Branching Out

Having a pretty regular 9-5 job, I’m always interested to see what compels someone to give up that semblance of security and branch out alone. Helen Bailey has done just that. A buyer in the fashion industry for over 10 years, Helen has set up her own jewellery line, Decadorn. Here’s an excerpt of a recent interview I did with the lovely Miss. Bailey:

What prompted you to set up Decadorn?
A love of the product and fashion. I wanted to create a brand of jewellery that was affordable but completely unique and represented a timeless style with a current edge

Branding within the industry is key, how did you come up with the name?
I spent days writing down words I loved & trying to come up with a brand that had a connection with the product and nothing was working. Originally it was called Bailey and Bailey as my dad had been involved in the idea years ago, but it didn’t feel like it was unusual enough. My partner was working on a design project for a new music brand and was trying to create one word out of two; it just inspired me to create my own word….Decadorn! Decoration and adornment were 2 words that epitomised what I wanted to create with the brand, a celebration of beautifying & adorning yourself with unique and hand selected pieces.

Was it a tough decision to leave the comfort blanket of a 9-5 job?
I had been buying for the High Street for many years and wanted a different challenge. My buying job wasn’t 9-5, more like 9-11! Whilst I really miss the friends, environment and the constant travel, I love being my own boss, making my own choices and ultimately controlling my own future.

Do you make the jewellery yourself?
I product develop the range with makers in Brazil and Hong Kong

What is your inspiration?
In a word, California! It’s an amazing place that gave me such incredible inspiration as I travelled through the state just before the business launched. I wanted to concentrate on crystals as the main element of all my pieces to create a true Californian look. The “gypset,” bohemian style has always interested me and I find it amazing that year in, year out it remains untouched.

Decadorn’s Autumn/Winter Bohemia launches August 2011 in Anthropologie stores/online and on


My obsession with stripes may have just become unmanageable. I have always had stripe envy. Whenever I see anyone in the stripe of the Breton variety, they seem inimitably cooler than everyone else. This covetousness has spanned decades and despite being the proud owner of many striped garments myself, none seem to offer me that elusive sense of cool that I so crave.

My washing line last week resembled a Brittany fisherman’s uniform parade (In my head, all fisherman in Brittany wear striped tops …oh and have parades weekly.) I have passed this love of stripes on to little Monsieur Miro, whether he likes it or not. Many say that horizontal stripes do not flatter the little man’s more rotund physique but Q.I. (my own personal televisual encyclopaedia) confirmed that scientifically this is not true. Doctor Peter Thomson, of York university, carried out a multitude of tests on the visual effect of both horizontal and vertical striped clothing. Each test proved that those of the horizontal variety make you look taller and thinner, contrary to popular belief…it must be true; it was on Q.I. and Stephen Fry said so.

Anyway, I digress, enough about Dr. Peter! I’m currently resisting the urge to purchase yet another nautical wardrobe staple, this time from Colette. French graffiti artist, Monsieur André (a.k.a. André Saraiva) has his spray painted fingers in many pies. His latest collaboration sees him working with French heritage brand St. James, to create Breton tops that are embellished with his distinctive, pink neon, signature character. The only thing preventing me from purchasing the aforementioned tees is the sobering acknowledgment of my growing, albeit trivial addiction.

So if I spot you wearing stripes, well, expect an evil stare as I continue to covet your coolness!

(Images from Monsieur A, Colette and unknown sources)

Parenting, blogging and the like

So, I’ve been away. I made a baby. What have you lot been up to?

The baby I made (with the help of Things of Random Coolness) is called Miro. The name itself is a blog post but I shall try to be succinct – scan looked like a Miró painting, bump became known as Miro, bambino HAD to be thus named.

Miro likes: Empty toilet rolls (or kitchen rolls…he’s not fussy,) crinkly paper, magazines, lampshades, maracas, Felt Mistress’ Serge, cats, France 24, baths, leaves, garlic, knees, rain, Gerald (a zebra pal,) and guitars.

Miro dislikes: Smoking indoors (see aforementioned Serge ;) direct sunlight, boring activities, afternoon naps and fish pie (unless Dad makes it.)

Life as I knew it has changed forever. Miro’s birth was a drama involving chicken pox, snow blocked roads and the threat of a broken pelvis (mine not his.) The initial overwhelming sense of responsibility was something I had not anticipated in any way. I am now a Mum. There is NO off-switch; I will always be Miro’s Mum. I likened it to a rollercoaster ride that you can never get off. Things of Random said that he hates roller coaster rides (take from that what you will!) Being Miro’s Mum is complete joy. I have moments when I’m sure he utterly hates me…think Stewie and Lois on Family Guy…and times when I haven’t a clue what I’m doing. The one constant is the all-encompassing sense of love that creeps up on you when you least expect it.

A new world of shopping has also opened up to me; that of little boy’s clothes. I spend more time shopping for him than I do for myself (completely unheard of in 2010.) Those on mainland Europe seem to have got the cool clothing concept down to a tee. Bobo Choses, Mini Rodini and Mini-a-ture have provided some stellar outfits for Mr. Miro (more baby brand blogging to follow shortly.)

I’m trying to get back on the blogging wagon. I welcome any suggestions and hope to be up in London soon, to bother my fellow blogger friends. Remember I’m on Twitter too – @FashionCoolness.

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