Meet the Sellers: Cecily and John from The Emperor’s Old Clothes

Let’s hear from some talented young clothing designers who make unique and interesting clothing that will set you apart from the high street clones. They will be selling their wares on both 2nd & 3rd March at the Fabrica gallery.

cec&john copy

Please introduce yourselves…

We are Cecily Blondel and John Norris, we design and create original clothing and accessories in Brighton under the name The Emperor’s Old Clothes.

Describe the products you currently make to sell

We produce unique clothing and accessories for both men and women. Every piece is either handmade or hand-crafted, using vintage fabrics, buttons and trims whenever possible. Our collections range from hand painted tees, to more eccentric dresses and coats – but every item is unique!

Bowie Jacket 2

Where and when do you design and make your products?

We don’t have a strict design process, preferring to take inspiration from exhibitions, vintage shops and markets, and reading a variety of fashion magazines. We work together, combining our often very different ideas to design each garment, often waiting until we’ve found the perfect fabric before the design process can be begin! We create all our products ourselves either at our studio or at home.

How long have you been selling your wares and how did it begin?

For years we have enjoyed taking part in fancy dress, particularly at Halloween and music festivals; as the costumes became more elaborate year on year it made sense to bring our ideas into everyday wear for the public. After a year of learning and experimenting with the art of dressmaking, the idea came into fruition last October with the launch of our website. Since then we have been creating and selling lots of different pieces, including bespoke commissioned designs for individual customers, which is a really enjoyable collaborative process.

Skirt Suit 1

What drew you to the Brighton area, if you are not a ‘native’?

We moved to Brighton together from Bristol when Cecily started studying at the university of Sussex nearly five years ago. We fell in love with Brighton’s individuality and it’s range of inhabitants, which we find really inspiring, and can’t see ourselves living anywhere else!

Any other crafty disciplines you like to practice?

Knitting is definitely the first that comes to mind – some of our accessories such as our bowties are knitted in bold colours, as well as our cast of four knitted apes that model miniature versions of our designs and can often be spotted monkeying around on our Facebook page… We are also trying our hand at a bit of collage, combining forgotten photographs and illustrations within our pendant brooches this season.

Locket 2

What inspires the things you make?

Although we are inspired by vintage shapes, we don’t stick to one particularly era, and also take lots of inspiration from costume, translating it’s theatrical aspects into more wearable pieces of clothing. We’re currently taking inspiration from characters of the circus including the Pierrot, Trapeze artist and the Ringmaster to name a few…

Personal motto…

We’ve never really had a motto but we live by the rule of never throw anything away, you never know when a piece of formerly unwanted ribbon can perfectly top off another item later down the line.

love tshirt


One response to “Meet the Sellers: Cecily and John from The Emperor’s Old Clothes

  1. I’ve got the ‘Love’ Tee Shirt. really nice.

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