A few months ago, I met an inspirational lady, Meggie Semple.
After an extremely successful career that granted her an OBE (a recognition of merit by the Queen), Maggie now devotes her energies to a project that is as beautifully simple as it is relevant to women of all backgrounds: Maggie Semple Limited. Its launch coincided with the publication of Semple’s book ‘Women, Fashion, Stories’, and now Maggie uses the concept behind the book to run ‘Semple Secrets’ a series of conversations with inspirational women from a diverse range of fields.
The conversations have been bringing women together to tell their fashion stories since October 2010. Starting with a special guest invited to speak, and then including members of the public, everybody is invited to share the stories surrounding a treasured item of clothing, and fond memories of wearing it.
The news for 2012 is that MSL have announced the launch of a new service, which I’m already excited about. It’s Behind the Seams, a new personalised gift service that provides a unique piece of fashion history about a treasured garment, presented in an exquisitely crafted booklet.
Behind the Seams provides a contextual account of a specific garment with details about the time of production, information about fabrics, cut, style, the designers and the inspiration, and any other information which can be discovered along the way.
Once the lucky lady has received an MSL gift voucher, she can pick the garment she’s most curious about, and send a picture of it to MSL. This is when an avid team of fashion historians and journalists will get to work. Drawing on a pool of authentic sources and experienced researchers, they will put together a whole account of the garment’s history, to be printed on a beautifully presented booklet, complete with extra pictures and illustrations. An unique and entirely custom-made service that captures the precise moment of fashion history that links to the personal experiences of the wearer; a precious story that can be passed on to future generations of fashion lovers.
Every woman has at least one item of clothing that makes her feel special and reminds her of exciting and proud moments in her life. This idea is truly resonant to all women, and I cannot think of one who wouldn’t love to pick her favourite piece, and have it researched and immortalised in such simple and thought-after manner.
But most of all, I really appreciate the values that this idea carries and promotes. That clothes are not just for the moment, to follow the trend of the season. They are a more deep expression of who we are, and as such bear a value to each of us, that we have, as of late, learnt to overlook. Hopefully tapping on our emotional relationship with out clothes, we can also promote the idea that discarding them without a worry is not the most sustainable way to manage our wardrobes.
[images courtesy of Maggie Semple Limited]