“I'd like to say no – BUT – I can't actually imagine flowers at a hardcore drum ‘n’ bass night or in a mosh pit,” says Rachael Barker. A former fashion PR working most recently with Christopher Shannon, today Barker is a florist who finds it hard to think of an occasion in which flowers wouldn’t be welcome.
“They make people feel better and they create something happy. People like to feel happy and content, and people appreciate beautiful things,” she says of the appeal.
“We get lots of emails every day from aspiring florists, and a lot of my friends want to come and work with us at JamJar (even for a day), to feel happy and to be surrounded by flowers.”
Said friends might include the stylist Elgar Johnson, photographer Alasdair McLellan or writers Jo-Ann Furniss and Dean Mayo Davies, “menswear’s finest” whom she met through lecturer James Anderson while studying for a BA in Fashion Journalism.
The switch from PR for one of London’s most prominent menswear names, to working from a studio off Walworth Road came easily she lets on; “Time flies and each day zooms by” in fact.
While she makes the case for the labour of love that’s part and parcel of the 6am starts at New Covent Garden Market, Racheal reckons too, “If everyone that worked in fashion got paid the hours they worked, they would all be millionaires!”
“The best thing about my job is that I genuinely love it. I look forward to getting up early, wearing my JamJar pinnie and getting bacon and egg sandwiches with my team for breakfast.”
Like Barker, JamJar’s founders Melissa Richardson and Jocelyn Lloyd are both children of the industry, as Director of Take 2 Models and designer for i-D magazine, respectively.
Since 2012 the pair – joined by Rachael last year – have been creating bespoke bouquets in enamel buckets, kilner jars, pickle jars and their signature jam jars, for a wide range of floral fans.
The minimal delights scattered across Joseph Turvey’s AW14 set were theirs, as Rachael confirms, “We really enjoyed working with Joe. He loves flowers too and it was really important for him to have fresh flowers as part of his presentation.”
Elsewhere, you might have noticed the floral section openers in the latest issue of Clash (seen in part above). Inspired by a certain floristry bill of a certain guest editor – the one that legend has it topped £290,000 – these were the product of a collaborative project with JamJar, shot by Baker & Evans.
“The photographers came to our studio and we went through their brief carefully and discussed ideas,” says Rachael of the practicalities.
“We had our own ideas and had so much fun concocting our Elton experiments with weird and wonderful flowers! We collaborated our ideas with what the boys wanted and had a lot of fun doing so.”
The results speak for themselves, with said pages perhaps some of the most aesthetically pleasing in Clash’s history, walking the right side of garish, as far from romantic territory as is possible with a picture of a flower. Not an easy feat, by any means.
Words: Zoe Whitfield