Poler x Pendleton

North West is best! Our two favourite Oregonian brands have collaborated to create the Poler x Pendleton collection, featuring Pendleton’s traditional Journey West pattern in unique Poler Stuff colours. It includes classics such as Poler’s original Rolltop, The Rucksack, Napsack and Two Man Tent, as well as a Pendleton Blanket and oversized Beach Towel. Shop the collection in our Boxpark store or online now!

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Photo credit: Benji Wagner

Kharma Design in the Guardian

The Khama Sewing and Knitting Centre where our chitenge shopping bags are made, was featured in the Guardian today: “Ethical fashion in Malawi – in pictures“.

Khama Design is an ethical fashion company working with local women in Kasungu, a town in Malawi. Pictured here in traditional Malawian Chitenge skirts, these women attend Khama’s training workshops in tailoring and fashion production.” Photographs by Mark Cocksedge.

Fjällräven at the Scandinavia Show

The Brokedown Palace partnered with Fjällräven to do their stand at the Scandinavia Show 2013.

The Scandinavia Show is the only UK show dedicated exclusively to showcase the best of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The show incorporates Scandinavian design, travel, lifestyle, fashion, culture and food.

This year’s venue was the stunning and historic Tobacco Dock, right on the River Thames; built in the early 19th Century as a secure bonded warehouse for the receipt and storage of tobacco from the New World.

We had a great time and met lots of lovely customers. Thank you Fjällräven for inviting us!

Ian and Dee Dee from The Brokedown Palace

Tobacco Dock

Tobacco Dock entrance

Adam from The Brokedown Palace with the colourful wall of Kånkens.

Andi from Fjällräven at his Wax Station, demonstrating how to re-wax a Greenland Jacket with Fjällräven’s unique Greenland Wax.

This customer came in with his 23 year old Kånken – looks good as new! His wife had just washed it so it’s a little crumpled. She said she always just throws it in the washing machine. They were buying more Kånkens for their young relatives.

Also in our stand were Grower’s Cup Coffee from Denmark. Here Adam from The Brokedown Palace and Andy from Fjällräven are sampling a cup.


Dee Dee from The Brokedown Palace cuddling Moomintroll.

The Danes are invading Swedish Fjällräven!

Joe from Fjällräven looking super snazzy in a UN Blue Fjällräven Numbers Jacket No.68 and matching trousers. 


Organic Cotton at the Brokedown Palace

Organic cotton is usually rain-fed, not irrigated, so it uses a lot less water. It’s grown without the use of toxic pesticides and insecticides. Farmers use composted manures and cover-crops to replace synthetic fertilisers. Innovative weeding strategies are used instead of herbicides. Beneficial insects and trap-crops are used to control pests. Some farmers use natural pesticides such as chilli – just like in our wildflower Seedballs!

Agrocel cotton farmers – where the organic cotton for our People Tree dresses comes from

Some of the organic cotton products we sell:

People Tree

People Tree Ellie Bouquet Dress

The Brokedown Palace Tote


Lost in London Pop-Up: Bringing Outdoors In

We’ve just started stocking the fantastic Lost in London book, so we were excited to see they were doing a ‘bringing the outdoors in’ pop-up event at Hackney City Farm as part of Chelsea Fringe. We went along to have a look and found some wonderful stallholders and most importantly delicious cakes!

Lost in London’s own stall with all their publications

The Borough Belles WI with their amazing stall of homemade cakes. I had a luscious rhubarb crumble cup cake.

Marshmallow Bunny made by The Borough Belles WI – apparently it’s traditional in Australia!

We loved Sarah May Rogers hand made ceramics – her bone china leaves are exquisite and made using real leaves.

The lovely folks from Peachy Gardening  – an East London based business that offers friendly reliable gardening services. They were selling some gorgeous ready-planted pots at the event.

These greetings cards from Urban Ladybird  are genius – they have seeds in the card and can be planted straight into the ground.

Ian marking his favourite green space on the map – he chose Wick Woodland which is opposite The Brokedown Palace.

No trip to Hackney City Farm is complete without visiting Larry the Donkey, the only donkey we know of to have his own Twitter account. Follow him @hackneycityfarm


Francis Cugat’s Great Gatsby Book Cover

Francis Cugat’s 1925 ‘Celestial Eyes’ design for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s the Great Gatsby is one of the most iconic book covers of all time. It’s also unusual in that the artwork influenced the story. Cugat finished the illustration before the final manuscript was submitted, and Fitzgerald wrote to his editor Maxwell Perkins, “For Christ’s sake don’t give anyone that jacket you’re saving for me. I’ve written it into the book.”
By saying that he’d “written into the book” could Fitzgerald have meant narrator Nick Carraway’s description of Daisy as a “‘girl whose disembodied face floated along the dark cornices and blinding signs’ of New York at night.” Or perhaps the eyes of Dr TJ Eckleburg on a giant billboard in the valley of ashes?
My guess is the former, I think the eyes of Dr TJ Eckleburg are too integral to the story to have been added for the final draft.
The eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg from The Great Gatsby (dir. Jack Clayton, 1974)
The eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg from The Great Gatsby, Jack Clayton, 1974
Daisy’s face is described by narrator Nick Carraway in the book as “sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth.” Dr. T.J. Eckleberg’s eyes are “blue and gigantic…they look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose.” Cugat’s illustration seems to combine these two images, though primarily I think it is Daisy.
Perhaps the triangular composition of the disembodied face with no nose represents the love triangle of Daisy, Tom and Gatsby. Or Myrtle (Tom’s mistress), Tom and Daisy.
If you look closely you can see the pupils of the eyes are stylised reclining female nudes – perhaps representing Daisy in Gatsby’s eyes?
The green light on Daisy's dock, from The Great Gatsby, Jack Clayton, 1974
The green light on Daisy’s dock, from The Great Gatsby, Jack Clayton, 1974
The green tear streaming from her eyes in the illustration is like the light “that burns all night” at the end of Daisy’s dock, representing the American dream tantalisingly just out of Gatsby’s reach. It’s reflected in the water on the illustration, just as it’s reflected in the sound between Daisy’s and Gatsby’s houses in the book.
The Great Gatsby is full of light motifs with parties illuminated by “enough coloured lights to make a Christmas tree of Gatsby’s enormous garden.” Nick sees “the whole corner of the peninsula . . . blazing with light” from Gatsby’s house “lit from tower to cellar.” When Nick tells Gatsby that his place “looks like the World’s Fair,” Gatsby proposes that they “go to Coney Island.”
This is represented in the fairground image on the illustration, which also perhaps symbolises the bright lights of New York City.
New York City from The Great Gatsby, Baz Luhrmann, 2013
Francis Cugat’s original 1925 gouache painting
Our Great Gatsby Out of Print t-shirt featuring the book cover
I’m a huge fan of the book and the 1974 film, so I’m interested to see Luhrmann’s film when it comes out in the UK on May 16th. It will be the fifth film adaptation of the novel. I’ll leave you with the trailer.



Out Of Print

We are very pleased to be stocking Out of Print t-shirts from Brooklyn, New York City. Their t-shirts feature iconic and often out of print book covers. They work closely with artists, authors and publishers to license the content that ends up in their collections. For each t-shirt sold, one book is donated to a community in need through their partner Books For Africa.