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New Talent Search 2016…here’s the shortlist!

After several weeks of deliberation and going through multiple applications, I’m pleased to announce the shortlist for New Talent Search 2016.

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First up is husband and wife team, Joel and Helena who set up Studio Haran after graduating from Falmouth University last Summer. Their emphasis is on sustainability and using locally sourced materials to create their furniture and lighting pieces.

Based in Cornwall, not far from where I grew up incidentally, they have steadily established themselves and their brand, and are testing the market with a few key pieces from their first collection.

I absolutely love the honestly of the craftsmanship, and the way that sustainability is such an important aspect of their design ethos. Katie at Confessions of a Design Geek has also recently interviewed them which you can read here.

Second on my shortlist is textile designer Adriana Jaroslavsky. A recent graduate of Chelsea College of Art and Design, she has developed a signature style of bold, geometric shapes and colour combinations that she has converted to silk scarves, and more recently her first range of notebooks.

Her experimental mark-making with a cross section of products, working without the constraints, and obvious order that tends to be a common theme today, means she was an easy choice as part of this year’s shortlist.

My final shortlisted designer is weaver Rowenna Mason. Based at Cockpit Arts Studio in Deptford, she has been honing her craft, building a strong portfolio of geometric, monochrome and colour blocking pieces, taking inspiration from London’s dynamic environment.

In her own words, she ‘…brings together the best of traditional technique, rural materials, innovative design and urban inspiration…’ The softness, the modernity and skill in Rowenna’s work that translates to soft furnishings and upholstery won me over, and I can’t wait to visit her studio to see her work in progress.

I would like to thank everyone that applied this year, it feels like the level of talent keeps going up, and it’s exciting to see the huge potential and range of UK based designers out there. We'll be back next year!

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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…

It Started With…

Nine months ago in our daily search for new and interesting design talent, we came across furniture designer and up-cycler Yinka Ilori. His approach to recycled design was something a bit different, and not your average shabby chic styling.
As a relatively new designer, (he graduated in 2008) he has been slowly building a following and portfolio of work. His strong design ethos of incorporating story-telling or Nigerian parables from his childhood gave a fresh perspective on furniture design, and the use of unloved pieces as a starting point added that extra depth to each piece.

We met Yinka in the depths of Winter with the intention of presenting his work through our on-line shop, when he pitched the idea of wanting to have his first solo show, and would we be interested in helping him achieve his goal...

 
Fast-forward to the evening of Thursday 12th September, and The Old Shoreditch Station on Kingsland Road in London is bustling with friends, family and press to celebrate the launch of 'It Started With A Parable' Yinka Ilori's first solo show, and a chance to celebrate our collaboration, and more importantly to showcase Yinka's unique furniture designs.
Set against the back-drop of the ultimate recycled building, The Old Shoreditch Station was brought back to life by its owners JaguarShoes Collective using a mish-mash of re-used furniture and fittings, and is now a thriving bar, cafe and shop in the heart of East London.
Yinka's pieces now adorn the windows, ceilings and walls in an explosion of colour and sculptural shapes.

Staying true to our company ethos of supporting, promoting and nurturing new designers, we feel we have achieved our goal, and in his speech on Thursday evening, Yinka feels he has achieved his too, our job here is done!

'It Started With A Parable' runs from 12th September to 24th November 
at The Old Shoreditch Station, 1 Kingsland Rd  London, E2 8AA

See the full photo album via our Facebook Page
All pieces are available to buy from
The Old Shoreditch Station now
and via Look Like Love in the next few weeks...

Look Like Love collaborates with designer Yinka Ilori…

'It Started With A Parable' A solo installation at The Old Shoreditch Station 
12th September to 24th November 2013
 
During the 6-week exhibition, coinciding with London Design Festival and in his first presentation of new work since Milan Design Week, Yinka Ilori adds pieces to his collection by using a combination of vintage modernist furniture and traditional stories from his childhood, creating one-off pieces inspired by traditional Nigerian parables and story-telling, creating meaningful yet humorous furniture designs.
Yinka will be at The Old Shoreditch Station for live up-cycling sessions, using pieces donated by Jaguar Shoes and vintage modernist furniture from across East London, working in all three spaces, the building itself having been renovated and up-cycled by its owners JaguarShoes Collective.
 
“This is a pivotal moment for Yinka who is stepping out of the guise of graduate designer to become an emerging talent. He has already showcased his work at the ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) in New York, and was selected to exhibit at Talents at Ambiente in Frankfurt, so the opportunity to feature alongside some of the world’s finest designers as part of London Design Festival adds to the excitement, and we are honoured to be collaborating with him on his first solo outing.” - Look Like Love

'It Started With A Parable' runs from 12th September to 24th November at Old Shoreditch Station, 1 Kingsland Rd  London, E2 8AA

Look Like Love - Set up by Kate Brewer and Eden Asfaha in 2011 to support, promote and showcase new designers, Look Like Love have extended their reach beyond their blog and on-line shop, to work with designers on an individual basis to co-curate, in Ilori’s case, his first solo exhibition.
Yinka Ilori - Product & furniture designer with the future in mind, Yinka Ilori up-cycles and re-works old, unloved furniture to produce brand new interpretations. Yinka Ilori aims to challenge perceptions of waste through the regeneration and revitalisation of every-day furniture, where every piece deserves the chance to be loved again. Yinka Ilori has benefited hugely from the Prince’s Trust who supported him when he graduated, and without their assistance, he would not be the successful designer he is today.
JAGUARSHOES COLLECTIVE - constitutes a group of creatively motivated businesses and individuals working in art, film, fashion, music, publishing and design. We provide many platforms for creative talent; from exhibitions and events, to collaborative products and retail opportunities. We believe in, and aim to motivate positive change through creative output.
Our launch will take place on Thursday 12th September from 7pm and we'd love to see you there...

Designed for Living…

Vibrancy comes in many forms; personality, style, creative expression, the list goes on, but this was the one word that came to mind when we were introduced to the House of Arike.

Creative Director Arike was born in Nigeria and raised in London, so the fusion of both African and Western cultures was something that came naturally. Combined with a love for interior design, it wasn't long before the House of Arike was founded, specialising in creating avant-garde, luxury, African print home accessories.

We have always loved the incredible colours and patterns created in African fabrics, so taking these cultural representations, and being able to see them in a domestic setting is very exciting.

We now have the pleasure of working with House of Arike on bringing you their first collection, and as their mission statement so concisely sums up, '...Inspired by Africa, Designed for Living...'