The Hands-on Approach

With a mere 5 weeks to go to the next pop-up, I’m excited to announce the full line up of talented, emerging British designers you can expect to see.

The week long pop-up shop is aimed to highlight designer-makers with an emphasis on hand-crafted techniques, a trend that has been emerging over the last couple of years, with a move away from digitally-aided design. Focusing on the tactile relationship between the designer and consumer, each designer’s collection has a sense of honesty and craftsmanship, with many pieces either a limited edition or one-off item.

The designers has been honing their craft over the last few years, and by having more of a hands-on approach provides a better understanding of production, and the best techniques to use instead of relying on computer-aided enhancements.

From the 19-23rd May, as well as presenting new collections from 13 up-and-coming designers, we will also be holding a series of in-store workshops, talks from the creative industries, and daily portfolio surgeries for up-coming graduates throughout the week, and I’ll have more on the full events calendar in the next couple of weeks.

Amongst the 13 designers taking part are a selection of designers who showcased at the exhibition last September with their new collections for 2015, alongside new additions to Look Like Love.

Roisin Connolly is one of Look Like Love’s original designers and showcased her early collection at our first pop-in in Peckham in 2012. Since the launch of her own website, Roisin has built a strong following, and has been non-stop fulfilling orders as well as developing her latest collection of statement jewellery.

Since September textiles and print designer Holly Eden has been teaching as well as exhibiting in various local exhibitions. For the pop-up in May she has expanded her collection of silk scarves and headbands with her signature hand-drawn prints, as well as presenting new larger, silk wall hangings.

A recent addition to Look Like Love, Lale Guralp’s popular hand-drawn still life illustrations are her labour of love, with the original pineapple drawing taking 110 hours to complete. Expect to see the full range of prints and limited editions on show with mini greetings cards available too.

Sophie Cobb showcased her graduate collection at last September’s exhibition and has been busy working on her latest collection, as well as working as an art teaching assistant. She has been experimenting with glazing and building on the colour palette she developed during her final year at university to create a subtle, crafted mix of small one-off vessels.

Illustrator and print designer Lucy Wilkins applied to this year’s New Talent Search and having met her last month, it was a must that she was involved with the pop-up. Her work is inspired by the nostalgia of mid-century design and crockery that she finds at car boot sales. Her illustrations mix hand-drawn interpretations with a retro colour palette.

Reece Curtis-Walwyn has been super busy working on her S/S 2015 womenswear collection, and her work ethic is incredible having showcased her latest work at London Fashion Week earlier in the year, several of editorials, and a charity fashion show in the pipeline, she never stops. Reece will be stopping for at least the week of the pop-up, to present her line to prospective buyers.

This year’s New Talent Search not only brought out recent graduates, but also students in their 3rd year of study. One such designer was Alexandra Webb who travelled all the way from Leeds to meet me. I’m so glad she did, because her approach to surface print was different to anything I’d seen before. I’m excited to be one of the first to present part of her confident, mix media prints from her final collection even before she graduates.

The self-proclaimed, print obsessed designer Emily Carter has continued to build her textile brand Rose Honick since showcasing at the Look Like Love exhibition last September. This time she has shifted her focus away from cushions and tea towels towards zip pouches and purses, all completely hand-made, hand-printed with her cool, clashing print designs.

Lucinda Ireland has a stand-out typographic identity associated with the work we are familiar with, her bold illustrative prints ‘Hello’ prints  and most recently a commission for Harvey Nichols latest event. She is constantly evolving and her street art is the latest addition to her portfolio lifting the mood of the grimy streets of London.

Tom Hutchinson celebrated the launch of his first collection with us last September off the back of his incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign. This Spring, as well as his signature collection, expect new hand-crafted pieces as he expands his homeware and product range.

A new addition to Look Like Love, Amy Leigh’s graduate jewellery collection had a sculptural, stand-out influence to it. Since graduating, she has been developing a more wearable range that still stays true to her original inspirations.

CM Carter is one of our original designers and she continues to delight with her humorous illustrative offerings. Her latest collection builds on her exhibited pieces from last year with an expanded range of illustrated prints with there comic undertones.

I first spotted Jennifer Stafford at New Designer’s a few years ago, and although at the time she wasn’t in a position to be part of Look Like Love, it was a lovely surprise to hear from Jennifer to let me know that she had set up her workshop and had a collection ready to go. As well as her minimalistic range on offer, she has teamed up with artist Susi Bellamy with a more colourful collection of vessels.

With the final preparations underway, and a range of talks and workshops throughout the week, I hope you can all pop down to see this extremely talented group of designers, all are ones to watch and a moment to celebrate the best of British design talent.

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What A Time To Be Alive

Last week I took a trip to High Wycombe for the launch of illustrator CM Carter’s exhibition, ‘What A Time To Be Alive.’

Under the name, Breakfast Champion, Claire’s irreverent comic-inspired illustrations actually signalled the launch of Look Like Love, when she featured in our very first blog post back in 2011, and I’ve been following her progress as an emerging graphic artist and illustrator ever since.

The Snug Gallery, a space within the The Belle Vue pub in High Wycombe, was the setting for her first solo exhibition, showcasing a variety of prints from her growing collection of stand-out illustrations.

Alongside were a selection of her limited edition comics, t-shirts and a large statement print. The muted tones off-set the dark comic humour she creates in a world of quirky characters which exude rebellion.

‘What A Time To Be Alive.’  is on until mid-March at;

The Belle Vue Snug Gallery
45 Gordon Rd,
High Wycombe,
Buckinghamshire
HP13 6EQ

Can’t make it? We have a selection of prints, comics and t-shirts available from CM Carter, with new pieces coming soon!

Off Life…

Creativity comes in many forms, last week we were at the Vogue Festival, negotiating our way through bloggers, photographers and passionate followers, (and leaders), showcasing their creativity through fashion. This week, we step off the commercially fuelled treadmill and turn our attention to what was at one time a childhood favourite, the comic book.

No longer a medium that simply interests children or sci-fi enthusiasts, the Beano annual collector that has nostalgia oozing from its chronologically ordered hardbacks, or a weekly pilgrimage to Forbidden Planet, the humble comic has in some ways grown up with its readers.

The popularity of graphic novels has had some part to play, but today, comics themselves have a dedicated and sophisticated audience, and an appreciation for this expressive story-telling is evident in the pick-up publication OFF LIFE.

The beauty in what OFF LIFE brings to modern-day comics is the collaborative approach it has. The idea of bringing together new, emerging and exciting storytellers and illustrators, with well-known comic artists is an exciting mix, and none more so than the new talent that gets chosen. The opportunity to sit alongside their own idols is an appeal that adds an interesting mix of styles and collected contributions.

Like us, they are equally passionate about supporting and promoting emerging talent,

"...we hope that OFF LIFE will be a stepping stone to all works of genius that exist out there in four colour print because bold voices in every art form deserves a place to shine. Yes, even comic slingers..."

Originally brought to our attention by one of our designers, CM Carter, (who features in Issue 4), we had to go and find ourselves a copy. The lovely thing about this is it's available in a variety of different places, from the grungy pubs of East London to The Old Vic in Bristol, opening up its reach to a whole new audience of appreciators...We'll certainly be swapping the fashion mags for a different take on escapism for a while...

Company Car by CM Carter