In conversation with Hannah Blurton: Founder of Blooming Dreamer
Where did you grow up and what kind of education did you have?
I grew up in the countryside which was very freeing and impossible to ignore nature. I went to art school at 19 and then went onto study Fashion and Textiles at university.
Tell us about your career path?
After I finished my degree I interned with Milena Silvano whose work and process has always inspired me. I worked for a variety of fashion brands in London, and then freelanced as a stylist and set designer. I set up Blooming Dreamer in 2015.
What is the idea behind Blooming Dreamer and how did you find the name for the label?
It just happened organically, I have always loved sourcing things on my travels and people started coming up to me more and more asking about what i was wearing and where it was from, then I thought, maybe I could make a living out of it.
I have always had an eye for beautifully crafted items with a sense of them living a nomadic life. I think about and do things in my own way, so setting up my own business just works for me. I live in my own little world most of the time, hence everyone close to me has always called me a dreamer. You will also find me at the flower market most Sundays so it just worked.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
My inspirations come from all over the place. Markets and vintage finds. Books and magazines, my favourite is Mirage and photographer Henrik Purienne.
Music, I’m constantly playing Emmylou Harris and Joan Baez in the studio at the moment. 70´s French films, galleries, architecture and I’m constantly scrolling through Pinterest. But mainly I’d say it’s the places where I travel to and the interesting people I meet along the way. Recently I have been drawn to the colours of my recent trip to Morocco and the contrasting textures and playing around with that.
I suppose currently it would be hard not to say Jane Birkin, our Portuguese fishing basket that Jane famously carried around with her everywhere in the 60´s / 70´s has been so popular, it’s crazy. I work with local weavers in the Algarve who weave all our baskets by hand. It’s really important to me to work with artisans and to know where our products are made. Inspiring women who create an authentic atmosphere is what we are about. Independant, effortless and a bit of a dreamer. Our muse In the words of Neil young;
‘I am just a dreamer but you are just a dream, you could have been anyone to me.’
Can you talk us through the design process?
I honestly just want to design things that I want to wear and can’t find. It took me two years to find a source for our Birkin basket, you don’t know how long I have wanted one of those for myself. I’m obsessed with vintage items and take them as inspiration and then change and adapt them to make them work for now. I like to always create a story and set a mood for our look-books and collections so you really get a sense of the world we want you to be in. It’s important to always know where all our products are made and manufactured. Im currently working closely with small and local manufactures here in London so we know everything is ethically made. I try to focus on the longevity of handmade items over mass produced ones. It’s scary to think of all the disposable stuff people are consuming.
In your opinion, what are the challenges of establishing oneself in London’s creative industry?
You come across challenges everyday and most of the time you question what you are doing or how you can make a living from it. London is such a competitive city to live in and half the time I’m not sure it’s for me, I think I’m half English countryside and half California dreamer. I'm lucky to be surrounded by really talented people, especially the women around me. It´s great that we are all willing to help each other out creatively; I think it’s really important. It’s so exciting when you get to share the same creative vision with people and who just get you.
What is your advice for someone who wants to found their own business?
I think everyone has the power to achieve whatever they set their mind to. You have to be really determined and be willing to expect lots of drawbacks but if you have a clear vision then you will make it work. If you put the work in, it will eventually pay off.
What are your plans for the future of the brand?
Well at the moment we are just about to launch a very small T-shirt collection and adapting our Birkin basket. I am also working with our weavers on our own basket designs. It´s evolving and growing constantly, and I’m working towards our own clothing collection.
Blooming dreamer is a brand for modern nomads; can you name some of your favourite travel destinations?
Morocco is my magical place it’s where I’d like to live one day. The colours, the smells, the textiles – I can’t describe it, it’s where i feel most happy. I bought a couple of books on Yves Saint Laurent whilst I was out there recently, how I’d have longed to have been in Morocco during that time, it seemed so hedonistic. I’m growing my mint bowl collection, every time I visit I have to buy some. Each bowl is hand dyed with mint leaves it gives me so much pleasure to eat my breakfast out of them every morning. I was staying with a Danish couple in their beautiful riad last time I visited and they would light candles and listen to classical music at breakfast and sit outside to have it in their courtyard every morning. I just thought, this is what it’s all about.
Which songs would we find on your playlist for the ultimate road trip?
Cat Power – Sea of love
Joni Mitchell – California
Nouvelle Vague -In a manner of speaking
Lou Reed – Charley’s girl
Tommy James & The Shondells – Crimson and clover
Arlo Guthrie – The city of new Orleans
Credits: Courtesy of Blooming Dreamer, Photography by Alice Fisher