A colourful fashion blog supporting independents & sustainable fashion in Bristol and beyond since 2011

Sunday, 24 May 2020

I am R bring a '90s twist to African print accessories

Creating sassy colourful handmade accessories in bold African printed fabrics, I am R are making waves in the independent fashion community!

I can't deny that I may be on more than acquaintance terms with I am R designer, Rachael Liddle but there's nothing better than bigging up an independent brand when it belongs to one of your besties, especially when they are creating a product that's inspired by big, bold colourful prints - all No Debutante faves!

I caught up with my girl, Rachael with a Q&A about her accessories brand whilst decorating myself up in I am R‘s colourful, printed delights! 

Circle studs (love this colour combo) £10 by I am R

An Interview with I am R

What is included in the I am R range? 

I use African fabrics to create handmade accessories. I'm inspired by colour, bold graphic print and 90’s street culture. It started with earrings, and then moved to scarves, headbands, turbans and scrunchies.

I have a big basket full a fabric scraps and wanted to make sure I am using everything, so it just evolved from wanting to have a more extensive product range and having as little waste as possible. I’m trying to be sustainable and also only use fully compostable mailing bags too. 

Where are you based?

I have a small set up based in Enfield in North London.

Big & bold studs by I am R £10

Where do you get your fabrics?

I get most of my fabrics from a local market stall/shop that specialises in African print fabrics. I also have a friend from Ghana who also brings me a fabric haul back whenever she goes home!

What inspired you to start I am R?

I come from a graphic design background and have always loved being creative but had let it all slide for years, to be a grown up, with a day job and kids. 

I bought a pair of earrings one day and thought…I can make these. That’s where it all started really.

I have always loved African fabrics for their colours and geometry and I love prints.  I already had some African Kente fabric at home, so I just made a pair of earrings.  

I really enjoyed the process from concept to product. It started as a much-needed hobby and started to slowly turn into something that people liked and wanted to buy.

Polko dot monochrome hoops £12

When did you launch I am R?

Ha! I have had a year of soft launching! I started selling at a small local festival and did well.  That’s when I began to have confidence in what I was doing.  That was in July 2019.  I only have an Instagram page at the moment and I’m currently setting up a website.

Where can we buy I am R?

You can buy on instagram.  If anyone see’s anything they like they can DM me! I also do market stalls now and then in London.

Bright geometric hoops £12

How much are the I am R accessories?  

My products range in price from £4 for a scrunchie to earrings starting at £6. The turbans are £12 and headbands start at £15, the fleece lined scarves are £30. 

What is next for I am R?

I am currently working on some new earring designs and new products to add to my range.

African print earrings by I am R £10

How has lockdown affected your business?

Lockdown has affected me both negative and positive.  I have found it almost essential, that once the kids are sorted with school work, snacks and lunch, that I go into my workshop and start creating!

I have managed to make loads more than I normally would and I don’t feel guilty for having that time.  I love it, Missy Elliot ‘she’s a bitch’ full blast, that’s my - let’s get this done - jam at the moment. Ha!

Negatively, it’s harder to get some elements that I need in order to make things.  Suppliers are closed, supplying NHS with PPE as a priority (quite rightly so) or just long delays for orders.  This is something that is out of my control, so it’s fine.

What makes I am R unique?

All items are unique one of a kind, hand signed with a logo.  I don’t use many repeated patterns and colours, so once my two yards is used up, I will order a different fabric. 

The print turnover is quite frequent, so if you like it...get it!

Bold and bright I am R scarves £30 each

Super cute stud earrings £8

Thanks to Rachael for the I am R chats! Just as we were about to publish this post another bag of I am R goodies* arrived at the No Debutante headquarters!

This time full of headwear delights from scrunchies, headbands and turbans all handmade in those beautiful African fabrics. Lock in for photo shoot number two featuring lil' Sylvie (my hair certainly is not long enough for scrunchies!). 

Scrunchy love £4 and £4.50 for the scrunchie tie
Clashing up the I am R knotted headbands £15 each

I am R headwear is great for kids too! 

I am R Turbans (perfect for bad hair days & lockdown chic) £12 each. 
More is more in I am R scrunchies and headband!

Thank you I am R xxx

*All items were gifted by I am R. 

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