New Designer’s Part 1-2016

Year on year the level of talent that comes out of UK universities continues to rise, making New Designer's a pivotal and key event in my calendar. Part One consists of Fashion and Textiles, Jewellery, Ceramics and Contemporary Design Crafts, combining contrasting tactility of fabric, metals and porcelain.

Thursday for me is always a good time to look around, just far enough away from the stress of setting-up and the hustle and bustle of the preview and awards evening, it allows time and space to enjoy the array of stands, and talk with some of the designers about their work.

Inspiration ranged from the idea of zero wastage and the challenge of evolving work in this way, (Nikkita Palmer) to using the culture of Japan as a back-drop to not only the design process, but also the way that East and West gravitate towards different forms of beauty. (Samantha McNamara)

Bold colour mixed with brutalist architectural references, (Bethany Stafford) added a modern approach to ceramic design, allowing the user to play and create their own block combinations, whereas a more muted collection in pastel hues was presented in a cluster of curved vessels, (Holly Kemp).

It was also impressive to see an interior business already in full swing, professional and focused with a lean towards homeware, the ceramics on show used natural textures working alongside grey hues (Day Design)And away from the ceramics and craft, the sparkle of silver and gold took a back seat as the hard, angular metal pieces caught my eye, (Violeta Kozlova).

Whether practical or decorative, the range of work on show was inspiring, exciting, forward-thinking and brimming with confidence.

Designers from Left to Right...

Top - Day Design/ Nikkita Palmer/ Violeta Kozlova
Bottom - Bethany Stafford/ Samantha McNamara/ Holly Kemp

Tamsin Arrowsmith-Brown

Made In Clerkenwell returns for Spring

Certain areas of London are renowned for their qualities and quirks be it cultural, aesthetic, architectural or demographic. One such area that stands out for its strong creative roots is Clerkenwell. Sandwiched in part by The Barbican, on the edge of the City, and also close to both Islington and Shoreditch, this small district has been a hub for designers of all disciplines for many years.

With Vitra plotting its London flagship here, as well as Clerkenwell Design Week growing in popularity yearon year, Craft Central have a relatively quiet spot in the heart of EC1. Perched on the corner of Clerkenwell Green, with a larger Victorian building on St. John’s Square just across the road, it offers not only short-term, (and affordable) gallery spaces for its members, but also a larger support network for new, emerging and established designers/makers.

One of it’s main events is Made In Clerkenwell, a bi-annual showcase that celebrates the 100 resident designers and members across its two spaces, opening their doors to the public for a ‘behind-the-scenes’ wander around the studios, and the opportunity to buy directly from designers before pieces reach stockists and retailers.

Forest + Found

This Spring the focus is on all things new, so expect to see pre-launch collections as well as work-in- progress prototypes, and a glimpse at designers’ processes and inspiration.

Tamsin Arrowsmith-Brown

‘We are extremely excited to offer visitors the chance to view new collections and prototypes by our designer makers, try out specialist crafts through Bezalel Workshops as well as learn more about the history of Clerkenwell through our guided walking tours. A particular highlight will be awarding one of our talented members £500 to develop their new collection’  says Louisa Pacifico, Chief Executive, Craft Central

Megan Collins

Expect to see an array of talented designers including our very own hand-picked jewellery designer Megan Collins, Forest and Found and Tamsin Arrowsmith-Brown.

Made In Clerkenwell: Spring 2016 is on from 18-21 May.
Further details can be found at: www.craftcentral.org.uk

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

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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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!

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…

Make a Wish…

We don't know about you but we are pretty unorganised when it comes to Christmas. Maybe it's something to do with the fact that we just don't feel Christmassy until at least the 15th December, despite all the tinsel and tunes going into overdrive as soon as the first door opens on the advent calendar!

With that said, we want to make sure you are all sorted with an almost last minute Christmas wish list, of some of our favourite pieces ready and waiting to be gift wrapped just for you…

We can exclusively launch a new collection from the very talented Nicola Reed, who being one of our original graduate designers, returns as a Look Like Love alumni with her latest collection.
Her signature look, using vintage pieces and felt mixed with precious stones and silver makes this latest offering something special to adorn at the Christmas dinner table and beyond…

A limited edition print is always a firm favourite when it comes to stocking fillers, so Kayleigh Hadley's individually hand-drawn illustrations and quotes will definitely work their magic…

There's always room for a little more colour, so why not start January with one, two or a few of these African print cushions from House of Arike to brighten up those long, grey Winter days…

A New year beckons, so clear the decks and start those to-do lists, it's time to get organised with the help of Clea Jentsch's desk tidy collection…

As well as these talented new designers, there's plenty more to see in our shop, and don't forget to enter discount code XMASTREAT at the check-out for 10% off all orders*

Have an amazing Christmas, love from Kate & Eden xx

*Discount valid until 19th December at 6.00pm