10 things you need to know about london's newest design duo rottingdean bazaar

Meet the menswear wizards from a coastal village in Sussex putting fun and creativity back into fashion.

by Tish Weinstock
06 January 2017, 3:59pm

James Theseus Buck and Luke Brook are two names you need to know. If you think you won't be able to remember them both (although, how many Theseus's do you know?) then just memorize this: Rottingdean Bazaar. It's the name of their non-brand brand, or as they see it, an umbrella term for all their fashion experiments, which at the time of typing range anywhere from tongue-in-cheek pins to balloon-covered sweaters. The pair prove that you don't need to take yourself seriously to make it in 'fashun.' Their first collection was a smorgasbord of found objects; an essay in the absurd, there were nylon tights sealed onto sweaters, t-shirts embossed with bras, hair, and hotel slippers — even flowers pressed on to t-shirts and tunics. Returning to Fashion East for their second outing, we thought it high time you got to know them.

1. They met at a bar. Well, they met at school but went to a bar after.
J&L: We met a few years ago at college, but we hadn't spend time together until we both modeled for Julie Verhoeven in one of her video pieces last year. It was called Comfort and Joy, which she made for a documentary about the book The Joy of Sex. She needed people with hairy backs. We went for a drink afterwards.

2. They have similar taste in clothes.
James: We realized after we got together that we had both been working along some similar lines. A sort of instantaneousness to make objects which can be understood on their own.

3: The chose their name for a reason.
Luke: We live and work in Rottingdean. We borrowed the ''Bazaar'' from Hampstead Bazaar. I lived in Hampstead for a bit during MA and walked past Hampstead Bazaar every day. We like how idiosyncratic it is as a shop. I think, generally speaking, we are interested in appropriation and found objects.

4. They find inspiration all around them.
Luke: I think I tend to be inspired by people who seem to have quite a maniacal approach to their work and life — maybe even a bit moralistic or religious too. Reading the autobiography of the dancer Isadora Duncan made a big impression on me when I was younger and I think about it all the time.
James: We are both drawn to things where you can see an attempt is being made, but maybe the object has failed to reach its target. I think probably because with things like that, you get a strong sense of the person making it and the tangibility of the process. We are surrounded by so many highly finished and uniform things that it's so easy to be sort of blind to them and how they came to be.

5. Unlike the rest of the world, 2016 was a very good year for them.
J&L: We got to do a shoot with David Hoyle for the most recent Man About Town. David was the subject, Lucy Alex Mac took the pictures, and we styled and art directed. There is an art club for young kids in Rottingdean and we worked with them for it too. They made masks and paper clothes and were also in some of the pictures. It was all shot in places in Rottingdean, like the village hall, the allotment, and the community center.

6. Aside from making clothes, their hobbies include:
Luke: Cleaning, cooking, going to car-boot sales, and buying reed diffusers.
James: Watching Two Fat Ladies with wine.

7: Friends describe them as:
James: Like a bald but hairy old lady.
Luke: :o

8. Whereas they describe each other as:
Luke: James is good at existing in quite an unselfconscious, quiet state. He is good at knowing when to stop, much better than me. I never want each day to end, it feels like dying to me. But he likes going to sleep.
James: Luke is very good at being pernickety, often to the point of obsessive, which is quite a gift. Especially because I'm quite lacking in that department.

9. If they could change one thing about the world it would be:
J&L: A shop that will deliver pizza to Rottingdean. We are in no man's land.

10. The have a very bright future ahead of them.
James: We want to carry on working and learning.
Luke: We talk about ideas for the future. But it seems that the ones we talk about most, often turn out not to be the most exciting or interesting when we start making them happen. So I am slowly realizing that it's maybe better for me and us not to think too much about the future. It's an easy thing to forget though. 


Text Tish Weinstock

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