Beneath the Surface

This week we introduce the second new designer who'll be joining us from September, Printed Textile Designer, Holly Eden.

A 2013 graduate from De Montford University, Holly came to see us last weekend with one of the largest collections of printed silks we've seen to date!

Holly's final collection entitled, 'Beneath the Surface', was inspired by an old mansion house with layers and layers of decaying and contrasting patterns lining its walls, each of her printed silks representing these layers as if they had been peeled away.

Hues of aquamarine, lemon yellow and accents of pink and grey give the collection a soft, fresh feel, with a whimsical hand-drawn aesthetic she has screen-printed onto each scarf. There is also a certain romanticism with each piece, as if you'd stumbled across an old hatbox filled with vintage silks.

She is currently working full-time as a designer-maker, and has recently added silk headbands to her graduate collection, a selection of which, along with her scarves will be available in the next few months.

 

An Explosion of Colour

Back in April we launched our New Talent Search 2014 and were overwhelmed with the response from applications from all corners of the U.K as well as across Europe.

Over the past couple of months we have been compiling our shortlist, not an easy task by any stretch, and this weekend we were able to meet them in person.

The quality of work and enthusiasm for their individual crafts was infectious, and in the first of several blog posts, we are excited to introduce new designer, Lisa McConniffe who'll be joining us for our website re:launch in September.

Lisa graduated from Manchester School of Art in Fashion Design last Summer, and since then her work has been in huge demand from the likes of Vogue and Glamour magazine in several editorial features, as well as being spotted by fashion bloggers Susie Bubble, PHO Diaries and Stylonylon.

She was also nominated for the 2013 CSI Colour Award, and talent spotted by Issa London, Burberry and Ozwald Boateng.

It's been an incredibly busy few months for Lisa and to top it all off, she told us she has just been accepted at the Royal College of Art to study Womenswear Accessories starting this September!

Lisa's work is certainly a celebration and explosion of colour, and she describes her work as having, "...a playful vibrancy, working with layers of texture…"

There's a real energy to her work, it's fresh, relevant and exciting, something that really drew us to her work in the first place, and meeting Lisa in person, her passion for her craft was plain to see, and we are extremely excited to showcase and stock her collection over the next few months…

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Designed & Crafted in the U.K…

Last month we told you about Tom Hutchinson and his Kickstarter pitch to turn his graduate collection into a new business venture. Well, we are incredibly excited to reveal that not only did Tom make his target, he surpassed it by several thousand pounds!

Now the hard work begins as Tom and his business partner J.J embark on their venture to bring the Obtineo range of products to the market over the next few months.

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Every element of the range is hand-crafted in the U.K by skilled craftsmen, from glass-blowing to the felt detailing, which today seems quite challenging to achieve, and will certainly set Tom's designs apart from the mass-produced wares we see on the high street today.

It does seem though, as Tom forges a path with his first collection, the attitudes to manufacturing techniques and material use is shifting.

There is so much in the press about the fashion industry and conditions of workers abroad, and producing garments for pennies, to be sold for not much more on the British high street. It does seem that many retailers are slowly returning their manufacturing hubs to our shores, not only bolstering our wavering economy, but elevating the quality and standards, both ethically and from a construction point of view. So much so, that we, as consumers are more prepared than before to spend that little bit extra.

Another designer duo who have consciously and successfully set up their manufacturing in the U.K is London-based jewellery designers Harriet Vine and Rosie Wolfenden, also known as Tatty Devine.

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Having started out on a small scale with just the two of them, and a store of Brick Lane, the popularity of their pieces grew incredibly quickly.

The cheapest and easiest way to get the number of pieces they needed to produce, was heading to the factories of China, but this didn't sway the designers, and they took the more costly approach to set up workshops in London and Kent. This not only meant employing the locals, it also meant that they could stay as close as ever to the design, and making processes that inspired them in the first place.

The responsibility for today's new designers is to challenge the process of manufacturing, and not loose that feeling of hand-crafting something special. And not in an arts and crafts, make do and mend sense, but to embrace the U.K's rich and varied skilled craftsmen and women, just like Tom and J.J have done…