If you’re on Instagram, then you are bound to have seen the ‘It’ tops of the season worn by super-stylish Insta-queens such as @DoesmyBumlook40? – amazing wine-inspired t-shirts and sweatshirts by Rae Adam of FWP by Rae. Not only are the logos brilliant, the cut and feel of the organic cotton tops are fantastic. Having met the lovely Rae, I can vouch for how stylish she is and having fallen in love with her brand, wanted to know more about her style and her exciting new designs…
Please can you tell me a bit about FWP By Rae. Why and when did you start making your amazing tees and sweatshirts?
I co-own a wine business (the French Wine Project) with my husband, and even though I love everything about wine, I was becoming an accountant of sorts, and felt if I was going to be my own boss I needed to make my role more enjoyable otherwise what’s the point of having your own business! I worked in media for over 20 years, and I’ve always been a huge lover of fashion, so I decided to put my experience and passion to the test. I’m always on the lookout for the perfect Tee and sweatshirt and I love a slogan top, but I wanted to be clever with the wording, and finding quality items was extremely important. It took me a long time to find a supplier I loved, then I enrolled myself on a printing course to understand the process, and started on the first designs.
What do you think makes the tops special? I think the fabric is amazingly soft and I just love the logos…
Thank you! I think finding the right style and fabric is key. I don’t have the luxury of being able to afford expensive items anymore, but I also find it depressing when something shrinks in the wash or bobbles after wearing it just once or twice, whatever the price. I test run blank garments before I print on them. When coming up with a slogan or design I like to think that the wording has other meanings outside of wine (except for ROSÉ, which is just pure fun). BON VINTAGE came about because there are so many years being printed on tees and sweats with of course Bella Freud leading the way with her brilliant 1970 line (which by the way, I should have as I was born in 1970)! Bon Vintage literally means ‘good year’, so it covers everyone. Font type is also key, I can’t even begin to tell you how long it took me to find what I considered the best font for what I wanted to do. I will deviate now and again for special occasions like Christmas, but I like consistency.
I also think very carefully about colour pallets. My poor printer had a terrible time with me getting the red for the Premier Cru exactly how I wanted it (too dark/pink/orange etc). I think the poor man hates me now – ha ha.
I love the way the tops to be dressed up and dressed down – how would you style your new Sparkling top for – whisper it – the Christmas season?
I’m a massive fan of Christmas, and the build up for me is the best bit. I wanted to do something that could transcend from day to night without much thought. I practically live in jeans, but I’m also a fan of the black coated jean/leggings, and love the way that the sweaters add a bit of casual sparkle, almost like they’re not trying too hard. I also love that because they are a simple sweater, you can just scrunch up the sleeve and add the likes of a sequin skirt and you have a whole different look. Let’s just say I had a lot of fun with the photoshoot – 6 weeks isn’t long enough to wear these looks!
Your tops are an Instagram hit. Who would you love to see wearing FWP By next?
Wow that’s hard as there are so many cool and lovely ladies on insta. I’m lucky and very grateful that @Doesmybumlook40 picked up on my brand which has helped me immensely (and no I didn’t know her before). I love @thefashionablepan, and nearly bought a whole outfit she was wearing, but thought that was a bit stalker-ish! I also love Pascale banks (@style_mum). If we’re talking famous people, it would have to be Fearne Cotton, Olivia Palermo and definitely Drew Barrymore as she makes her own wine – they are my main girl crushes. Although I think Zoe Ball presenting It Takes Two is the perfect model for Sparkling. (Alex’s note – I agree!)
What are your plans for next year? Do you have lots more ideas up your sleeve?
I have too many ideas! That’s my problem, trying to pace myself and get them in order. But at the same time I fight with my confidence, so I probably spend too much time over-thinking things. The sheer panic each time I release something is unbelievable! One thing I can say is that ROSÉ will be back.
How would you describe your style?
Laid back classic with a dash of current trends.
What is your go-to daily ‘uniform’?
I live in jeans. I’m so stuck in the rut but they are the best canvas for me. J Brand, Topshop and Zara do great denim. I like to team with a shirt or blouse and again Zara always manage to do great pieces as do GAP, or a slogan/graphic tee under a tailored jacket but with a heel to balance the look. I’m also partial to a jumpsuit with a white trainer.
How would you change this for meetings/smart events?
That’s what I love about a pair of jeans. A flamboyant blouse or a statement jacket and killer heel (or in my case a white trainer and heels in the bag to pull out later)!
Heels or flats?
Flats, but before I had kids it was the opposite and I was known for whizzing around Soho from meeting to meeting at break neck speed in high heels. I now have a great trainer collection of old school Nike blaze, Converse, New Balance and my new favourite Air and Grace Copelands. I have my eye on the new flutter edition. I still have a small collection of heels but mainly for special occasions.
How would you dress up your look for night out?
This is when I’d definitely break out the heels. My favourites are a pair of cone heel leopard print Lanvins. I had to practically fight for them in the Harvey Nichol sale about 10 years ago. I like to have 1 or 2 statement pieces whether it be a shoe, jacket or jewellery. I love a bit of sparkle but I’m particular about balance in an outfit so wouldn’t do head to toe. I bought a velvet kimono from hm a couple of months ago and love that you can throw it on over a simple tee and frayed jeans, add a heel and away you go.
What are the last 3 things you bought?
A pair of Rue De Femme jogger style trousers from Quattro Rich in Reigate. They are excellent for dressing up or down. A checked duster coat from Top Shop and a pair of buckle boots from ASOS. They’re the nearest style to the Givenchy boots I could find but without the price tag.
What’s on your fashion wish list?
Too many things! I’ve spotted a See by Chole black crepe jumpsuit that I just love! I have my eye on the white ruffle trainers from for Air and Grace and a buttery soft black leather A line skirt by Mads Norgaard.
Are you a jewellery girl?
I love jewellery, and I like to layer necklaces and bracelets. I buy a lot from Orelia as they always have great affordable pieces so you can buy a lot! They are also hyper allergenic so their earrings don’t hurt my sensitive ears. I love mismatched earrings and tend to stick to smaller pieces. But I do like a statement ring or bracelet, and I especially love layering bracelets. I like big watches too and currently wear a Daniel Wellington with a leather strap. For fine jewellery I go to Joy Everley just off Carnaby street (well that’s where I send the husband), but I’ve just discovered Chambers and Beau and Harry Rocks too. Could be an expensive Christmas for hubby!
Finally, what are you planning to wear this – again, whisper! – Christmas season?
Obviously I will be out and about in both of the Sparkling sweatshirts, my favourite looks are with black coated leggings from Next and with the ruffle skirt from HM. But I also have a new jumpsuit that I bought from Marie and Lola, plus the moon and stars dress from Zara that I bought in September and still haven’t worn. I will start out with a heel but will most likely end up in my trusty Copelands!