Frieda Gormley and her husband Javvy M Royle have created a chintz-patterned empire in London's Hackney. Nailing an aesthetic somewhere between crumbling Victorian town house and 90s Laura Ashley, House of Hackney
's printed homeware has found a cult following in London's East End. And now, by popular demand, their trademark prints have made the jump onto ready-to-wear—designed specially for OC!
Citing grunge and Gothicism as their references, Frieda and Javvy take their twisted toile de jouy to baby doll dresses, mohair cardigans, and button-front mini skirts. Signature patterns like "Dalston Rose" and red leopard spots darken down ombre skirts like faded wallpaper for creepy-cute Gothic Lolita charm.
Browse the collection opposite, get a look into Frieda and Javvy's house in the lookbook (the prints run wall-to-wall!), and find out more below, as we chat to Frieda about interiors, antiques, and where to go dancing in Hackney.
Shop all House of Hackney here
Alice Newell-Hanson: Your house is so beautiful! Was it always the plan to bring your own home into the brand?
Frieda Gormley: Well, the brand was conceived because we were struggling to find the type of interiors we wanted to buy for our home, so we took the opportunity to design our dream collections, which of course we wanted to live in!
ANH: What was it that first made you think, "I want to do homeware"?
FG: Even as a kid I loved to trawl antique shops and auction rooms with my mum. My grandmother was an avid collector of antiques and had a magpie's eye for exquisite pieces, and the interest has been passed down through the generations. Javvy and I started out working in fashion, which we continue to love and be inspired by—color, print, texture, workmanship whether it's on a dress or on a piece of furniture.
It was when we started doing up our own places that we struggled to find pieces we wanted to buy. After so many years of minimalism and clean lines we were looking for a more traditional product but with a post-modern twist. We couldn't find it so we decided to create it. We spent over a year traveling around the UK seeking out the best manufacturers in each area. Quality and provenance are really important in what we do. Equally important are the prints and textures—the inspiration is quite old-fashioned but then we subvert the look with treatments and effects.
ANH: And where does that inspiration come from?
FG: From nature, from fashion brands like Hermès, decorators from the past like Colefax and Fowler, and the wonderful creatures who inhabit Hackney.
ANH: Why was now the right time to branch into clothing?
FG: We launched the brand with a pop-up shop, where the shop girls wore clothes in the prints, and people wanted to buy the clothes right off the girls' backs! We also come from a fashion background, so it was a natural move. There is a definite person who wants to buy our signature prints on clothing, and the feedback from the ready-to-wear collection has been great so far.
ANH: What is it about Hackney that really excites people?
FG: Hackney has a special energy to it. It's a creative hub for lots of designers and artists, and the colorful people who live in the area are a big inspiration for us. And then there's the Victorian architecture, a beautiful Victorian Lido, and great parks, cafes, and pubs.
ANH: What are some of your favorite spots?
FG: The Hackney Empire theatre for plays and interesting gigs from people like The Fall and Spiritualized; A Little Bit of What You Fancy for their macaroni cheese; Toppers of Hackney, the hairdressers; and Vogue Fabrics for dancing and Hackney house parties!
Shop all House of Hackney here
House of Hackney