As the founder of Issue Twelve, Leah Chapman is the walking, talking and breathing embodiment of her brand. The former graphic designer is a master of considered minimalism and thoughtful design, two pillars at the core of the young label that’s currently rewriting the fashion playbook.
With fashion in her blood (Chapman is the daughter of MATCHESFASHION founders Tom and Ruth Chapman), it’s hardly surprising that her eye for great design is so honed. Mirroring her own pared-back personal style, Issue Twelve majors on elevated staples in premium fabrics: cashmere knits, brushed-cotton shirts, corduroy trousers, silk dresses. The antithesis of the contemporary fast-fashion churn, the brand puts longevity and integrity at its forefront; not only are pieces built to last, they are created using a transparent supply chain, comprising low-impact manufacturing processes, responsibly sourced fabrics and local expert craftsman. In other words, Chapman is setting the example for the rest of the industry to follow. We visited her at home to find out more about her mission and look inside her timeless wardrobe.
“I have quite an edited wardrobe, so that I can just throw something on in the morning. I don’t like the morning rush, and want getting dressed to be easy. I normally go for one piece of tailoring and add something relaxed, so a shirt with a baggy jean, or tailored trousers with an oversized jumper.”
“When starting Issue Twelve, I knew I wanted easy-to-wear, classic wardrobing pieces at a contemporary price point, that don’t sacrifice on quality. Quality is really important to me.”
“If I’m wearing jeans on a Sunday – my favourite day to wear denim – I like them to be soft and a lighter wash. During the week I like them to be slightly stiffer and darker, so they can take me from work to dinner more easily.”
“Our Grandpa Coat is such a great shape. It’s broader on the shoulder with generous patch pockets. This one I’m wearing is a cashmere and wool mix; the cashmere is sourced from Mongolia and the wool from Italy, then it’s woven in Italy and designed and made in London. The buttons on our coats are made from nuts, rather than plastic. These are sourced in Ecuador, protecting forests from deforestation. They are then woven and dyed in the Cotswolds. We love being able to share the stories of our products.”
“I hate cluttered spaces, so try to keep my furniture as classic as possible, with one or two statement pieces or colours. I suppose that relates to my wardrobe, too.”
“As I wear most of my jewellery, my jewellery box has morphed into more of a memory box; matches from different places, postcards and tickets from Japan, and a rock from a road trip to Joshua Tree.”
“I studied and love graphic design, so I have quite a few books on the subject such as this on Bauhaus. I collected the Charlotte Perriand book from an exhibition at the Design Museum last year, and I got the Martin Margiela from a pop-up in Soho, along with these shoes from The Row. Even though I’m small, so are all my heels! I don’t like adding too much height.”
“I never take my jewellery off, I sleep in most of the pieces I own. They all remind me of parts of my life, some I’ve had for 10 years.”
“I’m not naturally very ritualistic or good at setting time aside for myself, but am trying to incorporate more moments to pause into my life, like meditating. I am a really big bath person, though, so that always feels like a great time to slow down.”
Sign Up To
THE ICONS UPDATE
"We show you what never goes out of fashion"