Fund a future designer…

Whether a past or present designer I've had the pleasure to work with, I'll always try and help as much as I can with their own endeavours or projects.

One such designer who featured her first womenswear collection both on-line and at two of our pop-ups is Reece Curtis-Walwyn last year, is continuing to flourish and build her own womenswear label. But with all businesses, this is no mean feat.

Having been asked to present her latest collections as this Winter's Clothes Show Live in Birmingham, she is in need of a helping hand to get her there, and has launched her own crowd funding page to go towards the cost of the stand. Like all crowd funding sites, she is offering an array of pieces for pledges ranging from new collection t-shirts to a signature RCW jacket.

To give an emerging designer a helping hand, click on the link below to pledge your support...

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/fund-a-future-designer

We'll be selling RCW t-shirts in support too, available in the next couple of weeks

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Setting The Pace

It seems crazy to think that a whole year has gone by since our 'Hand-Picked' exhibition of emerging designers was in full swing as part of London Design Festival.

A lot has happened in the last 12 months, and for one of our hand-picked designers, it has meant the creation of her business and brand RCW, and showcasing her womenswear collection at London Fashion Week.

Last weekend, Reece Curtis-Walwyn presented her latest work in Devonshire Square, Central London, as part of the Independent Collections runway show. With a mix of her statement pieces, she added a few new feminine touches to her work. It was always lovely to see her collaborating with one of our other designers, Amy Leigh, who provided her statement jewellery to add the finishing touch to Reece's presentation.

Her work always exudes independence, confidence, and strength, without neglecting the importance of femininity, and I'm proud to see that she has not only achieved this with her clothes, but with her own determination to succeed in one of the hardest creative industries.

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So what's next for the formidable fashion force? Reece has big plans unsurprisingly, with Paris Fashion Week a distinct possibility, as well as her first solo pop-up store. Knowing how determined she is, I guarantee you'll be seeing RCW stores popping up everywhere in the not too distant future.

 

Amy LeighAlexandra WebbCM CarterCM CarterRose HonickRose HonickHolly Eden & Lucy WilkinsJennifer StaffordJennifer StaffordLale GuralpLale GuralpLale GuralpLucy WilkinsRoisin ConnollyRoisin ConnollyRoisin ConnollyReece Curtis-WalwynSophie CobbSophie CobbTom HutchinsonTom Hutchinson

Pop-up on Paul Street

Clerkenwell Design Week has been growing in stature over the last few years, and being on the fringe of the fringe of it, surrounded by such talented designers was amazing.

Four months of planning, picking and prettifying later, and I had my first proper Look Like Love shop. It may only have been for one week, but it gave me a sense of excitement that one day having a permanent space to showcase new designers was definitely something to aim for. The launch brought friends, family and curious passers-by together, sharing in the experience with a range of limited edition products, prints and prosecco on offer.

I never go into a space with any expectations on who will pop in, what will sell, and how much money will be taken, as for me, along with the designers, this is all still very new and I'm learning and growing my brand in parallel with all of them. That being said, I couldn't have put it together without their amazing work, help and company, and we now share not only in what real customers think about the work, but we're pretty good at putting up some particularly tricky vinyl too!

Click on 'Read More' to see images from launch night...

  • Amy Leigh
  • Roisin Connolly

Pop-Up+ Campaign Design

With 4 weeks to go until the launch of our next pop-up, I wanted to turn the attention to the events calendar we’ve put in place, an exciting new addition to Look Like Love.

It seems like a pop-up, well, pops up every week in London, and with Clerkenwell Design Week happening a stones throw away, we wanted to present a pop-up+ so an opportunity to meet the designers taking part, working in the space, creating their one-off and limited editions live in store. We wanted to showcase their work, as well as their story and unique point of view as an emerging talent jostling for position in an ever-competitive creative industry.

Sitting alongside these fresh faces, we have invited creatives with over 20 years industry experience to talk about their approach and how they have made their mark on the creative landscape, as well as offering guidance and advice to the next generation.

On Wednesday 20th May, creative director Philip Handford of London-based agency Campaign Design, will talk about the Future of Retail Design and how the experiential elements of design are carving out a new shopping experience for consumers.

 

Burberry, London

 

Philip has worked for some of the most successful global design agencies, including Imagination and Universal Design Studio before setting-up Campaign, securing Burberry as his first client.

The last five years have seen the agency grow with clients including 3.1 Philip Lim, Dunhill and Selfridges to name a few, with each having a unique point of view, there is definitely no ‘house style’ when you look at the portfolio of projects on Campaign’s website.

 

 3.1 Philip Lim | Pelham Street, London

 

With The Fragrance Lab taking over the entire corner of Selfridges late last year, and the first time customers could walk through the window, it was a unique sensory experiential journey to create a bespoke fragrance, the ultimate personal service without a pushy spraying sale assistant in sight.

This approach to retail design that envelopes the customer gives an interesting insight into consumer behaviours, something that Philip continues to explore at varying levels depending on the client and environment.

 

The Fragrance Lab | Selfridges, London

 

Come and meet Philip on Wednesday 20th May from 2-3pm as he talks about his approach and point of view when it comes to design that engages all the senses.

Spaces are limited, so book your free ticket here.

See what else is on offer during the week on our Up-coming Events page

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.

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.

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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!

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!