The Bazaar Celebrates Independent Makers and Brands
United by a desire to support craftspeople and small independent labels, Muna Arzouni and Florence Dixon founded The Bazaar. They’ve helped introduce newcomers such as Heinui to the London scene, among British brands and makers like SIDELINE, Corrie Williamson and Maya Njie. Florence owns Tidy Street General Store in Brighton and Muna, mum of two, based in West London has years of experience in retail management.
Far removed from your classic British jumble sale or fete, when The Bazaar makes an appearance imagine something much chicer – from bright floral displays to Claire Ptak of Violet Cakes providing the nourishment whilst wearing Babaà knitwear.
What motivated the both of you to create the Bazaar?
Muna and Florence: We felt there was a gap in the market for modern craft; somewhere for small brands and makers to come together and meet their customers. We wanted to move away from traditional ideas of craft fairs in dark church halls and create something vibrant and modern. We were inspired by similar events in the US, where all these amazing makers come together to sell their wares directly to the public. Most of our participants don’t have brick and mortar stores, so it’s an opportunity also for the customer to see their product in person and to get to know the maker behind the brand. In this age of fast fashion and internet shopping we feel it’s an amazing opportunity to learn about the process and the people behind the things we purchase.
Can we hear more about why buying from female artisans is important from your perspective?
Muna and Florence: We’re not trying to be exclusively female and don’t exclude men from our fair in any way; indeed men play an important role in many of our featured brands. However, we found ourselves attracted primarily to designers and brands that had strong females at their helm. We are also aware of the mammoth task many female designers and artists face – often juggling motherhood, other jobs and trying to grow their own projects at the same time. It felt important to allow these amazing women a place to showcase their work.
Could you tell us about some of them?
Muna and Florence: Milena Silvano creates coats, jackets, accessories and homewares out of sheepskins. She is based in the Ashdown Forest, in the heart of the Sussex countryside. Her work reflects the nature around her; the moon and yin yang motif feature heavily in her work. Silvano’s patchwork sheepskin coats have earnt her cult status and she is now moving into homewares; at the last Bazaar she launched her new cushions.
Neoma is a Brighton based leather studio. Minimal designs including handbags, wallets and rucksacks are all painstakinly made by hand in Brighton. Neoma believes that the beauty of the leather should speak for itself and therefore the designs are simple and timeless. The beauty of buying direct from the maker also means all Neoma’s products can be adapted and personalised.
Babaà is a knitwear brand from Spain founded by Marta Bahillo. The wool used in their jumpers comes from ethically reared Spanish sheep where animal welfare is paramount. The cotton comes from Andalusia, and supporting the Spanish textile industry is at the heart of what Babaa does. Marta produces clothes designed to last in timeless shapes and unusual colours. These are clothes to be worn everyday; dressed up or dressed down, and to be cherished. The childrenswear range means the whole family can enjoy Babaa!
Pip Hartle makes hand thrown stoneware ceramics in her studio at the bottom of her garden in East London. Her pottery are both functional and unique with distinctive markings inspired by natural landscapes and textile patterns from all around the world.
The Bazaar will be back in June 2019. In the meantime you can follow them here.
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