Wythe Bea is a new womenswear label that I first discovered on Instagram. Being unable to resist dreamy seaside settings and pastel colours, I just hoped they were ready for my barrage of ‘likes’.
Formed by Sarah and Matthew Tomkins, who recently moved from London to Margate (that old chestnut), they describe their label as a 'creative outlet' that combines the pair’s interests in design, music and textiles. They have just launched their first collection, which they say is influenced by late 80’s American advertising.
These influences have transpired into charming feminine outfits that look right at home in seaside spots. While the cute and youthful look is there, the choice of fabrics Wythe Bea work with create mature and sophisticated garments. The short skirts and matching pieces echo the styles of my favourite decade, the sixties. But they are brought up to date and have a cool, contemporary and fresh appeal – surely the perfect combination? Sarah and Matt say that wool, cashmere and sheepskin outerwear will be a recurring theme in their collections.
I’ve seen so many fashion photoshoots that have been done around Thanet, but this one seemed particularly interesting to me; you can tell that the designs are coming from an interesting place with inspired concepts - the pieces are impactful and timeless. As a photographer, it was the way in which Wythe Bea convey their clothing through unconventional compositions that really caught my attention.
Yes, they’re taking on the seaside setting, but it’s not just because it’s sweet and retro. Their lookbook has created a sense of the Thanet coastal lifestyle and I think the designers have been very perceptive in their choice of locations. Places like Palm Bay (even the name of that place brings me joy) being focused on is refreshing – it's an amazing place for photos that doesn’t get much attention with all the girly fashion brands forever seeking multi-coloured beach huts.
Morelli's is my favourite place in the whole of Broadstairs, so it’s particularly great to see this as a backdrop for Wythe Bea's lookbook - especially without the cringeworthy laughing-for-no-apparent-reason style of images. I refer you to women laughing alone with salad.