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The Costumier turned Proprietor

Published: 22/12/2020

Back truffle lies on the south end of Broadway Market, close to the canal. In 2003 proprietor Melissa Needham unintentionally found herself running her own boutique.
Originally a freelance costumier for the likes of The Royal Opera House and the ENO, Melissa trained at The Wimbledon School of Art and then Cordwainers College on Mare Street, which later was bought by the London College of Fashion. It was here that she deviated from men's tailoring and learnt how to construct and repair shoes. 
In 1997 she formed Prescott and Mackay School of Fashion and Accessory Design offering specialised part time courses. Demand grew and by 2000 she was lecturing across the United States and Australia to Google and Apple execs during their lunch hour.

In 2003, she took up an additional lease believing it to be just a studio space on Broadway Market. On discovering this included a retail space she decided to embrace this new opportunity and created Black Truffle. Just like the elusive truffle, the name was conceived to conjure up the sense of exploration and discovery when hunting for that perfect item of clothing. Here she made and sold her own garments and shoes, for which she won The Best New Shoe Store Award in 2009, and was a finalist in the Drapers Footwear Awards 2010 for – Independent Footwear Retailer of the Year. Over the following years fashion buying trends changed as consumers turned to fast fashion, so the business adapted.
Today, Melissa specialises in seeking out affordable yet niche and up and coming designers to reflect her clientele's creativity. Drawing on her previous career as a costumier, she creates a narrative around her perceived buyer profile to select what will appeal to her market. Colours and how they are proportioned to the body are key.

London Fields and Hackney has historically been made up of visionaries, artists, seamstresses, furniture makers, designers and opportunists. In 2020, much has changed on the surface and many complain of East London being over gentrified but the underbelly of Hackney maintains its innovative roots. The locals, now actors and musicians, rubbing shoulders with architects and bankers, families and entrepreneurs, all drawn to the borough for the same reason, the sense of possibility.

Nothing is static in Hackney, it evolves and influences. For this reason, Broadway Market is a location that offers the perfect smorgasbord of creative delights be it food, cocktails, fashion or music.

Black Truffle is situated on 4 Broadway Market, London, E8 4QJ