Last summer, we embarked on our first overseas trip as a family when we flew to Paris for a couple of days. We decided we wanted to see the much talked about Playtime exhibition for ourselves (and, of course, see a bit of beautiful Paris) with the vision to exhibiting there ourselves one day.
Six months later we were back and exhibiting. We identified this as the perfect platform to launch the new Nor-Folk collection. Behind the scenes, we have been designing our own patterns and garments, meaning that, from April this year, we will have our own cut for each item we sell. As well as the new lines, we have evolved The Wonder Years Collection – introducing new typefaces, colourways and adding long sleeves to the mix. We have decided to avoid working in conventional fashion seasons and are instead adopting a slow fashion approach. We will evolve our brand and our core collections over time. If you’re a shop and would like to see more in our lookbook, please email me. The new collection will be available from the end of March – we’re very excited.
Once we had decided to ‘do’ the exhibition, our first consideration was how to get there. The biggest concern was sending our samples by courier – we felt like they were such precious cargo that we couldn’t run the risk of sending our one of a kind garments ahead of us (and losing them). So that made our decision for us, we’d travel by road. I wasn’t able to leave Stanley for the duration, so we asked Bobby’s brother and sister-in-law if they’d like to join us for the trip. They kindly agreed and took care of Stanley for the days we were at the show. So we found, what we dubbed, the ‘A team van’ and off we went. We packed everything and then the kitchen sink!
It took us roughly 8 hours to get to our Paris home for the week, in the 19th district. We chose an apartment that was in a quiet area but also the right side to drive to the show each day. We also sought a property that was typically stylish and Parisian – we wanted to emerge ourselves in as much of the local culture as we could. I’ll be honest, I fell in love with the Parquet as soon as I saw it on AirBnb.
We exhibited for three days at PlayTime Paris. We were positioned by the North entrance, Press Office and and a restaurant, which was a perfect location. During our time, we met several of our lovely retailers we work with already. I also discovered that people from Belgium give three kisses (to friends!). Interspersed with the chats with buyers was visits from bloggers and press, some whom we’d collaborated with already. And, of course, we were surrounded by other talented brands. One of the elements I liked most about the show was how supportive the other designers are of each other – we have definitely forged some lovely friendships.
After the show, we had two whole days to see Paris. The first day we went to Disneyland Paris. Neither Bobby nor I had ever been been to Disneyland. Stanley definitely enjoyed it but perhaps it would’ve been a touch more enjoyable if the weather was warmer. On our final day we stayed local – we were blessed to be neighbouring the beautiful Parc Des Buttes Chaumont and Stanley got to show us his local park hangouts where he’d played with french children for much of the early part of the week. It was a lovely location.
In the afternoon, on our last day, we went to 104 Centquatre. This was a gallery/dance space and general entertainment venue. It was an intelligent use of space within the building and had a really welcoming atmosphere. Sadly, Stanley wasn’t in the mood for sightseeing that day but we grabbed a drink in the restaurant which was a welcome distraction and break. The architecture and interior design throughout was beautiful.
We drove home on the Friday and had two days to unwind (and had about 6 loads of washing) ahead of a busy start to the week.
Following the show, we have secured some lovely new stockists and this year looks like a very exciting one already.
And yes, I’m in the process of planning our next trip already.