Amelia’s Magazine | Designer Spotlight: Brooke Roberts- Part One

Illustration courtesy of Valerie Pezeron

Nothing satiates a foodie quite like the first forkful of their best-loved grub, try but reading about it comes close. For those gastronomes who believe that food’s role reaches far beyond basically fuelling our existence – that it’s integral to community bonds, economies of every scale and our relationships with our environment, as well as our physical wellbeing – the new book from Tamzin Pinkerton and Rob Hopkins (yes, he of Transition Culture fame) will have you salivating over the nosh-related possibilities that a little ambition, curiosity and organisation can create close to home.‘Local Food: How to Make it Happen in Your Community’ (Transition Books) shadows Hopkins’ inspiring ‘Transition Handbook’, training the spotlight on the integral subject of our food and what we can do to go back to the literal roots of the good life – and stay there. While written against the unnerving but inescapable global backdrop of peak oil, food security and climate change crises, ‘Local Food’ incites excitement about the potential of a carefully considered future, both long and short term, rather than fear of a hopeless one. With the onus on the ‘local’ part of its title, the book encourages a proactive, fun approach to sustainability by profiling a huge and diverse range of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) initiatives based all over the world.


Image courtesy of Transition Culture

“The kind of community engagement facilitated by CSAs generates and harnesses passionate enthusiasm among the people who participate in it,” write Pinkerton and Hopkins, “and this is due, in no small part, to the sheer thrill that comes from being able to shape and engage with the food system that feeds us.” From legitimate legume growers to dig-by-night guerrilla gardeners, the teams and organisations featured in ‘Local Food’ not only explain their motivations for picking up tools, but reveal the thrills, difficulties, surprises and benefits that they have faced since they did.

Image courtesy of Stephen Prior

Unsurprisingly, the majority of these people are driven by a passion for good food, and a respect for and desire to greater understand the environment that provides it. However deeply they’re involved in the food production within their community – be it founding community gardens or filling their fridges with farmers’ market fodder – the individuals highlighted in ‘Local Food’ prove how attainable a sustainable lifestyle is, whether you want to get muddy or not. And, if you do want to have direct involvement in and influence over what ends up on your plate, there’s even a contacts section to introduce you to your nearest initiatives. As the authors put so succinctly, “We can have our affordable, local, organic cake, and eat it too”.
3Zorb catsuit in exclusive silk/ glassino jacquard knit and silver and red gold stacked skull rings and spinning skull slice ring.

Last week I was lucky enough to meet a fashion designer whom I would describe as one of the most innovative, sildenafil visionary and hard working designers of the moment; Brooke Roberts. Brooke’s self named women’s wear label is heavily influenced by radiology and juxtaposes the worlds of science and fashion to great technical effect. I caught up with Brooke in her Hackney based studio to find out more….

PB242089Brooke Roberts SS10 collection, taken in designer’s studio.

Where were you born and raised?
I grew up in rural Australia and went to university in Sydney and at that point I was studying to become a radiographer as I loved science and the anatomy. Whilst I was there I tried a bit of styling and then moved to London. I temped for a while then ended up going to LCF and Central St. Martin’s after deciding I wanted to be a tailor.

How long ago did you graduate?

It feels like decades ago but I finished at Central St. martin’s at the end of 2005.

15Zagna dress in skull python printed georgette and ortho suede belt.

PB242086Close-up of skull python printed georgette.

What have you been up to since graduating?
In four years I’ve been juggling everything. I’m still working as a radiographer and I’ve been doing that all the way through even when I was studying. At the same time I’ve worked with people like Giles Deacon and Louise Goldin. I’ve also been keeping busy doing some freelance bits here and there, the most recent of which was a job for Daphne Guinness with Jens Laugesen. I’ve been travelling a lot as well working at factories in Italy and developing links in India, just trying to immerse myself in the industry and developing contacts. In the last year specifically I’ve been focusing on trying to build my label.

4Zagna dress in printed waffle georgette with embroidered ortho trim and ortho georgette belt.

How does your job as a radiographer influence your designs?
You can’t really separate the two because everything I do in terms of my design links directly back to my work as a radiographer. I’m very scientifically minded and I think what I do looks more at the technology side of science. From technique to materials to imagery it all goes full circle. All the artwork, the shapes the way I cut it all relates to it. It’s different because it’s not purely aesthetic and I really like to think about function. When I design I think about how it’s going to be cut and put together even down to which seams I’m going to use which is why I thought about becoming a tailor.  Stay tuned for the second installment…

Categories ,Brooke Roberts, ,Central St Martins, ,Daphne Guinness, ,Designer Spotlight, ,Giles Deacon, ,Jens Laugesen, ,London College of Fashion, ,Louise Goldin

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