Saturday, 5 July 2014

From Part One to Part Two...

One of the favourite parts of our job is scouting the degree shows for new talent, and 2014 has proved to be another hugely talented year.

New Designer's held at Islington's Business Design Centre every Summer is the hub for the UK's Universities, coming together to showcase the very best of their creative talent. This is our third year of attending and here are a few of our favourite finds over the last two weeks…

Part One

Amy Pegler

We starting following Amy Pegler, a graduate from Hereford University, a few weeks before New Designers as we loved her graphic, urban environment inspired textiles. There's a freshness to her designs that caught our eye, and were lucky enough to meet her and have a chat about her collection too.

Melody Vaughan

Melody Vaughan from Nottingham Trent University had an interesting take on ceramics, and her pieces were more of an interactive, visual tool as well as a sculptural one. We loved the moulded shapes and colour combinations that formed the stand-out collection.


Aimee Bollu

Also from Nottingham Trent University, Aimee Bollu's final collection was based around collecting and hoarding, with a touch of her own OCD. Mixed with her beautifully simple ceramic pieces, she combined found objects from the streets of Nottingham, otherwise deemed unloved, or uninteresting, and puts them at the forefront of what makes her work elegant, understated and modern.


Francesca Stride

A graduate from Glasgow School of Art, Francesca Stride had a very different way of displaying her wares. Using 2D card cut-out figures to drape her creations, the collection aptly titled 'Compositions for a Cardboard Cut-out' showcased industrial knitting techniques with fine wool to create a bold and colourful collection.


Part Two

Daniel Lau

Daniel Lau, a graduate from Nottingham Trent's Product and Furniture Design degree was on-hand to show us his chair collection, and chat about his future plans. Already successfully in production in the UK, an important aspect for Daniel, his Kai collection of wireframe chairs were striking, and finished impeccably. Available in a range of colours to suit the user, we loved the simplicity of the design and Daniel's passion for British-based design and manufacture.


Joshua Townley

Joshua Townley's playful illustrative style caught our eye with his monochrome piece perched amongst a sea of colourful examples. We loved his work with just enough charm mixed with the right level of dark humour.


Alice Greatrex

The soft green hue used in Alice Greatrex's ceramic collection was stunning. We both loved the simplicity of the crafted pieces by the Loughborough graduate as well as the display itself. Without having to shout look at me, it was one of our stand-out collections from this year's crop of new talent.

Charles Parford-Plant

One of our final spots was by product and furniture graduate Charles Parford-Plant. His Tension collection showed how it is possible to create beautifully crafted, elegant and functional furniture without using a myriad of fixings to construct it. One top, four legs and four rubber tension bands are all it takes to put this table together, no assembly instructions required.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Watch This Space...


After quite a few stressful weeks of searching, we can now confirm we've found a gallery space to showcase a range of fantastic new and emerging designers, including the newest additions from our New Talent Search, as well as officially launch our all singing all dancing e-commerce site!

We have already begun the exciting, although slightly daunting process of curating our newest crop, and hope to find a few more fresh faces at the upcoming New Designers and D&AD New Blood graduate shows over the coming weeks to add to the mix of illustrators, product, furniture and fashion designers you'll see on show in a few months time during London Design Festival, so, watch this space…


Saturday, 7 June 2014

Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants...


It's our third week of showcasing new designers from our New Talent Search, and this week we are excited to introduce fashion designer Reece Curtis-Walwyn.


A graduate from Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication in Fashion Womenswear in 2013, her final collection really stood out for us.

We have to say that it wasn't until we saw her collection up close that we really appreciated the craftsmanship that had gone into it. The tailored pieces are structured, yet feminine and all exquisitely finished.

So it was no surprise to learn that Reece has won several awards since graduating including, Young Designer to Watch 2013 and Own Label Graduate Fashion Competition. And had the opportunity to dress Jenni Steele for the BAFTA noiminations and film premier for 'Home Again'.


Reece's final collection 'Ventor Deform' takes inspiration from the motto, 'Standing on the shoulders of Giants' and the documentary 'Nina Conti- A Ventriloquist's Story: Her Master's Voice'. She also took influences from contortionism, and gaining an understanding of how the body can be portrayed in different shapes and positions.

There is a strength in Reece's work that really impressed us, and each piece she presented was a subtle nod to empowered dressing without being overtly masculine.


Reece's collection will be available as made-to-order sizes from September

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Beneath the Surface..


This week we introduce the second new designer who'll be joining us from September, Printed Textile Designer, Holly Eden.
A 2013 graduate from De Montford University, Holly came to see us last weekend with one of the largest collections of printed silks we've seen to date!

Holly's final collection entitled, 'Beneath the Surface', was inspired by an old mansion house with layers and layers of decaying and contrasting patterns lining its walls, each of her printed silks representing these layers as if they had been peeled away.


Hues of aquamarine, lemon yellow and accents of pink and grey give the collection a soft, fresh feel, with a whimsical hand-drawn aesthetic she has screen-printed onto each scarf. There is also a certain romanticism with each piece, as if you'd stumbled across an old hatbox filled with vintage silks.



She is currently working full-time as a designer-maker, and has recently added silk headbands to her graduate collection, a selection of which, along with her scarves will be available in the next few months.

Monday, 26 May 2014

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…




Saturday, 3 May 2014

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.


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.


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…



Saturday, 5 April 2014

A Creative Kickstart…


We first came across Tom Hutchinson's work during our annual scout of 'New Designers'. Sat quietly in the corner of the Islington's Business Design Centre, three simply crafted and beautifully minimal glass,  timber and felt pieces were on show, and immediately caught our eye.

Tom of course made our shortlist, and having been in frequent contact about stocking his elegant wares, he told us about his Kickstarter project to take his first collection from the workshop to full scale production.


Based in the heart of York in the UK, Tom and his business partner JJ are passionate about beautiful materials, quality craftsmanship and thoughtful design. After graduating in November 2013 with a degree in Product Design and Business Management, he set about creating his first homeware range, Obtineo, combining contemporary design with traditional manufacturing methods, and all entirely crafted in the UK. The simplicity of the range gives it amazing versatility, from classic kitchen storage, to a place to keep your keys.


His Kickstarter project hit our inbox a little over a week ago accompanied by a short film and a selection of his pieces to pledge for. Instantly spoilt for choice we are keeping our fingers crossed that in a few months time, not only have Tom and JJ reached there goal,  we also have our very own piece of the Obtineo range!

Tom's story is exactly why we do what we do. New design talent in the UK shouldn't be overlooked, dreams shouldn't be put to one side. Passion, persistence and the belief in an idea is all you need to do something that you love…


If you would like to support Tom's project, visit tomhutchinsondesign.co.uk and click Kickstarter to find out more...

*All images are copyright of Tom Hutchinson Design