Style: it’s something that comes naturally to some – and less so to others. For King & Tuckfield’s Stacey Wood, style has never been hard to come by, surrounded from a young age by a family of straight up good taste and untutored elegance. Driven by vintage inspiration and a push for sustainability, King & Tuckfield looks past transitory trends in favour of future-proof designs in denim and merino wool. Now, as the label lands in-store with pop-ups across men’s and women’s, Wood takes us inside her East London studio, revealing what it takes to create a fashion brand with integrity – and a story to tell.
How did you get into fashion?Since I was a child, I have always been fascinated by people with style – they stood apart for me and seemed to have an aura of beauty. My grandmother with her rebellious elegance, my eldest sister with her stonewashed Levi’s, my father; he had great taste and a beguiling gracefulness, part due to his background as a ballet dancer, so it was embedded in me from a young age.
How did King & Tuckfield come about? Having my own brand was always something I wanted, so I carved my career in the industry to get to the point. I wanted an alternative to throwaway fashion, for people to cherish and create history in our garments, like the colourful stories of my own family history. The more you wear one of our garments, the more history it creates.
How long have you been in this space? Just under a year – when I first launched King & Tuckfield, my studio was my kitchen table and my living room walls, where I pinned my mood board and inspiration. Our current studio is tiny; we do everything from this space, from designing the collection to packing and picking orders. It might be restricted, but we love this space – it keeps us honest.
What are your main sources of inspiration? Family albums and the stories behind them that my mother tells me through her own eyes. Stories and memorabilia for posterity that can be translated into clothes and carry a message of longevity in design and material.
What efforts do you make to stay sustainable? We built this business with a sustainable model in mind: anti-fast fashion, integrity in the making of a garment and research of materials. For example, we buy ethically sourced and sustainably produced material, like merino or recycled cotton – for SS19, we launch recycled and eco denim which we are really excited about – or introduce hard-wearing fabrics that can be worn many times before washing, like denim or wool. We spent a year before we launched, visiting merino farms and garment makers from Shanghai, Porto and the UK, communicating our story with the aim to personally audit the provenance of our clothes, and find like-minded people. We want our garments to last a lifetime, so we have a hand-me-down section online wheres people can buy second hand King & Tuckfield garments.
Why is fabric so important to what you do? My father was a tailor after he served in WWII, he was always beautifully dressed. We select fabric based on quality and durability.
What drew you to denim and wool, specifically? I fell in love with denim when my eldest sister gave me a pair of her 501s I desperately wanted. We use both these fabrics in the collection based on our brand story: my grandmother was a ballet dancer born just after WW1, and father was a ballet dancer, miner, paratrooper and tailor. Denim was worn down the mines and is a durable fabric, and wool was worn under the army uniforms and has a beautiful elegance. Merino is really nature’s marvel and falling in love with it is easy. It is breathable, fire resistant, odour resistant, a temperature regulator, it provides UV protection and is 100% biodegradable – attributes that come from merino wool’s natural characteristics.
How do you source your materials? By travelling. We travel and meet with mills and farms to find the best fabrics. In October 2014 (long before we launched), we travelled to New Zealand for a week-long trip to the South Island merino farms.
What is it about vintage styling that resonates with you? Throughout the collection we take inspiration from the ‘40s and ‘50s with a contemporary twist, but we always keep an eye firmly on our story and translate this into our collections.
How has London influenced your aesthetic? London is a very unique city, strikingly mixed and multi-ethnic. My grandmother also grew up in Walthamstow and I live in East London, so I have enough exposure to varying aesthetics and a wealth of cues from my ancestor.
Tell us about your creative process. We are a very small team and work very closely, talking and working together to ensure we have a collection we are proud of. I’m the type of person that has to be in the correct mindset for the creative process or a creative meeting and I have a routine to get me in this headspace as my mind has to move quickly from business to creative.
Do you have any other creative outlets aside from fashion? Anything that keeps my brain buzzing, from movies and exhibitions, to reading and sketching.
What most inspires you about your environment? My circle of friends, that I have kept since my years at university, and my family. We believe what you wear says a lot about who you are and where you’ve come from. These two constants are both inspiring and reassuring.