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

Colours To Dye For

As a designer myself, it feels like there is a natural default when looking at concepts for a new project. Unless otherwise briefed of course, a moodboard can quickly emerge that includes sleek, minimal images. An abundance of monochrome details, and the mainstay, grey, whether warm or cool, will feature in some capacity. We are sometimes a little afraid of colour, there'll be an accent here, a detail there, but to fully embrace colour is often a rarity.

House of Arike, the independent British brand has tapped into this fear, and are asking us to fully immerse ourselves in not only colour, but pattern too. In 2013 Creative director Yemi Onibiyo decided to leave her career in Criminal Law behind and follow her dream to start a luxury interior design business.

Taking inspiration from traditional African fabrics, Yemi and her design team create prints with a contemporary edge. Using responsibly sourced, sustainable materials, everything is designed and produced in the UK.

I met up with Yemi a few weeks ago as she launched her new collection at Tent London, her first time there, as part of London Design Festival. Having spent time developing her brand, and launching her website, the latest collection shows a new level of confidence in her bold use of colour. Something that did not go unnoticed by interiors magazine Living Etc, picking House of Arike out as their 'one to watch'.

As well as continuing to produce soft furnishings, Yemi is also expanding her brand with small homeware pieces, namely coasters and oven gloves, to appeal to a wider audience, as well as spill colour across every room.

House of Arike's mission is clear, even if you remove just one bland piece from your home, replace with a hit of colour. Whether a coaster or a cushion, it's time to not be afraid of bold patterns and clashing prints, and you'll be safe in the knowledge that it'll always look good next to a grey backdrop.

House of Arike's new collection will be available to buy at The London Artisan at Truman Brewery, on the 22nd November at the Look Like Love stall.

 

New Designer’s 2015 – Part One; Surface Pattern & Textiles

After a few technical issues with the blog this week, I can finally bring you my favourite Surface Pattern and Textiles graduates from New Designers...All my top finds from Part 2 are coming soon...

Harriet Mackie
Leeds School of Art
Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design

I had the pleasure of meeting Harriet when I visited, and she took me through her extensive portfolio of colourful, clashing, bright prints. Each design starts with a simple hand-drawn study which is then converted into a repeat pattern to eventually be used on wallpaper, gift wrap and accessories. Harriet is intending to use the facilities available at Leeds School of Art to further develop her collection, and in the meantime, I’ll be seeing how many rooms I can re-decorate to include her designs.
http://www.artsthread.com/portfolios/tropicalefflorescence/

 

Siobhan Louise
Carmarthen School of Art
Textiles; Knit, Weave, Mixed Media

Siobhan’s collection of cushions, plates and mugs with her geometric influences really stood-out. Inspiration comes in many forms, so it was surprising and refreshing that her final pieces were based around her love of football, and the abstracted patterns have created a strong collection of simple monochrome magic.
www.facebook.com/SiobhanLouiseTextiles

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.

Repetition Rules

During a recent trip back to Nottingham Trent University, ex-student and one of our designers Lucinda Ireland, went to talk to some of the current crop of students studying Graphic Design.

Lucinda also became a Look Like Love talent scout for the day, and one graphic design student in particular caught her eye, second year student Ella Robinson.

Still honing her craft, the French-born 21 year old has a real freshness to her illustrative creations, and the repetition in her work gives them a real presence, developing a fun, refined style of working.

I try, as best as possible, to stay true to traditional illustrative techniques…and am driven by exploring and constantly absorbing memorising imagery, I’m aiming to develop a future of engaging, limitless surface prints…

I don’t often talk about commerciality in graduate collections, as there needs to be a certain freedom of expression to students work, but I also feel that it shouldn't be ignored, and this is something that Ella has managed to capture, consciously or not. It’s easy to imagine her work as a wallpaper, or print on fabric for cushions, tea towels or everyone’s favourite canvas bag. (You can never have too many!)

With her final year fast approaching, it’s an exciting time to showcase her personality as well as her passion for print-making, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

CM-02CM-04CM-08

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!

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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!