Friday, 11 February 2011

Shopkeeper Of The Week - Tulip & Nettle

Tulip and Nettle are that rare thing; a successful children's wear business that manages to retain a strong sense of craft and quality within their collections whilst keeping it affordable and made in the UK.

Tulip and Nettle's children's clothes evoke a strong sense of pre-war nostalgia, of brambling in the lanes, hay making, scone eating and rock pooling. Based in rural Northumberland in a converted stable block they produce clothes for children with a few special pieces for their parents by 'properly paid adults'.

We took a few moments out with Amynta from Tulip and Nettle to ask her a few questions about the shop.

How would you describe your collections?

Tulip and Nettle sell clothes for children and a few special pieces for their parents. Everything we make is produced here in the North East of England as opposed to remote foreign factories, the clothes are made FOR children, not BY children!

Who or what are your biggest influences?

Tulip and Nettle clothes take their inspiration from diverse influences. I like to play with an image of say, Swallows and Amazons & an idea of an outdoor carefree childhood mood, but then apply the values that I appreciate in my own clothes so we look at the way Marni or Comme twist a seam here, turn a hem there. We hope that the clothes reflect eternal values but are utterly modern in interpretation. Hence Edwardian nursery meets polar fleece, a prim little frock gets styled over jeans or a lace trimmed antique mood petty gets presented as a dress in its own right. Sources have ranged from photographs of the Blitz, Singer Sargent pictures, royals as infants and Commando War Library!

Where is your favourite spring/summer place to visit for inspiration?

Everyone says this but the V&A is a constant. It is also important to see what's happening in mainstream fashion [Dover Street Market for example], but the location that probably has the biggest influence, is the Northumbrian countryside which surrounds the studio.

What is your favourite item from your current collection?

This summer we are really excited by the hand knit sweaters which are a relatively new project for us. The summer ones are knitted from a marvelous silky feeling yarn in bamboo viscose. It has an amazing drape. We have a crack team of grannies knitting away all over Northumberland. The jumpers have that gorgeous hand made quality with just that teeny hint of wonkiness that you want from an artisan product!

Do you have any new items/collections about to be launched?
The Spring collection is going up on line this month and the Summer additions will appear in late March.

What do you enjoy most about being one of the shops in The Secret Arcade?

What is so lovely about being in the Secret Arcade is the context that it brings to the range. It is a compliment to appear alongside such beautifully considered and special shops.

Visit Tulip & Nettle in the
within The Secret Arcade


  1. I have been a fan of Tulip & Nettle for some time now, have featured them on Designers Block and have only recently realised they are based in Northumberland, as I am. It's wonderful to find that I am not the only designer influenced by the Northumberland countryside.

  2. lovely interview and delightful products