Sunday, 3 May 2015


If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen I recently posted about my badge collection. I've always been a badge collector; as a child I collected them at every house, garden or event we visited and I've continued in that vein ever since. As a teenager I bought a collection of badges at a car boot sale for a fiver, within the box resided a complete history of every event, campaign and place the person had visited over a lifetime. Since then I've amassed hundreds more from exhibitions and car boots and a few choice ones from Ebay.

Recently I've been thinking about why I find badges so fascinating. I think what I love about them most is their ability to get across a very short, snappy message in just a few words or a carefully designed image. They can instantly align you with a movement or political party. They can help you make friends or enemies in seconds. I also love how they track both a personal and cultural history. I have so many that have messages that are completely lost in time; long lost campaigns to get children to pick up litter or say NO to strangers or my personal favourite 'WIMPEY WELCOME HOME'. 

Anyway, in possibly the most important election week ever I thought what better time to don every single badge I own. I've been feeling the need to shout out recently. A number of frustrating things have been happening but I've realised more than ever before that my mum's favourite phrase 'don't get sad get mad' is true (see below for the Bash Street Kid's version- Don't get even, Get MAD!). 

The outfit is mainly inspired by a number of groups; mainly subcultures- punks, casuals, skinheads they all used badges to get their message across (whether political or otherwise):

Source: 1
Source: 2
and protest groups and marches:
Source: 3 (watch Pride if you haven't already, a fab film about LGSM)
Source: 4  (walked past a CND shop in Exeter on Friday, amazed to see it was still in full force)
Also pearly kings and queens, for their abundant use of buttons to cover every possible space:

Source: 5
There are some badges that take on a life of their own, The Museum of London has a particularly good collection of political badges, here are some of my favourites:

Votes for Women, tin badge, designed by Sylvia Pankhurst, 1909-1910

Nuclear Power No Thanks, designed by Ann Lund & Soren Lisburg, C.1980

I didn't Vote Tory, c.1979

The t-shirt I got at a kilo sale several years ago, it's my absolute favourite. The pattern is a rip of Collier Campbell's Bauhaus print (which they reproduced in several colour ways for Liberty) which in turn ripped off Gunta Stolzl's original tapestry

Collier Campbell's Bauhaus print, in original colour way, designed for Liberty, Source: V&A
Slit Tapestry Red/Green, 1927/8, Gunta Stolzl - Source: 6

I hope you'll be voting on Thursday. It really is of the upmost importance that you do, even if you feel compelled to spoil your ballot. I will be, I spent a long time umming about who I'd be voting for. Cornwall has been Lib Dem for longer than I've been in existence but thankfully due to their series of seriously big blunders I think it could change. My vote is on Green, they are the only party I have any hope in. I don't agree with everything they are proposing but over half will have to do. I'm feeling the need for radical change; if the Tories get in I've already made a pact to leave the country. It might seem drastic but I just don't think I can take another four years with hamface cam.

In other news I made this last night:

Getting What We Need (30 things an artist needs to survive)
You can't make it out too well, due to the terrible phone quality but it's: A woolly jumper, strength, patience, a diary, an espresso pot, a hot water bottle, blue tac, materials, a phone, R.E.S.P.E.C.T, water, space, gaffer tape, a brain, sleep, soap, ideas, string, shoes, time, love, food, a sense of humour, light, talent (?), energy, resistance, a roof over our head, a radio (tuned to 92.1 fm), money & bubble wrap (congrats to the first person who points out that there are 31 things...)

I hope you're all having excellent weekends. As you can tell I've been feeling frustrated it's changing though, and I always think you have to get a bit mad to incite change in your life. I'm planning a couple of trips away, I'm feeling a ardent need to escape and taste life elsewhere for a while.

Outfit Details

Levi 501s - Charity shop

Fcuk 1990s denim jacket - Car boot sale ( I have another of these that belonged to my mum in the 90s, probably the most worn item in my wardrobe as it's now in shreds)

1970s rip off Collier Campbell Bauhaus print t-shirt - Vintage Kilo Sale

Seasalt neckerchief - Seasalt sale shop

Vintage badges - car boot sales/ ebay



  1. Hello Lally: So interesting you posted that nuclear power button - I have that exact same one but in french that I picked up when I was in France in 1979 - and I was just looking at it this week.

    1. Oh, I see you wrote c. 1980 under the photo - I was in France at the end '79/beginning of '80 so perhaps I didn't get the button until 1980?

    2. Hello! I hope you see this.. They were designed in 1975 and I think they're still made today (I've seen them pop up here and there). This one is from the museum of london and that's the date they have for that particular one, here's a link:

      Hope that helps. X

    3. Thanks so much! My husband has one too - and he's from California!

  2. Awesome button collection! I've had buttons made commercially (I was mad that women weren't being allowed to ski jump at the Olympics here) and hand-made, which is fun to do. I have a great old political one that says the evil politician made me eat my dog. Heh. I agree with the maxim, don't get sad - get mad! I'm glad you're feeling a fire at the time of elections there. Oh, and I love your sketch - water, string, and bubble wrap. Perfect!

  3. I love the top and scarf combination....and the obvious amazingness of the badges. Some of your badges look really beautiful. The badge does seem to be a great historical item, I agree very much with what you've written. It's also interesting as a sort of hand made or cheapo or trashy kind of item and to think about who badges appeal to and are bought by throughout history. Seems to be an item for those without much money? but who knows? I know I used to harbour a tiny collection of badges as a child, most lost now.

    I agree with you politically also- I'd vote green if I could but my nationality doesn't allow me to vote unfortunately. :/


  4. As always I love the photos of your outfit but also the historical context of badges is super important? And the top you wore between your double denim, badge emblazoned combo looked super cute too! <3

  5. Love this look and I love all the badges and what they represent. I used to collect/make badges growing up too. I wish I still had them all really. Voting is so very important, I agree. I've seen a lot not vote because they think their vote won't make a difference, but it really will. It's really so important to be the change you want to see!! I hope you have a great week doll...Oh when did you say your shop will open again!?! I forgot from our convo on Instagram about the bracelets. Just wanted to remember as I try and shut off my electronics as much as I can :) Have a wonderful week dear xx

  6. Badges are so much fun! I only have a few myself, but I'd love to get a few more. I Love how you've put them on your jeans, what an amazing collection you have :)

  7. You have an impressive badge collection, and I love your badge-covered denim outfit. I used to collect ones with sayings and photos of bands on them in the 1980's - I have no idea where they are now. I do have a half dozen or so that I wear on my purse strap every day and at least a couple of times a week someone will get a laugh out of one of them.

  8. I voted Green too, I hope it did some good at some level, but like you, I'm struggling to visualise anything good for the next five years now. We were away and I was working on my Hebrew. My first thought was, what language can I learn and where can I live? Finland is pretty wonderful, but I've never been there in the winter. We talk about a revolution in our office all the time! Your badge collection is museum-worthy! Elvis keeps looking at me. I'm not complaining. So where are you going to go?! That's the exciting bit. Xxx