(Un)Zip it...

This is a blog post I have been meaning to write for months and, whilst not inherently political in intention, now or at any time, I just feel recent events have made publishing it now even more pertinent.

Just over two years ago, I experienced an increase in the number of brands contacting me to ask if I would take pictures of my daughter in their clothing. As a rather youthful (in Instagram terms) account, I was a bit bowled over but nonetheless thankful for both the clothing and for the brands' trust in my photography, as was my daughter, who loved to put her own stamp on our creative endeavours. 

So bowled over was I that, despite my instinct against on occasion, I wasn't always as discerning as I might have been. It wasn't long, however, before both Lucy and I realised the rather patriarchal nature of most of the clothing. Picture this - if, as a grown woman, you put on a dress and it has a zip or buttons at the back - how on earth are you able to do it up on your own without help?? As an adult, you might grapple along on your own and manage it somehow or other, but as a young girl, you have little chance. I said to my partner - imagine when you have to get up to work at 4 am (as is the norm for him) and you have to wake someone up just to do up your shirt, do you think that's acceptable? A big fat no was his response, but I could tell by his reply that his eyes were opened to something that he had hitherto never even thought about.

But I now think about it ALL THE TIME - this is the 21st century and yet still women and girls are subjugated even in respect of their clothing, often designed by women! 

So why, oh why, do designers of clothing for girls and women think it's remotely acceptable in this day and age (was it ever really acceptable in any day and age?!), to create pieces that we are unable to dress ourselves in unaided?

Dress from Little Creative Factory

Dress from Little Creative Factory


I feel it's time to take a stand. If you do too, please join me in my #kidsclothingforfreedom hashtag on Instagram - you can find me at @ali__dover and @alidovertextiles too if you feel drawn. 

And, if you're interested in clothing for girls and boys which doesn't impinge on their ability to dress themselves unaided, here are my top choices from the large number of independent brands I have worked with:

This is obviously a short list so far, and I will try to add to it over time, but it is testament to the worryingly large number of beautifully crafted clothing brands I have worked with, whom I cannot add simply because they produce clothing which is a nightmare for children (girls in particular) to dress themselves in independently! 

Here's to #kidsclothingforfreedom and thank you for reading - if you would like to add to this list, or simply add to the conversation, please do comment below!

- Ali x

Thoughts from a kind customer...

There is nothing more heartwarming - this is why I do what I do - words and photo by Rachel Todd - thank you Rachel xx

"When the postman unexpectedly rang my doorbell this morning, I couldn't have been more delighted with the super speedy delivery of my beautiful Breeze wrap. Almost exactly a year since Studio arrived on our doorstep I was so pleased to see that all the lovely personal details, the brown paper and twine, the handwritten labels and receipts, the sheer love and time and attention packaged up with the wrap, was just the same as I remembered. And I can't believe it but I think I love the colours even more than Studio!!! I know I'm late to the Breeze party, sorry, I took a break from the crazy wrap world for a while, but this wrap sums up all the things I most love and missed about it! That sharing of love from one parent who has held their baby close to their heart, to another. Thank you so much Ali!! ❤"


Bringing an idea to life

Four years ago almost to the day, I had an idea, an idea that wouldn't go away... An idea that was borne from a life-long love of textiles, of style, of iconic stripes, of freedom - and a newfound love of carrying my young children close, of parenting epiphanies, of necessity...

And here I am, four years later, bringing that idea to life with a range of modern and enduring woven wraps in uncomplicated designs, with drape and soft texture to form gently around you and your child...

The folklore of Ali Dover Wovens is one of the great outdoors. It is a love of good literature, good food and great friendships. It is the whistling wind and the crashing waves; a great roaring fire and wood piles. It is stripped back floorboards, and a history revealed through chipping paint. It is cosy knitwear and the joy of the morning frost; the celebration of a free unfettered lifestyle -  creative, and entrepreneurial in spirit and mind, in sync with the seasons, yet timeless. It is seeing life as a work in progress, mucking in, growing and giving back...


My first collection reflects aspects of this journey, with honest earthy colour ways and an enticing aesthetic.


Elements - the petrol hues were inspired by the land, sky, wind and rain. It offers depth and mystery, yet a sense of calm and surety. Grounded by a true green the blue takes flight with our senses and allows us to dream.


Studio - with an enchanting palette inspired by an artist in her studio. With a splash of yellow, maybe dappled sunshine on canvas, smudged charcoal, and the soft hue of pink petals in a vase as she is inspired to create. It is at once whimsical and soft, yet vibrant and unashamed. 


Voyage - the inspiration came from a journey across the ocean. Travel and adventure, the undone charm and honesty of sea-salted hair, and sun kissed skin.


Heathers - with its mineral purple hues and earthy tones this wrap pays homage to the Yorkshire moorland. Wild and unrestrained, luxurious in its minimalism.

- Ali xx