To a slower, more thoughtful way of life
To good design that delights and inspires.
To rich colour, texture and fabric –
Supple linens, block printed cottons, Scottish and Yorkshire and Tuscan-spun yarns, handwoven khadis, hand-dyed ikats, Japanese indigo and organic cotton denim.
To the virtues of collaboration –
With mills, knitters, weavers, ceramicists. But also with writers, thinkers and artists.”
For a while now, I’ve been thinking about ways in which I can live such a slower, more thoughtful way of life, which extends to how I dress now. Since I started this blog nearly nine years ago, my own style has been on quite the journey. University days meant going out, fast fashion, disposable trends; growing up, starting work and finding my vocation (while developing creative outlets) meant I learned to accept and begin to embrace the real me – the one that was an old soul at heart, preferred nights in, sewing, gardening; whose wardrobe reflected an appreciation of the timeless, the seasons and a love of vintage, drawn to more classic pieces and beautiful fabrics but still having fun with clothes. This is reflected in my content here, and you’ll notice there are less fashion posts – as I consider new purchases for a long time before I make them, and because I’m selective about who I work with and what I promote.
Fewer, quality pieces and genuine wear-forever clothes are what I’m about. Clothing has to work for work – it’s where I am most, after all – and garments might be ‘on trend’ but I have to know I’ll wear them for many more seasons to come. I still feel that there’s a bit of a gap in the market here, for customers in their late 20s and early 30s who want to shop more consciously, to buy less and wear more, higher quality items. I’m not always great at spending money on myself, but now I’ve a big purchase (read: wee, one-bed Edinburgh tenement – my pride and joy) under my belt I’m giving myself permission to re-focus funds on slow fashion. With this ethos in mind, I was delighted to hear Toast were opening in Stockbridge as in my eyes, they can appeal to exactly this kind of customer. Established in 1997 in West Wales, Toast began as a loungewear and nightwear company but grew into a lifestyle brand famed for its blend of traditional and contemporary design and simple yet beautiful clothing and homewares.
As I browsed the rails, I longed to be a Toast woman: effortlessly chic, classic but modern, with a capsule wardrobe full of quality basics and beautiful but practical clothes. In particular, I was drawn to pinafores and dungarees, stripy tops and straw accessories. I’m dreaming of this cotton twill jumpsuit paired with changing daily blouses from my Mum’s trunk I inherited last year; my ideal Summer uniform. Stockbridge, with its thoroughfare of independent shops, is the perfect spot for Toast – CEO Suzi de Rohan Willner said they had waited for the right setting, and it was important to them not to be part of the main, high street thoroughfare – reflecting how they dress a community that is “different to anyone else”, those that don’t want to look like high street clones, who want ease of wear and clothes that last the test of time. The shop is already doing as well as London, even in its first two weeks and the customers’ dedication to the brand is clear – and with such location it’s going to be very popular indeed, I predict.
Toast pride themselves on their collaborations with makers of all kinds, as Suzi put it they are interested in “thoughtfulness”, doing something different to everyone else and “art and craft and creativity.” They are investing in craftspeople, supporting communities in the UK and around the world as well as hosting workshops in store, promoting mending (free of charge), including traditional sashiko mending and future plans even include customers bringing back and working with young designers to redesign and refashion older pieces. Equally, homewares combine the expertise of independent designers and traditional skills with modern practicality and appeal. Again, everything was beautifully styled and I left full of inspiration for my Easter table. I’m going to be tackling bedroom decor next and Toast’s vintage ticking stripe bed linen is pastel perfection – I know would wear beautifully, becoming even softer over time.
From speaking to the team you can just tell that everything is done with such care: from the way that a single fabric can form the basis of a whole collection, recreating pieces using traditional techniques, to the way they welcomed us into the shop, pouring coffee and sharing brunch. Thoughtfulness is consistently at the core of everything Toast does and I, for one, can’t wait to see what they come up with next. Thanks for having me Toast, Edinburgh.
Toast, Edinburgh invited me to their opening but, as ever, all thoughts and love of slow fashion and beautiful clothes entirely my own!