WOMEN WE WATCH: JOOLS WALKER
What’s that sound? It’s blogger and Tatty Devine fanatic, Jools Walker aka Velo City Girl, whizzing by on her signature Pashley!
Credit: Ian James
Here at Tatty Devine HQ, we’ve been fans of Jools and her trademark style for years; from her first ever feature on our Customer of the Month blog, way back in 2011 to TattyLogue, her amazing instagram account dedicated to cataloguing each and every piece from her sizable collection. Phew! Need a lunch break listen? Head to Hello Friend, a project by fellow Tatty Devine fan and all round delight, Bethany Rutter to hear Jools talk cycling, self doubt and “loud, bright things.” We’re thrilled she’s agreed to sit down with us and talk everything from getting back in the saddle to the art of learning to take it easy, so without further ado; let’s hear from the lady herself!
FROM BLOGGER TO (ALMOST!) PUBLISHED AUTHOR, CAN YOU SUM UP WHAT YOU DO IN ONE SENTENCE?
I guess you could call me a Cycling Advocate - I write about cycling in its many guises (including the lifestyle and fashion elements), do public speaking and hosting about it and sometimes pop-up on the TV reporting on shows about it too.
WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOU IN THE YEAR AHEAD?
I'm in the final writing stages of 'Back In The Frame' which comes out in May 2019. It's keeping me more than busy for the first half of 2018 and been one of the hardest but most fun things I have ever done! I'm looking forward to my book finally being out there and I hope it's an enjoyable read (the hashtag #vcgbitf on Twitter and Instagram is keeping track of the process!) There will defo be more bike riding, and hopefully the chance to do some on a much needed holiday outside of London.
Credit: Ian James
IF YOU COULD GIFT A COPY OF YOUR BOOK, 'BACK IN THE FRAME' TO ANYONE, WHO WOULD IT BE?
Vivienne Westwood. She is a huge inspiration to me and is one of my all time favourite designers (I'm lucky enough to have a few pieces of Westwood jewellery and handbags in my wardrobe). Vivienne is also into cycling - she's a long time lover of pedal power and rides a Pashley too. For her to have a copy of my book and to know she enjoyed it would be an absolute dream... she's my cycle-style idol!
WHAT DO YOU PERSONALLY REGARD AS YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT?
Riding 30 miles in relentless rain and mud in Gaiole for L'Eroica 2015 and completing it. This is a huge sportive (a non-competitive mass bike ride) that happens every year in Tuscany, Italy, which celebrates the 'old romance' of cycling. You dress in old-skool cycling clothing (think woollen jerseys and shorts) and ride on vintage road-racing bikes that have to pre-date 1987. The climbs and descents of the Tuscan hills are unforgiving, and having never cycled on terrain like that before (and in what turned out to be the worst weather L'Eroica had since starting in 1997) I was secretly worried out of my mind the morning of the ride... but I did it! It was the hardest bike ride I've ever been on and I'm so proud of the fact I saw it through to the end... and would love do it again some day.
Credit: Ian James
WHAT’S THE BEST DECISION YOU EVER MADE?
The obvious answer would be getting my Pashley Princess back in 2010 and starting to cycle again... but listening to my mind and body after having a Transient Ischaemic Attack (a Mini-Stroke) in March 2016 is the one. I was only 33 when it happened, and it acted as a huge wake-up call. I was juggling way too many balls at once and it all caught up with me in a way I could never have imagined. The stroke made me re-assess what was important in life... like actually being able to live it, which is exactly what I'm doing with focusing on VeloCityGirl and enjoying where the journey is taking me.
It's a Tatty-Regret that still haunts me to this day... never buying the Giant Nib Crystal Necklace from the AW08 'Attack of the 50ft Jewellery' collection. It would have been apt back then as I used to write loads before the days of VCG and even more apt now!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TATTY DEVINE PIECE?
I've amassed quite a collection of beautiful Tatty Devine pieces over the years (so much so that I started up "TattyLogue" to keep a running record of it all), but my favourite is the medium Colour Spot necklace from the 'Colour Theory' collaboration with the Tate. Other than the Tate being one of my favourite places in London to go to (I often go sit and write in the Members Room too) I love the bright and loud colours of the dots and how they compliment each other, so it's one of my go-to pieces of TD to brighten up any outfit. I was gutted when I missed out on it back in 2012, so finding one in the Sample Sale last year to match the earrings and brooch I have was amazing.
Credit: Jools Walker
WHICH WOMEN ARE YOU WATCHING RIGHT NOW?
I'm watching Ayesha McGowan - she's on a mission to become the first African-American female pro-cyclist. I had the pleasure of meeting her last summer when she came to the UK and I hosted a duel Q&A session with her at Look Mum No Hands on our experiences of being black women in the cycling industry. Following her on Instagram is always so much joy and a huge inspiration to myself and other women out there who are (or thinking of) getting on a bike. Another I'm watching is Candice Braithwaite who celebrates blackhood, womanhood and motherhood to its fullest over on Instagram. Her feed is beautiful and doesn't shy away from the truth. Watching her 'Teatime' stories on there is an absolute ray of honest and entertaining sunshine.
Thanks, Jools! See you in Gaiole!