Bread and Shutter show us why it's worth letting you borrow a sample!

Bread and Shutter show us why it's worth letting you borrow a sample!

A few weeks ago Lydia and I were debating how to go about the business of loaning out the increasingly massive sample archive to creatives and press. It's a job in itself to stay on top of hundreds of samples, keeping track of who has what, whether it got returned, if it was covered in bodily substances afterwards, chasing people up for the items or to see if they got used, and so on, but the loan system is a basic expectation in the fashion industry. It's especially difficult now the samples live at my house, and I don't have good enough mobility to get to the local post office (they closed all the ones near me, and getting couriers is more expensive. The stats you see about how being disabled gives you extra costs are spot on).

In a grump, I pointed out that this is all time we could perhaps spend more usefully on other stuff, especially given that 95% of the time the garments don't ever get seen. I mean, seriously, I have to be the only person who sent lingerie to a Rihanna video shoot, and then found the entire thing got shot with her wearing flowing maxi dresses. (Still love Rihanna, though. And the stylist was lovely about it). Our biggest press result, on the other hand, just involved sending a photo and some information to Lauren Laverne. Sod getting a suspender belt in Vogue Italia, get a swimsuit on the Guardian website, apparently a secret hotbed of style. Who knew?!

Anyway, Lydia maintained it was worth doing, albeit with an admin fee, and now I'm going to have to eat my words because I don't even care if these never see a fashion site, look at the fabulous stormiousity of them:

Bread and Shutter shot these; I've not really run across him before, but apparently his background is in shooting films, which may account for the highly stylised and dramatic effects. The model is Krista. I know many of you are interested in diversity issues in modelling so it's worth noting that, although Krista is around the size of a standard catwalk model in the UK, at the age on her profile, 34, she is past the ages most agencies will consider working with. She also has a very unusual and large tattoo across her chest, which mainstream modelling agencies absolutely loathe (it's amazing, click through and take a look as it's quite unlike most tattoo artwork).

That's the Grace Gown Krista is wearing in the banner, above is the Leonie Gown.

These two are the Star Dress (due back in stock shortly) and I feel compelled to warn you that if you attempt to recreate this look, it's very important that you get to the rock, THEN put the shoes on. You know what I'm like about fashion tips, I've an eye to practicalities.

Also if you want to recreate this look, you'll need to pick your scenery very carefully and take a great photographer along. I'm pretty certain this is still in Britain, where we do have some beautiful coastline, but unless your main aim is to take a stunning shot and you PLAN, PLAN, PLAN, your beach trip will probably look more like my Sunday:

That swimsuit stands up to the rigours of a bracing swim in the ever-freezing waters round these parts, plus also seaweed and mud. Though I'm not at all sure about the advisability of combining breast-stroke, currents, and underwired cups. It's fine in a pool but I narrowly avoided An Incident in the sea. 

Anyway, one way or another, the lesson for this week is; whether you're a creative, a press person, or someone we know will stress test a swimsuit, if you can use a sample size, I might still let you borrow one, though with an admin fee.

I'd like to thank Bread and Shutter and Krista for getting me out of the cynical grumps and reminding me that people can do really beautiful pictures and for being gracious enough to let me use them!