Cover Shoot: Dress yourself happy this new year

Forget new year, new you: instead, take a moment to celebrate yourself exactly as you are. That’s the spirit of this month’s cover story, featuring pre-loved and personalised clothing from Saffron Walden’s V V Raven Attire and shot at Cambridge’s one-of-a-kind art museum, Kettle’s Yard

The Clothes

Founded “with a rebellious soul and a heartfelt mission: to give courageous individuals the space to be confident, calm and comforted”, V V Raven Attire is the brainchild of Jo and Peter Thorndike, who both left rat-race careers to follow their shared personal passions - for fashion, art, sustainability and making the world a happier place.

Selling vintage, preloved, reimagined and personalised items - Peter adds hand-painted slogans and graphics to garments, notably turning old military jackets into objects of peace and love - V V Raven Attire also offers styling services.

“It was [born of] a need to spread love and happiness,” say Jo and Peter, “to show people that life could be colourful, vibrant and bursting with spirit. We’d spent many a year climbing the corporate ladder. We followed the rules, painted by numbers and lost a part of ourselves in the process - but no more!”

The Ethos

“There are enough clothes already in the world to clothe the next six generations,” say Jo and Peter. “But the pressure of being an eco-conscious shopper is often overwhelming, which can result in us losing the will to try. Take one small step at a time and build your wardrobe in a considered fashion.

“Unlearn the myth that clothes are seasonal. Try a sloppy jumper over a summer dress or skirt and wear with boots or trainers. Layers, layers, layers. . . Clash everything, from colours and patterns to textures and materials. Mend, adjust and re-wear. And unlearn the stigma attached to secondhand clothes.

“Revisit what you already own. Do it with a friend and encourage one another to try combinations that you wouldn’t normally put together. Maybe even mix, match and swap with your friend but most of all, have fun!”

The Location

Kettle’s Yard is the University of Cambridge’s modern and contemporary art gallery. Set in an aesthetic and atmospheric house containing a remarkable collection of modern art - bequeathed lock, stock and barrel to the University by former Tate curator Jim Ede and his wife Helen - it has adjoining gallery and education spaces which also host regular contemporary art exhibitions and workshops.

Kettle’s Yard is open 11am to 5pm every day except Monday. The house opens at noon, with last entry at 4.20pm. Entry is free, but booking a timed ticket is recommended:

Meet the Team

Photographer: Elodie Giuge, Elodie Giuge Photography:

Assistant Photographer: Katrin Vashkevich:

Models & Outfits: Jo and Peter Thorndike, V V Raven Attire:

Makeup: Catherine Mizen, The Beauty Society, John Lewis & Partners Cambridge:

Upcycled Fascinator: Susan Widlake, Millhouse Millinery:

Location: Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge:

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