Tailored Ambitions

With London Fashion Week just around the corner, I wanted to catch-up with one of our emerging fashion designers who also applied to our New Talent Search last year.

Womenswear designer Reece Curtis-Walwyn graduated from Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication, with a BA Fashion Womenswear degree, and since graduating, it seems like her feet haven't touched the ground.

Having met Reece this time last year, I was able to see her graduate collection first hand, and it was clear she had an amazing eye for detail and tailoring techniques that made her work really stand out.

I caught up with Reece this week to find out what made her take pursue what is deemed to be the hardest design industry to break into, where she finds inspiration, and what's next on the agenda for her...

What drew you to fashion design, and when was the moment you knew that was what you wanted to do?

Fashion design for me started as just a hobby from secondary school in my Textile lessons. I would always finish before everyone else which made my tutor give me more projects to do. At the time I really didn’t mind, as it was something which I really enjoyed, especially coming to school early, and staying behind to finish my work, as I never had a sewing machine at the time.

Throughout the journey in school, I had a small insight into what I believed at the time the fashion industry was like behind all these worldwide brands featured in Vogue magazine, which I collected every month. At the end of my final year of secondary school after collecting my GCSE’s, I knew fashion was the direction I had to go in, which I am glad I did!

Your graduate collection has a strong female attitude shown through tailoring and structure, where do your main influences and inspirations come from, and have they changed at all since graduating?

Thank you for the kind words. Inspiration can come in any form, for example, I work a lot from quotes and words and interpret them into a theme or started point. Or it could be something as simple as a colour, fabric sample or an image that I’ve seen.

I'm also heavily influenced by menswear fashion and tailoring. I am amazed by the cut, style and details in tailored garments, which are very clean. This fascination could also come from my granddad who was a tailor himself.

I strongly believe being a creative individual, you have to be very opened-minded and allow your designs to flow and create something which you never dreamed off.

What was your initial plan after you graduated, to work on building your own brand, or to gain experience from industry?

Since graduating my plans were to work in industry to gain experience, and to work on building my brand.

What has been the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome since graduating?

The biggest hurdle has been deciding whether or not I stick to working on my own brand or working for a fashion brand. After sticking to what I believed in, with a lot of focus and determination, I stuck to building my brand, which I can very proud of as I have achieved many goals and press coverage.

What has been your biggest achievement since graduating?

I would say the biggest achievements were dressing Jenni Steels for the BAFTA awards, film premier and wardrobe for Untamed film 2015. As well as winning the Own Label Graduate Award, showcasing in The Houses of Parliament, LFW 2015 and Top Drawer London 2015 alongside luxury jewellery.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to study fashion design, and to those about to graduate?

I would say believe in yourself and your work, there are going to be people that are going to put you down and question what you do and don’t understand your work. If you are able to give answers to every question fired at you, then you know your work.

Remember there is a reason behind why you wanted to study this course. Make sure you are ready to take criticism and have an open mind. The work you produce is your own work, do not let anyone change your mind and influence you to create something you are not proud of.

Lastly, be ready for the sleepless nights and working on your work 24/7!

Finally, what’s next on your to-do list?

RCW to-do list includes getting clothing into stores, showcasing my S/S15 Tones Collection and launching my brand.

New Talent Search 2015

This time last year we launched New Talent Search to find undiscovered talent from across the UK.
We were overwhelmed by the number of applications, and so pleased to see that great design and designers are working hard to get a foothold in every corner of the country.
This year I'm excited to launch the New Talent Search 2015 for a second year, and look forward to seeing a fresh crop of fantastic new designers to share with you all.

Still Life

There is something beautifully delicate about the work of Lale Guralp. The Chelsea College of Art & Design graduate uses only the sharpest HB pencils to draw the exquisitely detailed still life pieces, with no need for colour, each pencil mark has a boldness that a wash of colour is simply not needed.

Having a printed textile background, Lale spent two years working with Terence Conran designing soft furnishings before going it alone as a freelance designer and artist.

Her distinct style of illustration is centred around the detail, and like pressed flowers, she has suspended the delicacy of nature in each fine art exploration.

Bringing the basics of observation using the simplest of tools, each piece could be considered a labour of love, with the Pineapple illustration alone taking around 110 hours, over 2 months to draw.

With the emergence of digital mark-making, the purity of Guralp’s work speaks for itself, Still Life is alive and well.

Image by Yeshen Venema Photography

Turning Over a New Leaf

January means the to-do lists come out in earnest, (as if they ever really get put away!) and all ideas seem renewed, looking at them with fresh eyes. After a busy and productive 2014, my mind is literally fizzing with the prospect of the coming year and all the plans, ideas and projects waiting in the wings.

Always at the top of my list is to find new talent from across the U.K, and with the recent release of the independent biannual magazine Fiera from Confessions of a Design Geek founder Katie Treggidan, there is a fresh crop of design talent brought to the attention of the masses.

Having read the first issue from cover to cover, here are a few of my top U.K-based picks…


Rhian Malin

A recent graduate from Camberwell College of Art, Rhian has a unique approach to her ceramic designs. After throwing the simple vessels, she invites people to shape each one with their hands to create one-off distorted, tactile pieces.

Using a classic blue and white willow pattern following the unique contours, Rhian has created a bold collection with its roots in individuality and expression.

The strength of her work really shines through when viewed together, with each piece having its own unique story to tell.


Beatrice Larkin

Having finished an MA in Textile Design at the Royal College of Art, Beatrice has crafted a collection of beautifully simple, yet bold designs.

Based in London, she uses traditional weaving techniques alongside her hand drawings to create soft-focus contemporary, geometric designs.

Beatrice works closely with a mill in Yorkshire through each stage of production, to manufacture woven blankets and throws not only maintaining a strong link with traditional techniques and methods, but sees the importance of working with a U.K based company. This personal touch is evident with each throw using the finest wools for the ultimate soft and cosy finish.


Jodie Watts

Wanting to follow her passion, London-born Jodie went from Law to Furniture design, learning her craft at London College of Furniture.

Jodie’s designs combine traditional craftsmanship with simplicity to create quality contemporary pieces, and she has been lucky enough to work with some of the U.Ks best manufacturers including Benchmark and Parker Knoll, forming a strong portfolio of work.

I’m loving her Nymph occasional table in particular with modern lines and contemporary detailing combining both solid oak and ash.


Tiipoi

Founded in 2013 by creative partners Spandana Gopal and Andre Pereira, Tiipoi is based on a less is more approach, with their simple and beautiful designs inspired by the Indian subcontinent ethos, where nothing is wasted and where improvisation come from a lack of something rather than an abundance of it.

Living in a world of built-in obsolescence and a throw-away attitude, their material approach to design focuses on quality and longevity, something that grows and changes, ages and becomes more precious over time.

Using predominantly copper and brass combined with wood and glass their timeless collection is luxurious, yet humble, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.


These are just a few of my favourite designers from the first issue of Fiera. Katie’s new approach to putting all her discoveries from across the globe in one place, is a great way to celebrate new design talent that may have otherwise been overlooked. This now permanent record now brings them to the forefront, to be appreciated and celebrated.

“New designers still believe in the impossible - a crucial trait if design is going to help solve the problems, large and small, that we face today.” - Katie Treggiden

To purchase your own copy of Fiera click the link below...
http://shop.magculture.com/products/fiera-magazine

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It’s a Wrap

The festive season seems to come round quicker every year, and in an attempt to get a little more organised, we've put together a few pieces perfect for that special someone...

Whether it's the whole family under one roof creating havoc or a quiet and cozy cottage in the country, everyone's hungry, and a constant supply of nibbles and naughty stuff is essential. Sophie Cobb's Pick, Mix & Match ceramics and Tom Hutchinson's Obtineo range keep things simple.

 

Christmas is as much about the big gestures as the stocking fillers, and this festive season we are loving these oversized screen-printed cotton tees by illustrator CM Carter.

 

There's always room for a bit of sparkle so we suggest these one-off elegant and simple silver earrings by Nicola Reed.

 

There's always the inevitable washing up regardless how big the dishwasher is, make the task a little less painful with these bright, hand-made tea-towels from Rose Honick.

 

It may be chilly out there, but there's always room for a silk scarf to add to the collection. We suggest one of these unique pieces by Holly Eden.

 

With so many to choose from, our top pick this Christmas is this hand-drawn limited edition illustration by Kayleigh Hadley, because wherever you are and whoever you're with, there's something magical about Christmas!

A Stitch in Time…

After graduating, there's always time for reflection, contemplation about where to go, what to do. Some have a clear idea that entering the design world in their chosen specialism is the most sensible way to go, others want to break-out and go it alone.

A daunting prospect for most, but with bundles of enthusiasm and talent, Emily Carter, one of our spots from this Summer's New Designers, has done just that. I caught up with her to find out what a typical day for her looks like...

 

So I guess you would like to know a bit about me and what I do before I say anymore…

I am a (nearing 23) year old Fashion Textiles graduate who fell in love and obsesses over print since my second year at university. I graduated with a First Class degree and three internships under my belt, but working for a fashion giant (everyone always assumes that’s the dream) didn’t fill me with excitement. What really made me ecstatically happy was developing and printing my own work into homeware products. 'Rose Honick' is the label I work under, taken from my two middle names, and has been growing since it started in my second year of university.

I now operate from my studio in Kent, where I am determined to pursue my dream! My studio is my colourful escape from dreary England, and I love to cover it with prints, drawings, photos and my mother’s artwork (she is also a creative in the family). While I work, I normally have the radio on to pretend I am working with other people! I have my cat Indi for company which has her own chair in the studio; but most of the time she sleeps.

On a normal day I wake up and start work on emails or computer work that needs doing, which leaves the fun stuff for the afternoon! I can be doing anything for the rest of the day from drawing to printing to sewing, as everything I sell is made, sewn and printed by hand. All original! All a labour of love! At the moment, I am putting together a range of storage and lavender bags, which is brilliant as my studio always smells great!

On Wednesday’s I run a club called 'Stitchaholics' where local people can come and use the equipment and work on their own projects, which is great fun. It’s so nice to surround yourself with like-minded people, (as my cat is a bit useless on that front.)

Occasionally, I also teach workshops in Print which is very rewarding to watch people’s faces light up when they see their print for the first time. I also work with local secondary school children to inspire and teach them what I know. Wednesday’s are always busy!

Right now I am working on my Business Plan. I have a brilliant and amazing advisor in Kent who is helping me grow my dream from studio to world-wide domination, or somewhere in between.

I think we all have a dream career or lifestyle and I honestly think anything is possible when you set your mind to it, after all, everyone has to start somewhere…

Find pieces from Emily's latest collection in our shop now!

From Manchester to Masters

Fresh from being featured in our Hand-Picked Exhibition back in September, Lisa McConniffe, a recent Womenswear and Accessory graduate from Manchester School of Art has just started her MA at the Royal College of Art.

I wanted to catch up with her to find out how the first few weeks has been at one of the most prestigious art colleges in the world.

When did you first become aware of the courses at the RCA?
I came across The Royal college of Art when I was doing my A Levels and looking at universities, however I always thought that I would study postgraduate fine art there. When on my BA course at Manchester we would often have RCA students past/present do discussions on their experiences.

How was the process in applying to the RCA? Easy, daunting, any surprises?
I wasn’t daunted by the prospect of applying last year because I felt that I knew who I was as a designer, and I knew that I had a lot to offer the RCA and vise versa. I also felt that I had nothing to lose by applying!

What made you choose the course you're now studying?
I chose Womenswear Accessories because during the past year through placements and collaborations I discovered that I was much more interested in working with accessories, more so than fashion, and the RCA offers a really specialised course for that sector.

How have the first few weeks been? Has the experience been what you'd expected so far?
The first few weeks have been a clash between exciting and daunting. I went to the RCA with an open mind, and in a way it has surpassed my expectations with the amount of knowledge the tutors and technical staff have, and the opportunities that are available to students including visiting designers/artists.

The accessories studio also has a great atmosphere, and I’m already collaborating with other specialisms including a Textiles Mixed Media student on an eyewear project, and also a 2nd year Womenswear Knitwear student on accessories for her pre-collection.

What advice would you give anyone wanting to apply to the RCA?
The advice I’d give is make sure you feel 100 percent sure about doing an MA, know who you are as a designer (what you like and dislike) and what you want to achieve at the RCA because it's a very self driven course.

If you could sum it up in one word, what would it be?
Exciting!

London Design Festival…

After roughly eight months of planning, and with our red Shoreditch Design Triangle sign blowing in the breeze, we opened our one-night only exhibition on the 16th September.

It's our second year of being involved with London Design Festival and 'Hand-Picked' brought together twelve talented graduate and emerging designers under the roof of 5th Base Gallery in East London.

We had ambitiously decided to host the exhibition to celebrate the launch of our new website, something we've been working on for some time, and bring a 'Hand-Picked' creative force off the pages of design blogs and Instagram feeds, to the forefront of one of the most important design events in London.

It was important for us to not only show work from graduates we had spotted at New Designers and D&DA New Blood, but also emerging designers we had come across either via social media, networking or simply from an email saying hi, this is what I do.

A huge thank you to all the designers who took part, Shoreditch Design Triangle and everyone that made it down to support us and the designers on the night. Oh and the impromptu interview with London Live on practically no sleep and wearing no mascara, (something that dawned on me the following day!) It was a fantastic night and we couldn't have done it without you all...

Work by Lucinda Ireland greeted people as they came in with her collection of Hello's in her signature bold, graphic style. This sat next to the monochrome work by illustrator CM Carter, who had a range of prints, comics and screen-printed tees on display.

Domesticity ruled in the central space with a clash of not only cultures, but colour and pattern with work from House of Arike, Rose Honick and Jessie G showing that textiles needn't be drab or traditional.

Hand-drawn illustrations from Kayleigh Hadley gave a truly personal touch and sense of humour from her latest collection of typographic twists and twirls.

For the first time we included fashion in our selection, and the craftsmanship from Reece Curtis-Walwyn has to be seen first-hand. Her strong tailoring in muted, autumnal tones contrasted with the loose layered pieces and tassel detailing and the explosion of colour from Lisa McConniffe.

Screen-printed silks by Holly Eden added a softness to proceedings with her own hand-drawn designs transferred directly onto fabric.

Our selection of homeware has also extended this year with two designers we found at New Designers last year, Tom Hutchinson, who has recently, and successfully completed a Kickstarter project can now put his beautifully crafted Obtineo Range into production. And Sophie Cobb's ceramic collection Pick and Mix, shows the subtleties you can achieve in glaze for a fresh approach to the craft.

Last but not least, Max Lyne our first eco-product designer showcased his hand-crafted and stand-out light designs, sensitively using timber to create one-of-a-kind pieces.

We're off to start planning for 2015, see you then!

 

Coming Up…

LLL-Event Image

The last few weeks have been a little bit of a whirlwind for us. We've secured our gallery space just of Brick Lane in East London, confirmed the designers taking part, and been accepted to be part of Shoreditch Design Triangle for a second year running!

With a mere 6 weeks to go until London Design Festival kicks off, (we cannot believe how fast the time is flying by) here's a snapshot of a few of the designers you can expect to see on the 16th September to celebrate the launch of our new online shop.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be telling you a bit more about each designer, the new website and what to expect on the night itself...

From Part One to Part Two…

One of the favourite parts of our job is scouting the degree shows for new talent, and 2014 has proved to be another hugely talented year.

New Designer's held at Islington's Business Design Centre every Summer is the hub for the UK's Universities, coming together to showcase the very best of their creative talent. This is our third year of attending and here are a few of our favourite finds over the last two weeks…

Part One

Amy Pegler

We starting following Amy Pegler, a graduate from Hereford University, a few weeks before New Designers as we loved her graphic, urban environment inspired textiles. There's a freshness to her designs that caught our eye, and were lucky enough to meet her and have a chat about her collection too.

 

Melody Vaughan

 

Melody Vaughan from Nottingham Trent University had an interesting take on ceramics, and her pieces were more of an interactive, visual tool as well as a sculptural one. We loved the moulded shapes and colour combinations that formed the stand-out collection.

 

Aimee Bollu

 

Also from Nottingham Trent University, Aimee Bollu's final collection was based around collecting and hoarding, with a touch of her own OCD. Mixed with her beautifully simple ceramic pieces, she combined found objects from the streets of Nottingham, otherwise deemed unloved, or uninteresting, and puts them at the forefront of what makes her work elegant, understated and modern.

 

Francesca Stride

 

A graduate from Glasgow School of Art, Francesca Stride had a very different way of displaying her wares. Using 2D card cut-out figures to drape her creations, the collection aptly titled 'Compositions for a Cardboard Cut-out' showcased industrial knitting techniques with fine wool to create a bold and colourful collection.

 

Part Two

Daniel Lau

Daniel Lau, a graduate from Nottingham Trent's Product and Furniture Design degree was on-hand to show us his chair collection, and chat about his future plans. Already successfully in production in the UK, an important aspect for Daniel, his Kai collection of wireframe chairs were striking, and finished impeccably. Available in a range of colours to suit the user, we loved the simplicity of the design and Daniel's passion for British-based design and manufacture.

 

Joshua Townley 

Joshua Townley's playful illustrative style caught our eye with his monochrome piece perched amongst a sea of colourful examples. We loved his work with just enough charm mixed with the right level of dark humour.

Alice Greatrex

The soft green hue used in Alice Greatrex's ceramic collection was stunning. We both loved the simplicity of the crafted pieces by the Loughborough graduate as well as the display itself. Without having to shout look at me, it was one of our stand-out collections from this year's crop of new talent.

Charles Parford-Plant

One of our final spots was by product and furniture graduate Charles Parford-Plant. His Tension collection showed how it is possible to create beautifully crafted, elegant and functional furniture without using a myriad of fixings to construct it. One top, four legs and four rubber tension bands are all it takes to put this table together, no assembly instructions required.