Blog, Press Show Picks

Top Drawer SS 2019

Top Drawer Spring Summer 2019

Top Drawer is the place where retailers view, inwardly digest, and then order for next season from the wholesalers and small independent companies. Due to its scale—11 curated sectors spreading across the entirety of Olympia London—and mix of brands across the lifestyle spectrum, Top Drawer attracts a range of retailers; from concept stores, museums shops, boutiques and independents to multiple retailers, garden centres and supermarkets.

The show lasts three days and can be exhausting, and just how many scented candles does a woman want?

This season they have called the show ‘Out of the Ordinary’, a great strap line and there is much to be seen that is out of the ordinary.

Talks and trails are included in the show and its diversity is such that I bumped into two friends of mine, the first a retailer on the look out for her shop, and the other a museum shop curator with a different clientele.

Gifts, hospitality, jewellery, accessories, well being, craft, cards food and home accessories are all on show and within these groups are sub sections:

 Mr: is a showcase of accessories, jewellery, design- led life style brands for the modern man.

Robin James founder of Men’s Lifestyle blog ‘ Man for himself’ said

“MR is such a great addition to Top Drawer London. I was really impressed by the brands and think that it can only get bigger and next season.”

Spotted: Is curated by Charlotte Abrahams a freelance writer author and curator specializing in design and applied arts. Think new; think market ready, original, hot talent, across all lifestyle sectors.

One of my favourites spied in ‘Spotted’ is a collection of fun textile products designed by Lorraine Ireland. Her company is called Oh Sew Home. Based around her love of mischievous and cheeky seagulls. www.ohsohome.com

Many companies are homing in on the need to be more sustainable and ethical, whether it is finding replacements for, or the reuse of plastic. The aptly named

Bees Wax Wrap Company have a reusable alternative to cling film. www.beeswaxwraps.co.uk

Another bees wax wrap company, who take their mission so seriously they don’t even produce business cards but put all their details on a chalk board so that you could photo them. www.GoodToBee.co.uk

As the owner Madeleine says

‘With GoodToBee I had the chance to create something from start to finish. Not just the wraps but a commitment to myself, and everyone else. Everything I now do and in every way I can, I will be as sustainable, ethical and low impact as I can be. Our fabric is  Global Organic Textile Standard. The beeswax is sourced from sustainable local hives just a few miles away, and we use only organic jojoba oil. Our packaging is 100% recycled post-consumer waste and my beautiful stamp is made from sustainably managed oak with a sapling being planted for each one the company makes. And we never use plastic in anything we do.

Eliminating plastic can be a daunting prospect but my hope is that family, friends and customers will feel able to make the swap to GoodToBee beeswax wraps and feel empowered that their efforts ‘ are a third Bees Wax wrap company they also sell cushion covers made from luxurious silky feel recycled polyester and organic cotton, all their thread is made from recycled bottles, all cotton is organic, their mailing bags are recyclable, they have a range of reusable products designed to divert waste from landfill or the oceans, their waste is donated to charity and non recyclables put into eco bricks. Their packaging is recyclable and they always try to support local suppliers.

https://www.harrisandhall.com

Bamboo is being used to make many products including fabrics, socks, bowls and cutlery, one of these products is Bamboo Cup designed to reduce the 2.5 billion plastic lined single use cups that go to landfill each year. Made mainly from sustainable, fast growing bamboo fiber and tested to the highest standards by TUV Rheinland, these cups feel lovely to hold. There are over 50 contemporary designs in the collection

www.blueeyedsun.co.uk

Lola and Mawa is décor and lifestyle brand based in the UK selling beautiful products sourced in Africa. The baskets and the indigo fabrics are particularly fine. They also produce a range of baskets made from recycled waste.

They say ‘We value traditional skills and will do everything we can to help artisanal communities to thrive. Every purchase at Lola & Mawu generates meaningful income for the makers and their families. We believe that diversity, the blending of traditions and the partnership between peoples of different cultures is the way to a better world.

Our name is a symbol of that partnership between Lola, the Founder, and Mawu, the African goddess of creation, embodied by the incredibly talented artisans we work with.

Another socially conscious and environmentally aware company is https://paguroupcycle.com/

 Their products are made from recycled materials including leather, inner tubes, wood. As they reclaim, reimagine and reinvent they produce jewelry.

My choices are not all up cycled. There are lots of people with new twists on old techniques or ideas. For example Michelle Harvey from Melbourne creates under the name www.crayonchick.com.au

Crayon Chick has designed and made a range of covetable original products including wall hangings, weave bowls and knot necklaces.

It was nice to see the much loved company Thornback and Peel designers of tea towels, coaster, trays, cosmetic bags and cushion covers. They tend to use one or at most 2 colours and produce very desirable sophisticated designs. www.thornbackandpeel.co.uk

If what you are looking for is a simple natural skincare, bath and beauty range then look no further than the new company Divine and Handmade.

On the food front it was a real treat to find Isle of Wight based company called pinks. Their logo looks like a flying snitch. They make butters, jellies and curds all of which are suitable for vegetarians and are delicious.

www.pinksfoods.co.ukh

With so much interesting design I have only touched on a tiny portion of what is available, but you will see it in the shops and on line in the coming months. Juliet Bawden www.creativecolour.org

Exhibitions, Uncategorized

Orla Kiely: A Life in Pattern

This summer the Fashion and Textile Museum is hosting an exhibition ‘A Life in Pattern’ showcasing the work of Orla Kiely

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This is the first exhibition to feature her work. She set up her company in 1995 after graduating from the RCA . Before that she worked as a textile designer for the company Esprit. After leaving the RCA she produced a small collection of accessories for Harrods. Originally she was producing hats. After attending a trade show with Orla, her father suggested she venture into producing bags, as he had noticed that he hadn’t seen a single woman wearing a hat but they were all carrying bags!

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Her work is inspired by the patterns of the 1950’s and 1960’s, by designers such as Mary Quant, Shirley Craven and Lucienne Day. IMG_1455

Nature is the most significant inspiration for her designs. Each design is developed carefully by drawing and refining the essential organic elements that are the foundation of her repeating designs.

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The exhibition is presented thematically rather than chronologically, and explores all aspects of Orla’s creative output, from lifestyle and fashion ranges to use of colour and detail and the geometry of pattern.

The exhibition draws on an archive of over 20 years work, offering visitors incite into her methods and concepts, exploring sketches, mood boards samples and a range of techniques.

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The exhibition charts the growth and success of the Orla Kiely brand from her first hats presented in London Fashion Week 1994 through the advent of the iconic Orla Kiely bag in the mid nineties to her freelance work for department stores undertaken from her kitchen table in 1998IMG_1472
Orla’s patterns work on any scale, and the exhibition brings a playful element with super sized dresses alongside tiny dolls in replica dresses.

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Her dresses and bags are displayed on the mezzanine floor. What strikes one after a while is that the work has evolved and is still evolving. Pieces from different collections and different years, work well together. IMG_1457

The work is beautiful, original, well thought out made to the highest standards. The exhibition is a must see. It has been put together by Dennis Nothdruff Head of Exhibitions at Fashion and Textile museum and by Mary Schoeser Exhibition curator and Textile historian. There is an excellent book published by Conran Octopus called A Life in Pattern that I shall be reviewing soon on the blog.

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