Wearing the garden

Of course dressing yourself in the garden isn’t new. Chelsea Flower Show hairdo anyone?

garden hair

But I’ve fallen in love with two designers recently, who are doing more than just putting beautiful flowers on garments. Both Carol Lake and Travail en Famille are really digging deep to harvest their seeds of garden inspiration (I know, I know, I’m sorry…).

I came across the designs by mother and son team, Travail en Famille, hanging in a man’s shop in Hastings. ‘I can’t decide whether it’s art or clothes,’ the manager said, and I couldn’t help but agree.

Especially when you look on their website – here -(and they design for women too, hurrah!) and see that the inspiration behind the collection is a literary inspiration one, Voltaire’s novella Candide, first published in 1759. This gave the title of the collection, Il faut cultiver Notre Jardin and this is what they say:

Voltaire was telling us not to be concerned with the greater machinations of the world, but to grow our own garden, both literally and metaphorically. This is very much our philosophy at Travail en Famille, the only fashion brand where you will find a 23-year-old man making silk scarves with his mother.


The plants on the coat are inspired by the film, Van Gogh by Maurice Pialat, which covers the last few month’s of Van Gogh’s life when he was being treated by Doctor Gachet, just outside Paris.

Our Dr Gachet prints celebrate Van Gogh’s love of gardens through a collage of French garden flowers whilst acknowledging the difficulties he faced through a solitary white arum lily featured in the print. He painted these lilies when he felt melancholic and sad. garden

I love the idea of wearing these garden stories.

The second designer is Carol Lake, whose studio/home/the place I want to live in forever is in Norwich. Again, I came across her work by accident and felt those tremors of excitement when you know you’ve found something really original. Carol’s an artist, and her studio-shop is a treasure trove of Carol’s own botanical prints on shoes, scarves, dresses, sofas… you name it.



You can get a little of the flavour of the beauty of her work from her website, but if you can, I urge you to visit yourself. If not, indulge yourself with this video!