I'm a phannatiq! Tegan Christmas

30 Jul 2016

Tegan bakes vegan delights, sings in a band and finds the very best sartorial bargains


Why are you a phannatiq?

Because I admire labels (both in a fashion sense and an ideological one) that queer the pitch, as it were, of what is normal, what is prescribed; what we "should". Clothing is an essential part of expressing who we are, and phannatiq helps that along beautifully, in my case.


Shopping as ethically also matters to me, and Phannatiq is a brand that means there's no extra checking needed. For example, when I became vegan I thought I'd have to do without silk forever, then I discovered bamboo silk. It's even more beautiful than real silk because nobody gets hurt in its making!


Describe your style

An eclectic mix of car boot and charity shop finds with the odd designer statement piece. I like loud patterns mixed with black on black, I like colour worn how it shouldn't be. Vintage and modern together, tights worn as hairpieces. If you shouldn't do it, I probably will.


The city, because…

If you can't here, then you just can't. People don't look twice here at my hair, or my style, and I love it. True freedom of expression! I don't have to travel far out of London for people to stare at either my hair, or my size, or my style, or a combination of all of them. In the city, everything is allowed and accepted. That's both brilliant and beautiful.


How did you become you?

I loved the raw, real sound of Riot Grrrrl bands. It sounded exactly like some girls with not much skill recording themselves on a boom box in a garage - because it was. That made me realise that I could do things, too. After that dawned on me, the sky was very much the limit.


What's your biggest passion? And your worst vice?

My biggest passion is still music. It's what makes me tick. There's nothing quite like discovering a new band that gives you chills. Worst vice? These days, it's overindulgence of cake. My own cake. I'm a full-time baker, so I'm constantly testing what I bake. I never get tired of it. I'm still always ready for just one more slice. Rock 'n' roll all the way, me!


Tell us about your favourite object

It's currently a bright mustard yellow hand knitted jumper with a couple of holes in it. I found it in a box at a car boot sale, and as I pulled it out, the man selling it laughed at how ridiculous he thought it was. For me, it was love at first sight. I asked if I could just have it, rather than pay for it, and he said "my pleasure, it's too ugly to clean my car with" but I think it's beautiful. I love car boots. They're the best place for a rummage and a friendly haggle, and you never know what you'll find!


When I play, I…

...lose track of time. Play for me means music, and I enjoy practising with my band, a lot. We rehearse and write for about three hours a week, but once I'm in the zone, three hours feels like about 20 minutes. I love it, it's the ultimate therapy.


Tell us a secret…

I spend more time talking to my dog than is probably normal. She's just such good company though, and I'm really quite sure she understands what I'm saying to her!


Where are you now? What are you doing next?

Our next gigs are at the Fiddler's Elbow in Camden on the 18th of August and The Montague Arms in New Cross on the 20th of August


Follow Tegan's vegan bakery at and her music at


Photography left to right: Stephen Berkeley-White, Keira Anee

A phannatiq Evening

15 Jul 2016

phannatiq held a Press Launch and Private Sale at the cosy WeWork Spitalfields. The modern, collaborative space with its city views was a fitting place to showcase our new collection, alongside Imogen Belfield’s unique jewellry designs and everyone’s favourite Sportluxe brand Charli Cohen.


A free bar was provided courtesy of Walthamstow’s legendary Wild Card Brewery whose delicious beer contributed to the friendly atmosphere, along with the relentless hypnotic beats from Joseph Hammond another gifted E17 resident. It meant a lot to us to be supported by so much local talent.


WeWork soon filled up nicely with colourful characters and familiar faces, all of whom had come to see what phannatiq designer Anna Skodbo had pulled out of the bag this time!


As the night went on, there were many happy shoppers full of free beer and the Darkwave meanderings of Ray Noir’s DJ set. The venue made a perfect backdrop for the event, and everyone who attended made the evening a real success.

I'm a phannatiq! Julie McKee

30 Jun 2016

Singer-songwriter Julie has a passion for piano, performing and… pastries?


Why are you a phannatiq?

It's edgy and punky but also chic. I like that it's gritty and classy and crosses fashion genres.


Describe your style

Urban and contemporary but with a fleck of the sixties. I'm inspired by style icons such as Jean Seberg.


The city, because…

It has everything I like: culture, music, theatre, style and beautiful parks. To me, it has the feeling of possibility. There's always something interesting going on. I also love that you meet people from all over the world, who bring their own perspective and add a lot to the mix.


What's your biggest passion? And your worst vice?

My biggest passion is for sharing an idea, often through a song or a piece of writing, in the hope that it makes a connection. My worst vice is indecision… or is it my sweet tooth?! I'm a sucker for cakes, pastries and the like.


Tell us about your favourite object

It has to be my piano. I chose it when I was about 14. Before that, I'd learned to play on an ancient second-hand piano with candlestick holders! This one has been through many musical journeys with me, from going through the rest of my Grade exams as a teenager, through boyfriend break-ups and moving to London, to writing all the songs from my two albums on it. It's also been moved up five flights of stairs to an attic flat (those poor removals men…), back down again to a small rented house and then to the home I now live in. I don't intend to put it through any more moves if I can help it!


What do you want to be remembered for?

As somebody with integrity, who pursued her creative ideals and gave a lot of enjoyment through them. Also as somebody who found a way to tell people's stories in an interesting way.


What's your signature movement?

Apparently, when I laugh at something really funny, I open my mouth so wide you can see my tonsils.


Where are you now? What are you doing next?

I recently released an album of original songs called Light on the Ledge. I'm on piano and vocals, backed by a string quartet, double bass and sax. Most of the songs are story-based and I'm really pleased with it. The strings give it a cinematic feel. I've been gigging that and writing new songs too, to add to the mix and for the next album. There is a lot of inspiration, given what's going on in the UK at the moment!


Find Julie's music at

Follow her on Twitter @JulieMcKeeMusic

Follow her on Facebook /juliemckeemusic


I'm a phannatiq! Alison Lowe

24 May 2016

From country and western backing singer to fashion publicist, Alison's always been led by her passions


Why are you a phannatiq?

Because I love strong design, wearable clothes that are bold and playful.


Describe your style

In any day I can be darting from high-power meetings to shop visits to studio visits, so my style is balanced around this. It's eclectic, oversize, comfortable… but hopefully stylish!


The city, because…

It is vibrant, multi cultural and home!


How did you become you?

I never had a set path, I have always been driven to do things that excite me and that I feel passionate about. Everything from being an actress to touring as a backing singer with the country music greats, from running an international courier business to teaching creative entrepreneurship.


What's your biggest passion? And your worst vice?

My biggest passion is helping businesses develop and succeed. My worst vice is that I'm easily bored.


Tell us about your favourite object

I have so many favourite objects, from my lucky pewter Viking ornament to my new iPad, from my waving Buddha to my new phannatiq skirt! I only have things in my life that I feel passionate about.


What do you want to be remembered for?

Gosh that’s a hard one – I hope that people will remember me for being honest, generous and giving back.


What's been your most outrageous/extravagant purchase? And best bargain?

The most expensive thing I have had is two daughters! They have been outrageously expensive over the past 20 years!!! But also my best bargain as they bring the most incredible value to my life every day.


Where are you now? What are you doing next?

I really love running Felicities and supporting emerging fashion brands. The next step is to launch my new website Start Your Own Fashion Label, with a broad range of resources including handouts and podcasts for designers.


See Alison's work at

I'm a phannatiq! Linda Stratmann, Author

18 Apr 2016


Linda writes novels, true crime books and biographies. She calls her personal style 'grey goth'


Phannatiq is…

Bold, eye-catching, challenging, utterly timeless, ethical, fun yet deliciously comfortable to wear.


Why are you a phannatiq?

I was captivated by the fearless originality of phannatiq garments at my very first look. When I actually handled the clothes for the first time, I was amazed by the beautiful quality of the fabric. They don't just look good, they feel good too.


Describe your style

I'm developing my own style, which I call 'grey goth'. The clothes are black, white and grey with one other colour, and the silhouette is skinny with the addition of fluid elements. I have also been experimenting with matching phannatiq with more conventional clothes in a subtle way.


How did you become you?

At 67 I am the sum of all the things I have done. I have spent many years searching for what I wanted to do, how I should live my daily life, and explored a lot of wrong turnings, but the place I'm in now is a good one.


I began writing when I was six, but the reality of being a published author was a long time coming. I tried different styles and genres, now I'm happy and comfortable with what I do.


Tell us about your favourite object

People mean more to me than things. Just recently, after I broke my arm in an accident, my husband has had to help me wash, which means removing my wedding ring then replacing it. Having him put the ring on my finger as he did on our wedding day has a lot of meaning for both of us.


What do you want to be remembered for?

I would like to be remembered as someone who lived an interesting life, had many good friends and wrote some books that gave people pleasure.


Your most outrageous/extravagant purchase? And best bargain?

I'm a born bargain-hunter, so I have many wonderful things, which I have snapped up over the years. My most expensive garment hasn't been purchased yet but there is a phannatiq dress I have my eye on!


Where are you now? What are you doing next?

I am currently correcting the page proofs of Death in Bayswater, the sixth book featuring Frances Doughty the Victorian lady detective, and writing the Royal Ghost, the second book about Mina Scarletti a lady who exposes fraudulent spirit mediums. My next project in the New Year will be writing Frances Doughty book seven.


Read about Linda's books at


I'm a phannatiq! Oscar Alexander

17 Mar 2016

Our hair and makeup artist Oscar loves a bargain but he doesn't half hiccup.


Why are you a phannatiq?

Because I'm a sucker for quality and I love the designs.


Describe your style

Black. ALL BLACK. Well, most of the time. Apart from that it does change a little, constantly, from more sporty to basic jeans and tee to more dressed up.


How did you become you?

I don’t think I ever did. I’ve always known I was going to do something creative, but apart from that I have just formed in to me and will keep on moulding to the future me, who ever that might be.


What's your biggest passion?

Tough one. I have a lot of passions, but I think happiness and love are my biggest ones, as cheesy as it sounds!


Tell us about your favourite object

My favourite piece of clothing tends to change, but at the moment it’s an oversized neoprene hoodie and a cape/poncho/hoodie/jacket by phannatiq. Both black obvs.


What do you want to be remembered for?

Gosh. Doing something good for this world? I’ve never thought about this to be honest!


What's your signature movement?

Hiccups, I have these weird hiccups.


What's been your best bargain?

I love a bargain, so there are a few. I think the best was from a sample sale. I got a coat and a sweater for £30, which normally would have been something like £600.


When I play, I…

I don’t play sports. I used to play the piano. Tried the guitar. And now I play Candy Crush, ha!


Find out more about Oscar at


Follow him on Twitter @OscarAlexanderL


Photos by Stephen Berkeley-White

I'm a phannatiq! Stella Creasy MP

17 Feb 2016

Stella, Labour and Co-operative MP for Walthamstow, talks about her two passions: politics and music


Tell us about wearing phannatiq to the Elle Style Awards.

It was like walking into a Bond film. Flash bulbs going off. Someone actually had to teach me how to pose for the photos. It was fun but I felt I couldn't move for fear I'd get noticed and thrown out for not being cool enough! Which is why it was so good to wear phannatiq. I wore phannatiq because it's from Walthamstow but also because I knew it looked good.

I don't have a great fashion sense but I have a huge appreciation for good fashion and for the skill that goes into it. It was lovely wearing phannatiq and knowing it would be beautifully cut. That makes a difference to how you look and feel. In an environment where everybody else was at least three sizes smaller than me, I felt I could at least stand my ground.


How much do clothes matter to you?

I have to think about what I look like. I think that goes for women generally, not just MPs. It's endemic. One of the most bizarre experiences I had in parliament was a debate because a male MP complained about women wearing jeans in the chamber. There's a dress code for men – they have to wear a tie – but there isn't a dress code for women.


I don't want people to focus on what I'm wearing, I want them to focus on what I'm doing. So I strike the balance of not being confined – I find wearing a suit confining, I'm not a conformist and I'm not about to start now – and not being distracting. I think women struggle with that across society. And if you want to champion equality sometimes you have to push it yourself.


Because of my job I don't get out as much as I used to. As a woman about to hit 40 I think it's an age when people are very judgemental about what you can and can't wear, and then I'm in a job where people are judgemental as well. Me and my mates have a Topshop rule: if you can walk into Topshop and find five things you could wear that are not accessories then you can go back. Otherwise it's time to move on!


You describe yourself as an "indie MP" – what does that mean?

I was a teenager in the 90s obsessed with indie music. I made multiple bad fashion choices. My brother used to take the mick out of me for wearing blue lipstick, he said it looked like I'd been kissing fridges!


I went a bit goth then indie: DMs, stripy tights. I wanted to look like everyone in my scene. There weren't that many female role models. Wendy James from Transvision Vamp – I guess that's why I still cut my hair this way now. And the lead singers of The Darling Buds and The Primitives. But I was influenced by indie culture generally, so I was wearing the men's lumberjack shirts as well as the flowery dresses. To say it looked a mess would be an understatement!


What's your signature movement?

Staring at my feet and shuffling, on the dancefloor. That was me clubbing at Fabulous Freddy's Freakshow at the Colchester Arms and it's still there.


Do I shoegaze in parliament?! It takes a reasonable amount to get me onto the dance floor but then when I'm there I think I have to commit. The same is true as an MP. When I do spend time in the chamber – and the chamber is only a very small part of being an MP – then I think if you're there you have to commit to it. But it would be a bit weird if I got up and started throwing gladioli!

What's your biggest passion? And your worst vice?

Both are probably music. And I still, six years into being an MP, want to change the world. That passion for change hasn't gone away. People call me a moderate but I'm a radical. My vice, if it's not being snobbish about music, is impatience with things moving too slowly.


I learned the hard way. I was a community campaigner as a kid. I helped run the Baby Milk Action campaign at school. I persuaded them to take all the Nestlé products out of the vending machine but it only lasted one day because there was nothing to replace them! I lost the support of people in the school because I hadn't thought of the next step. That was a life lesson.


What do you want to be remembered for?

Giving a shit! I expect to fail at lots of things. That's part of trying to do things differently. But I hope nobody would doubt my genuine commitment to trying to get it right. And also… being completely right about music. Unassailably right!


Read about Stella's work at

Follow her on Twitter @stellacreasy

I'm a phannatiq! Sherene Banner

12 Jan 2016

Yoga teacher Sherene always sports secret Lycra under her mishmash of vintage, prints and tribal.


Phannatiq is…

Cross town style ‑ bold, distressed and classic; ethical and playful; disruptive and seductive…


Why are you a phannatiq?

Love the shapes, love the prints and the fabrics. I need clothes I can move in so it's great that the collection is wearable but still has an interesting play in the shapes and prints to make them stand out.

Describe your style

Chic bag-lady traveller. Mixing up my passion for vintage, prints and tribal… but with Lycra underneath for work ;-)


The city, because…

Where else can you find people and food from all nations in one place? The Big Smoke seems vast but when you have an interest you keep bumping into the same people. There's a strong sense of community – it's just being open and knowing where to look for it.


How did you become you?

I've always had a confidence in myself and knowing who I am, that's what happens when you're the only Chinese girl in a Norfolk school. I didn't really get bullied because names like "Coco" (as in the girl from Fame) didn't affect me. I knew I wasn't black and that they were just dumb/ignorant.


I was always interested in art and dressing up as a child, so not much has changed. I studied art, had my degree in fashion and worked in the industry for over 14 years but I always balanced it with "me" time. First tai chi and then yoga.


I wanted to deepen my yoga practice with a course and then ended up teaching so many classes that it seemed sensible to quit the day job. I love studying. I'm fascinated by movement, so the yoga has lead to massage and other forms of body work and I'm sure there will not be a point where I can put my hands up and say "I'm done".


What's your biggest passion? And your worst vice?

Biggest passion is food which is also my worse vice. Now and again junk food is needed.


Tell us about your favourite object

My jade necklace that I wear and never take off. It's old and has unusual links as they have different cuts on them, the jade pendant was my grandma's. Jade is also supposed to bring you good luck.

What's your signature movement?

My signature dance move is the "towel dance". I even lost half a tooth from it but that's another story....


Where are you now? What are you doing next?

I'm still in Walthamstow doing local things and cycling around London. I recently added to my massage therapy qualification with advanced deep tissue and trigger point techniques. Next year I will also be teaching a mums and baby yoga class.


Find Sherene's yoga and massage schedule at

Follow her on Twitter @BeaninStow


Photo by David Elms

14 Dec 2015

I'm a phannatiq! Lauren Kay

London-based makeup artist and sweet-thief, Lauren has been working with us for the last four seasons.


Why are you a phannatiq?

I love to wear this brand and will carry on supporting it as I adore the style of the clothes, the message of individualism and the effort that goes into every piece to make them as sustainable and ethical as possible.


How did you become you?

I think the earliest step in becoming 'me' was having my daughter at 20. She brought the important things in life into perspective.

In my late 20s to 30s I began tailoring what I do. I've always had a love for fashion but many parts of the fashion industry I worked in didn't sit right for me.

I have a 13 year old daughter and a 6 year old step daughter and a lot of areas, to me, gave out unhealthy messages especially surrounding women. My work now has a message: that make up is an amazing form of self expression. I champion body confidence, inner beauty and ethical products.


What's your biggest passion? And your worst vice?

My biggest passion is art, my worst vice is eating sweets. I sniff out and eat any sweets left in my home. I ate some chocolate at breakfast. I'm not proud.


Describe your style

I spend my days darting around London with a heavy makeup case and a backpack, so my day-to-day style is extremely comfortable but with statement detail.

Working in fashion means I don't have to wear anything formal and can be a lot more expressive thankfully, so I wear a lot of loose and stretchy fabrics. I love the Phannatiq Bamboo fabric.


The city, because…

It's diverse and alive!


What's been your most outrageous/extravagant purchase? And best bargain?

I don't make really outrageous purchases. I'm constantly wearing a fabulous, gold, vintage Valentino head band at the moment. It cost me about £10. It looks amazing, feeds my magpie need for sparkly things and keeps my ears warm!


Where are you now? What are you doing next?

One of my next projects is beauty lessons for teens. It's such a crucial age, it can be a time of insecurity. I want to teach them about the smoke and mirrors in fashion and advertising so they can see through unrealistic beauty standards. To empower each other and see the beauty in others without questioning their own.


See Lauren's work at


Follow her on Instagram

Beautiful photographs by Yolanda Yiou. See more of her work here at


I'm a phannatiq! Anna Skodbo

28 Oct 2015

Anna Skodbo is the fashion and textiles designer behind phannatiq. Her life is as eclectic as her style: bold, passionate and never ever boring.


When Anna isn't in her design studio, she may be found lecturing at universities or making music. Growing up in Edinburgh among creative communities and educated within the Steiner school system, she was never short of encouragement to develop self-expression. Throughout her life she has played music wherever she has called home: in Norway as a cellist in a black metal band and, more recently, in London singing and playing the harp.

"I love traditional folk music. It gives you such a feel of the soul of a culture. My favourite are Hebridean, Scottish and Irish, which is what I mostly play, although there can sometimes be a sneaky Dolly Parton."


Anna studied costume design and theatre make-up and worked freelance in Norway before moving back to Britain to do a degree in fashion. She launched phannatiq during London Fashion Week AW11 and has since presented collections each season in London and Paris.


Her textile prints are inspired by urban industrial decay, focussing on day-to-day life in east London where she now lives and works. A recent print design draws on images of fly tipping on the streets around her Walthamstow studio, although you’d be hard pressed to catch this detail at first glance. Anna's clothing for phannatiq continues to cut a playful marriage between flattering body-draping and sassy anti-fit while maintaining high ethical standards throughout the manufacturing process


"I make clothes that can be styled up or down and can be worn by anyone of any size, age and gender. I try to make my clothes unisex and, where possible, avoid traditional sizing, so people can decide how fitted or baggy they want a garment based on their style. For example, we have tops where one size looks great on anyone from a size 6 to a size 20."


Follow Anna on Twitter


Read The Arts Desk's interview with Anna


Beautiful photographs by Rachel Manns. See more of her work here at

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