To celebrate our third Barbour By ALEXACHUNG collection, which features a treasure trove of country-inspired garments including waxed jackets, quilts and more, we’re getting to know Illustrator Fee Greening, and Fashion Director/Stylist Martha Ward.
The pair are letting us into their lives for a day to share where they get their inspiration, what they love most about the countryside while showing us how they style the AW20 collection.
What would a typical day involve for you?
Fee: I sleep with the windows wide open here, so I wake up with the sunlight and the breeze. I get up early put a coat over my pyjamas and wander about the garden with a coffee. It is so peaceful here; we are surrounded by trees.
I spend the mornings drawing for other people, commissions, and collaborations and then I go for a wander in the woods at lunchtime and when I come back, I just draw for myself. If we aren’t working late my boyfriend and I will walk over to the pub to meet friends for a beer. It’s quite the adventure walking back through the woods in the dark.
Martha: Being freelance, no two days are ever really the same so I don’t really have a typical day but let’s imagine it’s a Friday after a shoot - I will do a long morning of emails and returns and then whizz down to Portobello market to see what vintage wares & treasures I might be able to scoop up. I’ll then head to the countryside as one night out of town is never really enough, so I always try and escape on a Friday evening if possible. Waking up in the country on a Saturday is something I yearn for all week long.
What is your favourite memory of the place you grew up?
Fee: I grew up on the coast in Devon. My favourite thing to do would be to go up to the clifftop, sit amongst the heather, listen to the bands I loved on my headphones and watch a storm come in from the horizon. I was a very misunderstood and melodramatic teenager totally desperate to leave Devon and go to art school in London.
Martha: My favourite Northumberland memories are wet and windy walks - the whole family in our Barbours - up and down the valleys and hills that surround us there. And then coming home cold and drenched and drying our Barbours in the airing cupboard whilst drying ourselves in front of a fire.
Do you find that returning home gives you a fresh outlook on life?
Fee: When I return home I always feel more in touch with that teenage self and crave more romance in my life, fewer emails more brooding walks on the moor with my favourite record on full blast.
Which do you prefer and why, the country or the city?
Fee: I love the country and the city; I get different energy from both environments. In London, I feel excited to be part of something, to be able to visit my favourite galleries, meet up with friends go to openings and learn from what other people are doing. But right now, I’m craving a more poetic chapter without distractions to focus on my work. Being surrounded by so much nature makes me immediately feel calmer and I know that's better for my drawing.
Martha: I couldn’t possibly choose! I love the ease and low keyness of country style and yet the prospect of dress up for the city is always a thrill.
What do you love most about the countryside?
Martha: I love the need to layer up in the country. Pile on the jumpers, shirts, cardigans, with key accessories like a neckerchief, cashmere socks and giant blanket scarves. And always an old Barbour to stomp out in the rain.
What style lessons do you think you can learn from being in the city?
Martha: London style and country style are ever merging. Country attire like houndstooth jackets, trench coats, Barbours, herringbone trousers and fair isle knits have very much become a look for the city over the past few years, and I love that.
What style lessons do you think you can learn from being in the country?
Fee: In London, I’m a little nervous about trying out more adventurous looks. I guess I’m shy about making a mistake. But as I barely see anyone in the country, just my boyfriend and visiting friends, the way I dress has begun to get quite eccentric. I wear patterns that clash, massive straw hats, woolly socks, and sandals.
Which is your favourite jacket from the Barbour By ALEXACHUNG AW20 collection?
Fee: My favourite piece is the Trudie Wax Coat. I could march across a hilltop in a storm, but the tailored cut means I would happily pair it with a black roll neck on a rainy day in London. I love the mini shoulder cape and the belt to cinch in my waist but also to hang lose if I want to wear it open.
Martha: Having been given my first Barbour when I was 10, I still have an extreme fondness for a classic navy Barbour, so I’d probably say the navy Violet Wax. I love the evolution of this jacket – Alexa’s touches like the hood and the toggles. It reminds me even more of being a child. The belted quilted Martha coat is probably an essential too, and not just for the name!
As well as the toggles and hoods, my other favourite details are the criss-cross shoelace effect and also the pouch on the Pippa jacket.
What do you think makes this collection perfect for the autumn/winter season?
Martha: I think the ability to layer all these pieces up is key. Whether it be the long Glenda trench or a short classic wax jacket. And the colour palette of this collection is also ideal for autumn-winter – burnt orange, moss green, monk’s robe brown, with the distinct Barbour tartan linings too.
What is your earliest memory of Barbour?
Fee: I find the smell incredibly nostalgic; it instantly takes me back to hanging it on the peg with my name on at primary school and filling the button up pockets with conkers.
Martha: I was bought a navy Barbour when I was 10 and I wore it for about 20 years and I think that’s where my love for a shrunken jacket and cropped sleeves came from, as I very much grew out of that Barbour yet continued to wear it for years. Barbours get better and better with age. My mum has had hers for over 40 years and everyone lusts after it as it’s so beautifully worn in. The longevity of a Barbour outstrips anything else I’ve ever owned!