(Photos via Stephanie Sian Smith)
Bombe Surprise is a London-based fashion label run by Nina Ribena, and it is currently featured at our Bazaaaaar store pop-ups. We recently spoke to Nina about the story behind her brand.
Can you give our readers a little background on yourself?
I’m Nina, and I’m from London and still live here. I did a film degree at the London College of Communication but hated it so I decided to teach myself how to sew and here I am, five years later!
Where does the name “Bombe Surprise” come from?
I spent ages trying to think of a name for my label but everything I was coming up with didn’t really work. My friend used to run a club night called Bombe Surprise and as soon as I heard the name it just made sense. I think Bombe Surprise is actually a French dessert but I take it to mean a collection of different types of weird and wonderful ideas!
How long have you been designing clothes?
I made my first outfit for myself five years ago. It was a blue catsuit with red strawberries on it. People liked what I was doing so I started a label for one-pieces called We Are All in One. As I started to get better at designing and making clothes I ventured into the world of separates and that’s when I started Bombe Surprise.
Your line can be found on Etsy. How do you think Etsy has changed fashion?
It has definitely made my designs a lot more internationally accessible. Most of my orders are from customers in the U.S. If you don’t look at fashion blogs or have your designs stocked in other shops, then I’m not sure how people would find my label without the help of Etsy!
What made you decide to start using the patterns that you do? Where did they originate? Are they traditional African patterns?
I used to work solely with jersey and stretch materials and it’s quite hard to find good patterns in those fabrics. When I found the wax fabric that I use now, I jumped on it straight away because it’s what I’d always been looking for! When I decided I wanted to make a whole collection out of it I looked into the history of it and found that the prints actually originated in Indonesia. They weren’t very popular there and were copied and imported by mostly Dutch tradesmen and shipped over to their posts in Africa where they really took off and became part of, and widely associated with, African fashion and culture. I wanted to connect that to the multicultural identity of my own background, and to how London is this great big melting pot of different cultures. There’s an artist called Yinka Shonibare that does a lot of work around the same subject.
It's all happening! Bluth banana stands are becoming a magnificent reality. The Arrested Development promotional banana stand will be popping up in London, LA, and NYC (no Philly? C'MON!), and for a mere $10, you can try your own frozen banana. (Okay, just kidding. They're like $1. But I would actually pay $10.) —Katie
Laura Marling's new album Once I Was An Eagle isn't coming out until May 27th, but in the meantime she's released this short film that is backed with the first 4 tracks from the album. It's like a really long music video, and I'm totally into it. —Katie
Simpsons Drawing Club is a collaborative blog by a handful of UK artists with a shared obsession for drawing the iconic animated family. If you consumed popular culture in the '90s, you understand the impact of Matt Groening's yellow characters, particularly on illustrators.
Kay Davis, a textiles design major at Central Saint Martins, has some serious knitting skills in addition to her rad style. With a penchant for bright colors and subjects such as candy, crayons and cupcakes, we're excited to see more of Kay Davis' knitwear in the future! —Hazel
Little Mix is the best band ever. They're actually kind of ridiculous dressers most of the time, but that's what makes them amazing. YOLO! Their penchant for Lazy Oaf won me over, as well as Perrie's ever-changing hair colors. They are like Tumblr come to life and it is delightful. —Katie
Get the look:
Bitching & Junkfood Chiffon Cecilia Dress
Bitching & Junkfood Phucket Denim Cutoff Short
Lazy Oaf Pineapple Sleeve Tee
Lazy Oaf Heart It Long-Sleeve Cropped Tee
Kimchi Blue Tie-Back Cropped Tank Top
Corner Shop Lips & Glasses Cropped Tee
Tripp NYC High-Rise Antique Stripe Jean
UNIF Cat Denim Jacket
Lush Cutout Front Floral Shift Dress
DimePiece Ain't No Wifey Beanie
Sixtyseven Petra Flatform Mary Jane
Miista Sue Platform Wedge
Water Color Hydrating Hair Color Mask
I'm no stranger to Mary Jane. In fact, she was one of my best friend in college—even though I had to pay a lot of money to hang out with her everyday. Even so, she was really fun, and we spent a lot of nights together, up late making weird faces into my Macbook Photo Booth. One thing we sucked at, however, was cooking. Instead of trying to make anything remotely edible, we'd eat wraps laced with ranch dressing, chips dipped in ketchup, and the occasional attempt at a marshmallow and Rice Crispies mix in the microwave.
Here's a new video from the awesome British band Savages, which is a welcome addition to the sparse catalog of songs they have available (as of yet, the band has only released a handful of tracks). If you like what you hear, you can catch them at Coachella this weekend (their set last weekend received great reviews), or you can just sit anxiously and wait until their full album Silence Yourself drops on May 7. —Katie
A favorite set of mine from Coachella this past weekend came from Palma Violets, who are an insanely good band from England currently making quite the name for themselves. When I got home from the festival, I saw the band had just released a brand new video for "We Found Love," (no relation to a certain Rihanna and Calvin Harris collaboration you may recall, I promise) from their debut album, 180, which came out not too long ago. These lads are loud and rowdy, yet have some much calmer, chilled out moments, which "We Found Love" is one of. They've got a bit of a surfy sound in there as well, which I, of course, cannot complain about. —Maddie
Ah, the things that you can find on the internet. The latest incredible and totally necessary thing I came across is the Camp Daybed, created by London based product designer Stephanie Hornig. A sleeping bag with legs? Yes. So much yes. How great would this be in your apartment if you're short on space? Plus, when you're done sleeping in it, it can also be your couch. I think we all need one of these. View more of Stephanie Hornig's innovative product designs here. (via Frankie Magazine) —Maddie
If Tumblr girls got together to hang out in a hotel room, it would look just like English singer Charli XCX's latest video for her cute pop love-song "What I Like." Cheesy pizza, grey-hounds in sweaters, bubbles, Emoji and more are all present in this video in addition to some major fashion inspiration. School girl kilts with gigantic platforms and candy bracelet accessories? I'm all about it. - Hazel
Post-punk group Savages' latest single "She Will" is scary but in an, "I want to make this my terrifying girl power anthem" kind of way, you know? This goth quartet is releasing their debut album, Silence Yourself, May 7, which will no doubt be one bass-heavy and brooding LP. —Hazel
M.I.A. has recently dropped a mixtape entitled MATANGI, the same name as her album due out later this year. This release was for the French fashion brand KENZO. Good to hear some more new stuff from her. In case you missed the video for her new album's single "Bad Girls," peep it here. —Lorin
Kate Nash is the most badass girl ever, okay? I provide you with evidence of this in her new video for "Girl Gang," released via Rookie Mag, where she sends a boys screaming with her incredibly cool gal pals. The song is actually a cover of Fidlar's "Cocaine," and let me just say that the lyric change works perfectly. - Maddie
The sweet little babies of One Direction made a selfie video for their Red Nose Day charity single and it is full of frolicking, dancing, and air-humping outside of the Prime Minister's home. If you'd like to support the cause, you can buy the single from iTunes. To find out more about Red Nose Day, you can go here.—Katie
Gossip wants you to get your shit together and get to work! Waitressing, car sales, dentistry—Beth Ditto does it all in this video for what might be the catchiest and most encouraging anthem to get a f**king job. - Hazel
Harry Styles, the tiniest infant out of all the infants in One Direction, is celebrating his birthday today! He's 19!
I am a crypt keeper! Happy Birthday, Harry! You keep on throwing up those thumbs, you little ray of sunshine, you.—Katie
Anthony Gerace is a London-based artist who makes collages from old magazines and other found publications, as well as a multitude of other mediums. He's got a ton of cool projects in the works, and you can check out the rest of his Flickr here—it's filled with more inspirational pictures and collages than you'll know what to do with!—Katie