Lucie Loves… Fashion // #Blogged | How to wear tailored pieces // Behind-the-scenes at Dawson D Rose | part two


What better way to experiment with tailored pieces than to shoot Street Style, standing on a rooftop, gazing out over Notting Hill.

I remember, this time last year, hankering after a good white shirt. Trying desperately to find ‘The One’, and getting really annoyed when, having settled on a high street number, it went all bobbly and grey after a few washes. Grrr.

However, The Colville shirt, from Dawson D Rose comes in nine different fabrics - including white. It falls flatteringly below the hips and can be worn dressed down with jeans and sneakers, tucked into a skirt or with smart tapered trousers. It would look great over skinny leather trousers too!

I don’t separate my wardrobe into work wear and off-duty pieces. In fact, I really like to mix it up. I wear whatever takes my fancy that day: playing down dressy, party pieces like this Antipodium shimmery pleated skirt and wearing them with statement t-shirts or trainers.

What I wore…

I believe that there are certain things in your wardrobe that are worth more 'pounds per wear’ than others. By investing in quality, well-made, tailored pieces, you save yourself time each morning. Knowing that you have certain go-to items that can be thrown on - with practically anything - will make you feel great!

When I met Nzinga Russell, the female powerhouse behind the London brand dawsondrose, she shared her top tips for creating a capsule wardrobe. 

With a seamstress for a mother, Nzinga got a feel for quality at an early ago. She describes herself as having eclectic personal taste, and like me, she dresses to match her mood, but still respects those classic styles that don’t go out of fashion. Nzinga tells me about a shirt that her mum used to wear that she now owns. “Certain styles get regurgitated, because they always look good!”

Nzinga’s 5 key wardrobe staples:

  1. A good pair of skinny or high-waisted jeans
  2. A great denim shirt
  3. A bright patterned shirt
  4. An amazing jacket – single breasted
  5. Another amazing jacket - cropped

I asked Nzinga where the name of the brand comes from. “It’s Dawson, D for Daisy and Rose. The names are my family names. We’re originally from Jamaica, in the Caribbean. My grandparents came over just after The Windrush Generation.”

Her maternal grandmother’s name was Daisy Hyacinth Rose, and her paternal Grandmother’s surname was Dawson.

“I wanted it in my heart to mean something.” says Nzinga. "I love England – I’m very patriotic. That’s where I was born and bred. I’m British. And I love the fact that those names are British. Smart and tailored – but actually there’s that Caribbean-Jamaican vibe there too.“

Nzinga told me of her love for Portobello Road and her start as a vintage stall owner. The area is very inspired by the Caribbean culture – lots of different cultures, in fact!

The brand launched in November 2013, with just four statement jackets, designed with curves in mind, and focused on timeless silhouettes. "If these styles work – why reinvent the wheel? They’re beautiful! We like to offer vibrant fabrics, patterns and the option to have a bit of a flare.”

There is no doubt that, as a busy London mum with two kids, Nzinga is very realistic about what’s possible for her brand. She sources materials in different places – for example lace in Nottingham, and prints in Indian or African areas. She relies on her networks (both social and professional) to come up with new suppliers, and through those recommendations, finds some great vintage fabrics.

Starting life at Barratt’s shoe shop, Nzinga then progressed to Warehouse and at the tender age of 19, got a job at Harrods - working on the 4th floor working with a lot of the young designer brands.

Nzinga finished uni with a keen eye for marketing and branding – especially the creative aspects. She kept her passion for fashion alive with a stall at Portobello Road, selling vintage and second-hand bags, skirts, trousers, belts, scarves picked up in many of the markets she would visit on her travels.

She confessed that Italian vintage is one of her favourite things to source. Her advice for people wishing to try a new career is to do things in parallel: have the safety net of a monthly salary as you dip your toe into trying something new. “Try and build something, see how it goes, and enjoy it!”

6 Key things you need to do to set up your own vintage market stall:

1. Stand out from the crowd - be aware of what the market already sells – for instance Portobello market like to keep a balance between the different types of traders to keep variety along the road. So, if you’re selling vintage handbags, make sure that there isn’t already a million vintage handbag stalls.

2. Contact your local council - or the council that runs that market that your keen to sell at and see whether they have a pitch open, get them to have a look at your stock and see if they think you’re appropriate.

3. If in doubt, go private - go early whilst people are setting up and approach existing stallholders, or find the person who assigns the stalls. 

4. Go for it! Don’t be shy - don’t be afraid to ask other people how they got set up.

5. Be prepared for early morning starts!

6. Have a back-up plan - “Be focused, passionate, work hard for it, then try it.”

If you missed part one of my behind-the-scenes at Dawson D Rose, you can read it here.

Photography © jmgcreative

Style / edit © Lucie Kerley