Meet the Traders: Handmade fashion for the modern woman at Brick Lane

Friends Hymy Vong (left) and Lynn Chong are the founders of Franklin Tree. Pic: Lisa-Marie Krey

Based in London’s vintage mecca of Brick Lane market, the clothing brand Franklin Tree provides women of all kinds with handmade clothing and accessories.

Founded by friends Lynn Chong and Hymy Vong, both 34, the shop sells jumpsuits, dresses and jewellery made by the two women themselves, as well as carefully-selected vintage clothing and current styles.

Their stall is located in the basement of Brick Lane Vintage market  Pic: Lisa-Marie Krey

Comfort and functionality but also a unique style is essential for Franklin Tree’s clothing line. Chong explained: “As modern women, we don’t have time. We have the whole day full – we are at work, but then in the evening we meet friends, boyfriends or lovers – we want something that works with job life, as well as with our social life.”

“That’s why we focus on handmade items, especially jumpsuits, which are comfortable yet transitional. You can wear them from the day into the evening, it’s the same outfit with different functions.”

The concept of the brand is to provide fashion for women of all kinds. “We provide clothes for girls and women with different body shapes – tall, slim, larger, smaller, busty – which make them feel comfortable but also special and unique at the same time, that’s the key of our brand.”

Chong explained more about the production process: “We make handmade items in one or two different styles and we use different fabrics all the time which makes every single piece unique. Same simple shape, but it works for most body shapes.”

Franklin Tree’s jewellery is a mixture of handmade, vintage and current styles. Pic: Lisa-Marie Krey

Chong and Vong, both of Chinese background, met about 30 years ago and have been friends ever since. Chong formerly worked as a freelance visual merchandiser, Vong as a hairstylist.

Chong said: “We founded Franklin Tree as we were both looking for new challenges in our prospective careers and always had a keen interest in fashion design.”

“’Franklin Tree’ is the name my friend and I came up with a long time ago. It is a special type of oak tree and we chose it because it symbolizes nature and strength. The tree has a strong foundation and its branches stand for diversity – the name reflects what our clothing brand stands for.”

Most of Franklin Tree’s handmade clothing are one-piece suits. Pic: Lisa-Marie Krey

Since setting up the shop at Brick Lane market in 2015, the brand has become full-time jobs for the friends. Chong said: “The permanent space for our clothing brand for the last few years was a way to gain a more regular fanbase because now people know where we are, they know where to find us. The permanent position is vital for our brand”.

Franklin Tree is at Brick Lane Vintage Market 91, Brick Lane. The stall is open 10:00-18:00, Thursday to Sunday. Follow Franklin Tree on Instagram and Facebook or visit their online shop.

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