E2 Cartel by Lily

You like good vintage jewellery? Then you really need to take a look at E2 Cartel. Gold, gold, the occasional silver item, well chosen accessories and more gold. Lily, the woman behind this treasure trove has the best eye – anyone who appreciates articulated clown charms and Nudie Cohn will 100% have the goods (in my opinion).

As Lily puts so nicely below, there is enough in this world already, so she is set on giving whats already here a new lease of life: Why buy new when, jewellery especially, was made to such a better quality! It isn’t just the best picked jewellery and accessories that can be found at E2 Cartel, but also a tonne of amazing historical and cultural research that Lily does about her finds or favourite pieces. As a lover and studier of history of dress and design this element of E2 Cartel is maybe a favourite; evidence of a true passion and love for what she does, as well as a lesson for anyone that cares to know (which you always should tbh).

If you can tell, I’m a big fan. So please read on ……

  1. tell us about yourself and your brand.

I’m Lily and my shop is E2cartel. E2cartel is a vintage & secondhand jewellery (sometimes shoes & accessories) shop that sits on the fence between naff, trash and fabulous chic classics. I am lucky enough to have found a small but fantastically loyal following since starting the instagram page in 2017. The shop was born out of being absolutely broke and spending the last bit of money i had on 5 pairs of earrings. I posted a photo of the earrings on my instagram and thankfully they all sold to friends and extended followers that day. I went back to the vintage wholesale shop i’d purchased the original 5 pairs from the very next day, and i haven’t stopped selling jewellery since. I only buy secondhand, vintage and/or dead stock items and try and cater to many purse price points. I really do strive to have something for every budget. Not every taste 🙂 My love of secondhand & vintage runs deep into my personal choices too. I really believe there is enough of everything on this planet already, so i’m happy to bring old pieces, new life and a new home via my shop. I collect original & rare Gold Creoles and have done for a number of years, the history of these particular earrings dates back hundreds and hundreds of years and covers the globe. I will share my Creole research on the E2 page soon.I try and use all recycled packaging so the envelopes your jewellery arrives in are likely to look slightly scruffy, i’ve always thought if that bothers anyone they probably shouldn’t be buying from me in the first place 🙂 I’ve always collected jewellery and trinkets and can’t wait to get back to sourcing and selling in person ASAP.

  1. What are your Inspirations?

I studied fashion photography and was taught by the legend Mark Lebon. His freedom in his practice and honesty about the industry was hugely inspiring at uni and i still see him as a bit of a hero now. He introduced us to brilliant people during that course and opened our minds the way a person in his position should. I collect documentary photography books, fashion movements, youth culture, i’m very interested in uniform, class uniform and “class tourism” through dress. Perry Ogden’s book Pony Kids first inspired me to take photos back in 2008, and showed me there was a different way of documenting people in their clothes and environment but in a controlled or staged way, which lead me to fashion photography. Not overly interested in high end fashion but street style and the way people present themselves to the world. I find this really fascinating. 

  1. Lets chat about social media- a hindrance or help? 

Both. I couldn’t do what i do without it. Super brilliant tool for reaching customers worldwide. I have made some genuine friend-like connections using it, it has allowed me to have interactions with my customers that i wouldn’t get just by having a website/shop. The negatives as we all know, total waste of time. Can be a downer if you take algorithms personally.

  1.  Where would you like your business to be in a few years and do you have any advice?

I just want to continue having a nice time, enjoying what i do, connecting with people who enjoy similar things. Encouraging more slow fashion, secondhand purchases when possible. It makes me really happy when people receive their pieces and are blown away by them. I don’t plan on trying to make crazy money doing this (its pretty much impossible) or growing it to the point where i can’t source the stock myself. I just love things with history, jewellery, clothes, shoes omg i love shoes! I just want to share fun pieces with others who love them too. My advice would be to not compare yourself to others, celebrate people. Price your stock fairly, be brave and just have a nice time.

5.  Who are your favourite small businesses or creatives doing interesting things?

Dea.clay, the most fabulous artist and ceramists. @dea.clayMr Finbar’s Hand Painted signs, super talented sign writer doing all sorts of gorgeous bits from Bristol to London @mr_finbarNicolette’s Goods, for all your sweet treat needs. Tasty deliciousness right to your door @nicolettesgoodsSue Stokes Antiques, Beautiful shop based in Corsham, Sue also frequents lots of antiques fairs in the south west/London @suestokesantiques

Margot & Lux by Hollie

I am a big fan of vintage. Having worked in vintage shops for over 10 years it is a passion of mine, particularly how vintage businesses chose to style their finds. Margot & Lux present their collections in a contemporary way, An important approach if Vintage is going to become more than ‘dead peoples clothes’.

When people begin to see vintage as the sustainable (hate that buzz word) option that it is, these vintage collectors that re-imagine vintage clothing in a trend-led and youthful way showcase just how versatile and modern looking vintage clothing can be. Because, let’s face it! fashion buyers are ravaging vintage shops and simply re-making their finds anyway (believe me…I know!)

Hollie is passionate about this element to her business and vintage in general, which is always so nice to see. Please read on to hear about how Margot & Lux started and her future plans….

  1. Tell us about yourself and your brand/work. 

I’m Hollie! I’m from Newcastle but moved to uni in Brighton, where I studied Fashion & Dress History, when I was 18 and then took the plunge to move to London in 2017. I started my brand after 12 looooong years in high st retail and became disillusioned with the brand once I made it to head office. I started to question my own consumption of fashion and really missed sourcing vintage clothing which I’d done since I was around 14. It took 9 months of work related stress and anxiety to kick me into gear and Margot & Lux was born! I’d dreamed of having my own shop since I was about 8 years old – my friend and I planned to open a 5 floor store on Oxford Street with a Spice Girls museum in the basement! My brand really solved a problem I had found with buying vintage – I am super impatient and I hated having to trawl through rail upon rail of bad quality second hand clothing with huge markups in jumble-sale esque stores and wanted to curate something that was accessible to those who wanted to keep their style and wear vintage without looking like they were en route to a fancy dress party. The idea was to style vintage in a modern way and focus on high quality investment pieces that wouldn’t break the bank. Starting the brand has been the best thing I’ve ever done, I’ve expanded into sourcing for film & TV as well as styling for private clients and shoots – I have big plans for the future!

  1. What are your Inspirations?

I’m inspired by literally everything – I can spend entire days on Pinterest and Tumblr! My main inspiration of course is from Instagram, real people with incredible style, but I watch a lot of vintage cinema too – I’m currently obsessed with Diane Keaton! Coming from a background in Fashion History, the inspiration can spark from anywhere – vintage adverts, fashion plates and art/photography, the latter of which usually inspires the colour palettes for upcoming collections. In terms of sourcing stock though, it’s totally intuitive and I tend to just buy what I like and would wear myself! My buying strategy is usually me thinking “OMG I LOVE THAT” and imagining it with an outfit, knowing that someone else will love it too. I hate the idea of buying in bulk, handpicking is always best imo.

  1. Lets chat about social media- a hindrance or help? 

Oh wow, it’s both I think! It’s a great source of anxiety for me and really a Catch-22. The most recent change in algorithm has really messed with brands and it’s a huge expense to advertise. There’s a constant struggle and worry about “am I doing enough? Do people like what I’m putting out??” and then a cycle of having a break, which negatively affects your sales, then becoming obsessed and getting burnt out. It’s amazing to connect to customers and I feel like features such as Instagram Stories are incredible – it’s a chance to really show your personality which makes you more relatable, but overall there’s a huge deal of imposter syndrome and you can’t help but compare yourself to others. I wouldn’t have a brand without social media, but it’s frustrating to be in the pocket of Facebook so much! The way I think about it though, if you had a business pre-social media you would have to pay for marketing and this is just a different way of doing that. Plus, I’ve made so many friends through my business social media accounts and built a reputation of personable customer service, I’ll say it’s a help!

  1.  Where would you like your business to be in a few years and do you have any advice? 

SO MUCH ADVICE! I actually started a YouTube channel because I’m famous for offering (giving) unsolicited advice to unwitting friends who are thinking of starting their own brands, it just bursts out of me! (I think because I miss training people, it was the best part of my previous retail job). My main advice for anyone thinking of starting a brand is to just go for it, you will have plenty of people giving you their two-cents and putting you off, but if you have a vision for a business then do whatever you can to make it work. Read everything related to your business model (especially marketing), chat to other brand owners, do your research and be open minded. Making mistakes is the only way you can properly learn so don’t be afraid to try new things. Oh, and start small! The lower your overheads, the faster you can grow!I’d like my business to expand into a lifestyle brand and soon (in the next week or so) I’ll release my first hand-made jewellery collection using vintage and dead-stock beads. Later into Spring I’ll launch my first vintage homeware collection which I’m super excited about! Once Covid is a distant memory I’d like to have a more physical presence and regularly host Pop-Up shops.

  1.  Who are your favourite small businesses or creatives doing interesting things?

Mariana Pires – I collaborate with Mariana tons on campaign shoots and editorials, we clicked instantly and both have a super similar vision. She’s a creative genius and has such an incredible eye for detail. She’s a filmmaker and photographer. The Pansy Garden for incredible prairie dresses, statement dresses and rare finds. She’s a friend of mine, a fellow Geordie and so knowledgeable about the industry. Alice Passingham Ceramics for super cute one off pieces. We recently collaborated on a collection and have another coming out in March!Anonoma Jewellery – Natasha is an angel and her teeth marks ring haunts my dreams, especially the gold with tooth gem! I die!Els Crochet – Ellen just started her brand and makes very Paloma Wool vibe pieces! I’m obsessed with her bags. Hannah Glenn is another bag designer and angel, her frilled gingham bags are iconic and she has the best eye for print and colour. Benjamin Fox – Ciara creates incredible vintage inspired blouses and dresses and finds the besssstttttt dead-stock fabrics to make them from!Sophie Cull Candy is a creative babe and has incredible style. She makes AMAZING gloves and has an excellent eye for print. Moss Omey makes slip dresses from dead-stock and vintage silks and one day I will commission her to make me a dress for my hypothetical wedding!

Evie by Faye Joynes

Faye reached out recently as she wanted to share her newly created label, Evie, and of course I was happy to provide a space to celebrate this up and coming brand.

Evie is a 90s/00s dream with stripped back two pieces made from slinky and supple fabrics- with the additional awesome jacket thrown in for good measure! See the last image for Faye’s latest woollen jacket creation and a very exciting nod to what she has up her sleeves.

Passionate about change and re-imagining how fashion can work; Faye uses dead-stock fabrics and has a made-to-order ethos, resulting in less waste and a more considered and tailored product. Also, 10% of profits of any Evie orders go to women’s charities.

Evie is the result of Faye’s talent but also the time now presented to her because of a redundancy due to the pandemic. As I’ve mentioned before the outpouring of new indie business and online spaces has been a highly interesting and refreshing approach to such an odd time. Wonderfully creative and talented people using this time to build something has been such a positive to emerge and Evie is no exception.

I can’t wait to see what else Faye produces and how her business grows, see what she has to say about Evie’s inception below…

  1. Tell us about yourself and your brand. 

I founded Evie because I love fashion, but I felt guilty about buying clothing which I knew was unsustainable and unethical. I wanted to create a brand that feels as good to buy as it does to wear, because you know you’re contributing to something positive. As well as being a made-to-order brand which means low-waste, I use sustainable fabrications such as deadstock and natural materials. I also want to help empower those often exploited by the garment industry by donating 10% of my profits to women’s charities.Before starting Evie, I worked as a womenswear designer for various companies in London and abroad, but was constantly thinking about starting my own brand. After being furloughed and eventually made redundant from my job, I moved back to Manchester (where I went to uni), and decided to take the plunge!

  1. What are your Inspirations?

My main inspiration comes from nostalgia- I’m a very nostalgic person and love looking back on memories and old photos, magazines and films. I have a lot of emotion attached to the 90s in particular, because having been born in the 90s, a lot of my favourite music and films growing up was of that era, so my silhouette and fabric references often stem from this.Films by Greta Gerwig and Sofia Coppola also really inspire me- Ladybird is one of my all-time favourite films and I love the aesthetic of The Virgin Suicides.

  1. Lets chat about social media- a hindrance or help? 

I definitely think it’s a help, because I’ve been able to reach people over social media who I wouldn’t have reached otherwise. I also think it’s great to be able to interact with customers/followers – showing them behind the scenes and how their pieces are made as well as getting their opinions of fabrics etc.That being said, I’m finding it really hard to grow on instagram. It’s not easy for a small brand to reach new people but I’m constantly encouraged by friends who share my work!

  1.  Where would you like your business to be in a few years and do you have any advice? 

On a selfish/personal level, I’d like my business to be my full-time job in a few years, as I currently work part-time in hospitality to support my brand. Doing Evie full-time would be a dream! On a more meaningful level, I have a strong idea of what I want Evie to be- a positive fashion brand which can give back to the community in some way as well as being a really fun label to wear. I hope to do this by working with local seamstresses, photographers and crafts people, and contributing to the creative industry in the North. In terms of advice, I would just say start before you’re ready, because if you don’t you’ll just never start!

5. Who are your favourite small businesses or creatives doing interesting things?

There are so many! A few brands I love are Marques’ Almeida, Acne Studios and Pamola Wool. I also find brands such as Olivia Rose The Label and Maison Cleo really inspiring because they showed me that you don’t need to produce stock in factories to start a label. @saeshablue and @franrowsevisuals are amazing photographers whose work I love and I have been lucky to work with.I also love @rhiannaellington prints, @annarobertsstudio artworks and @thephatchrub vintage jewellery!

Aisling Duffy

Aisling Duffys’ work is my grown up grunger dream attire.

With babydoll patchwork dresses; re-worked denim jackets adorned with handmade patches; and oversized tie-dye long sleeves with added lace edging. Aisling uses a mixture of medias and elements to create her collections, with many of her own illustrations used throughout and much of the fabric upcycled. Passionate about sustainability, Aisling is dedicated to creating and reimaging pre-existing fabric: Which is probably the most consistent and sustainable way of creating new clothing….ripping up and re-using the old!

As Aisling mentions, her collections are very weighted in the culture she surrounded herself with when she was younger and that is absolutely clear to see. With a DIY approach to her work, it reminds me of the ‘can do’ attitude of many of my friends that grew up in the same cultures. With many putting on shows, making zines or creating something off their own back, this way of working is something I absolutely love to recognise in people.

I can’t wait to see what Aisling will be working on next. So, please read on to find out more about her wonderfully nostalgic, considered and genuinely fun collections…

1. Tell us about yourself and your brand/work
Hi I’m Aisling. I run a small label where I make handmade mostly one~of~a~kind pieces using my prints , upcycled fabrics and materials. Each year I make two main collections for my stockist & throughout the year I do limited drops through my website.I use deadstock, upcycled and organic fabrics where ever possible.I like to work on one~of~a~kind or made~to~order basis meaning there is no waste or overproduction


2. What are your inspirations?
I am mostly inspired by themes of Identity, Personality & Self-Exploration throughout my work. I use a lot of imagery and text that explores these themes in my prints & artwork.I try to address Social Issues that I am passionate about such as Climate Change, Environment and Sustainable Fashion through my choice of fabrics and DIY aesthetic.Music was a big part of my youth, and still is today, so I think the culture of going to shows and how me & my peers dressed feeds into how I style and design my collections.


3. Lets chat about social media – a hindrance or a help?
I think a bit of both. Having an online presence is very important for any brand or business in todays world. It allows people from all over the world discover and connect with your work. The flip side of this for me is that I find running my social medias stressful at times, this year in particular I have had many moments of feeling very overwhelmed by internet culture. As someone who has anxiety I find that when someone says something negative or critical ( whether or not they mean to) it can cause me to doubt everything I have worked towards & built so it is definitely a fine balance of being a hindrance or a help!


4. Where would you like your business to be in a few years and do you have any advice.
My main goal over the next few years is to reach a stage where my business is fully financially stable. That’s the dream! I love designing custom pieces for artists, musicians and performers so I would like that to become a bigger part of my brand. I would also love to get some more stockists and launch a sustainable dress collection to be stocked worldwide.
Running a business solo is hard work so my biggest advice would be to stay passionate & know your values – whenever there are big decisions to be made always come back to these values to guide and inform what is best for your business


5. Who are your favourite small businesses or creatives doing interesting things?
There are so many incredible small businesses out there! But here is a small list:
Eloise Hanikenehttps://www.eloisehanikene.com/
Cat O’Brienhttps://www.catobrien.co/shop
Laoise Careyhttps://laoisecareystudio.com/
Lifershophttps://whatislifer.com/
Meg Beckhttps://www.megbeck.com/
Mutter Metalworkshttps://muttermetalworks.com
One Soft Handhttps://www.onesofthand.com/