The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Rottingdean Bazaar

Forget New York, this quaint English hidey-hole has come into the fashion forefront

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Rottingdean, a coastal village on the arse end of Brighton. Home to St Margaret’s Parish Church, a cricket club, the “best fish and chips ever” according to a Trip Advisor review in 2017, and acclaimed fashion designers for London Fashion Week. Hang on, what? Yep. This quaint English hidey-hole has come into the fashion forefront recently after the formation of the Rottingdean Bazaar, a non-brand brand of ironic fashion experiments. It was formed in 2015 by James Theseus Buck and Luke Brook, who live and work in a tiny studio flat in the village. It’s basically a big old piss-take of high fashion. Taking influence from day-to-day life, they turn gardening tools and cheese boards into (semi) wearable items.

Their Autumn/Winter 2018/19 collection show at London Fashion Week: Men’s, was opened by a bird whistler and closed with a dartboard hat and cardboard cut-out accessory of Naomi Campbell. The models, of all ages, heights, shapes, and sizes walked out to a trance rendition of Greensleeves, emphasising both their Ye Olde Village roots and appreciation for the UK rave scene of neighbouring Brighton. This very British brand is a tongue-in-cheek exploration of the weird and wonderful eccentricities of village life, from the nutty bird watcher to the ruddy-cheeked pub ‘local’. The audience reaction was mixed, from those with knowing smiles who chuckled at the relatable cultural references, to the few stony-faced iPhone camera enthusiast, furiously recording every movement in baffled confusion.

So, how have these two normal lads who enjoy “cleaning, cooking, going to car-boot sales, and buying reed diffusers” reached so far? I think there was a well-needed space for a chuckle in the fashion world, an industry often at the centre of controversy and critical issues, where melancholic models and monochromatic designers were well overdue a laugh.

All jokes aside, these two fashion graduates of Central Saint Martins have also created well considered and far from unprofessional pieces. For example, the pressed flower sweatshirt was a sensation in Selfridges and the line has been a celebrity hit. Never losing the all-important humour, all Brooks had to say of the notorious garden rake dress Rita Ora wore at the MTV Europe Music awards was that it simply reminded him “of summer fairs and parades.” This amalgamation of irony, fun, and eccentricity has also caught the eye of major publications. In less than three years they have been featured in Dazed, Man About Town, and PYLOT magazine to name a few.

For those of you who read this article and fancy yourself adorned in spanners, you will be disappointed. With one expectant click to the Online Shop, you are greeted with a ‘404 Page Not Found. The page you requested does not exist’ error notification. Wi-Fi playing up? Laptop on the blink? Nope. Yet another sly giggle from the boys more likely. If you would like a slice of the action keep your eyes peeled for releases in major department stores. Or look to www.smiffys.com, B&Q, and Hobbycraft for excellent dupes.

Bazaar in name and bizarre by nature, Rottingdean Bazaar might not be for everyone but by god, the village pub does a mean cauliflower cheese says Nicky from East Grinstead.