out to the sea, its industrial heritage and the connection with traditions such as the fisherman's Gansey and the skilled people who knit them.

TN: How did you come to acquire the shop and begin your own label?
NM: We have always bought vintage for inspiration be it for fabric, fit or pattern. after years of collecting we were full to the rafters and decided to start selling vintage on Etsy under the name Wayside Flower which was taken from a local fishing boat. 

Then in November of last year a great space became available in the historic Old Town area of Bridlington. So I thought I would give it a go! A return to the coast after living in cities for a long time has enabled us the time to think and design outside of trends and be inspired by our roots. We are now making our own Wayside Flower menswear, here in Yorkshire from British fabrics.

The Wayside Flower shop in Bridlington

TN: Can you describe your ideal customer?
NM: Someone with an appreciation for quality and craftsmanship.

TN: Who are your favourite designers and do you have any pieces (vintage or new) your'e coveting at the moment?
NM: I love British Designers who are keeping British manufacturing alive such as Margaret Howell. We are definitely returning to the good old days where made in the UK is a badge of quality, tradition and heritage.

TN: What was your favourite vintage find over the years?
NM: I have a great contact in Palm Beach Florida from whom I have acquired some beautiful vintage designer womenswear such as Courreges and Givenchy.

TN: Do you have a simple piece of advice for buying vintage clothing?
 NM: Buy what you love.

Shop tour images by Amy Bartle

Image courtesy of Natalie Musgrave

You can shop Wayside Flower here and at their Etsy site here, and you can follow Wayside Flower on Twitter.

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