Some things are truly timeless. While trend forecasting and Instagram influencers may be showing whimsical jewelry, strawberry dresses, and colorful knit bucket hats, a good blazer, sturdy jeans, and a pair of tailored trousers are bound to outlive them in the end. Issue Twelve, a new womenswear line from Leah Chapman, is relying on the old faithfuls of fashion with its debut collection of luxe knits, denim, cashmere, and more.
“I’ve always been making clothes in my head that I’ve wanted to wear. As I got older and developed my own personal style, it became more stripped back,” Chapman tells NYLON. “I started to find it difficult to find cleaner items at a contemporary price that felt good.”
Issue Twelve is embracing slow fashion by producing small batches of items to eliminate waste, sourcing sustainable fabrics, and using factories that only use renewable energy. Consciousness comes at a price, however, and Issue Twelves isn’t low. The knitted silk and cotton shirt dress runs for $623 while its boxy T-shirt retails for $123. For those looking for ethical essentials, and something slightly cheaper than The Row, it’s worth it.
“The original goal was to take luxurious elements like high quality fabric into a contemporary market,” Chapman says. “Sustainability was always a value for the brand, but as we researched and developed it became clear that it was an equal goal. The idea of supplying products made me realize I had an ethical responsibility to the complete product journey.”
While working on the initial collection in London, Chapman still found a way to connect with her parents, MATCHESFASHION founders Tom and Ruth Chapman, for phone calls on finance and e-commerce while they lived in the States. Ruth Chapman later visited her daughter’s studio and gave the collection her stamp of approval.
“A big reward was taking my mum to my studio after she got back from the U.S. and talking her through the product,” she says. “She has such an innate sense of style, something I’ve also admired, so when she tried things on and loved it, it meant a lot.”
Chapman is currently based in West London, but found her brand name while studying graphic design and making magazines in Los Angeles at the California Institute of Arts. Instead of creating for the seasons of the fashion calendar, Chapman is aiming to release new products on a monthly basis.
“As the pandemic hopefully eases, I’d like to find ways to have people feel the fabrics and the fit; maybe a pop-up shop or some trunk shows,” says Chapman. “Most of all, I'd like customers to keep coming back because they love the product.”
See more of Issue Twelve’s debut collection, below, and shop it on the brand’s website now.