Old Tat Magazine

Where fashion and art come together to celebrate a love for old tat.

24 hrs with Yan Skates

Yan Skates is a bespoke flower designer who we discovered (and quickly  became obsessed with) after our issue 02 covershoot. It is a realy pleasure to get a glimpse into his hectic life, which he spends juggling weddings, venue flower dressing and editorials.


8.30am – It was the morning after the night before. Not for me, but for the young protégé Jordon Byron Britton.

Late for me, I’m an early bird – I was standing outside his Homerton house, waiting for him to open the door and hand over all the flowers, vases, plinths and candelabra from yesterday’s fashion film shoot. This had come about through a chance meeting with Jan, a Slovenian filmmaker who had a pop promo cancelled last minute and instead decided to throw his set, team and talents in Jordon’s direction. A moonlit set with a dream-like quality in an abandoned warehouse in Hackney Wick. The final party scene needed a big burst of flowers around a ‘Last Supper-esque’ table. Quick catch up and Jordon dispatched back to bed. They only finished shooting at 6am after a full day and night. Bless.

Trying to fit my day into a timetable is like herding cats or stacking soap bubbles. Any day’s program looks more like a handful of pebbles thrown into a lake and then trying to make sense of the circles overlapping. Or spinning plates. Being a plate spinner is actually very close to what it’s like to be freelance and self-employed. There are always several projects on the go in my mind at all times, interspersed with phone calls and trying to get from one place to the next.

So here goes:

9ish – I drive towards central London for a few flower checkups on some of our venues. Enroute I think about the wedding consultation last night. The bride suggested we go for dinner, mixing business and pleasure – not a good idea on a first meeting. Anyway, she was a drama teacher, well-organised and very pleasant company and this will be a lovely summer wedding next year. Plate spinning nicely and not needing any attention for a while except for setting up a date for a floral trial.

10am – Super quick check on private members club in SW1. All flowers looking fine. Plate spinning happily.

10.30am – Hotel in Mayfair means a quick check on the weekly flowers and I wanted to add a few extra bits here and there. The hotel had just had a terrible flood in some newly refurbished rooms, so I decided it was my duty to cheer up the GM and some of the staff members he had been screaming at; he has more plates to spin than me.

11.30am – Phone call from a big London Milliner about a campaign shoot next week. Very floral hats sat amongst foliage – how lovely. That’ll be fun. So that’s Wednesday next week dealt with. Another new plate to spin with the rest of them.

12pm – Today it will be a Pret lunch as I’m on my own.

1pm – A ‘Whatsapp’ conversation with the gluegun-maker-of-everything in the company about a ikebana paper vase I wanted to develop for a very large charity dinner later in the year. It’s at The Dorchester and about 100 table displays. I’ve roughly sorted out the concept. We just need to make some prototypes. Coming along nicely.

During the afternoon some additional plate spinning activities, such as ordering flowers for next week, planning which vases to use next week, trying to organise how I can get this antique Swedish plant stand I just saw on a trip to Copenhagen shipped over here, formulate several emails and cancel a trip to a flower festival in Belgium as it clashes with a new wedding,.

3pm I’ve already had a 9 hour day, so time to wind down and attend the needs of the private life. Yes you guessed it; plan what to go on the plates tonight.


Photography from Old Tat Issue 02 shot by Tussunee Roadjanarungtong wearing Yan Skates



Author: oldtatmag

Old Tat magazine is a British niche bi-annual print publication featuring fashion, art and the miscellaneous celebrating all things tatty with a love for clutter. Print magazine available in stores now! Editor: Loo Loo Rose We accept submissions and welcome contributors. Email: oldtatmagazine@gmail.com Follow us on Twitter: @OldTatMag

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