FEATURED : NATALIA LEWANDOWSKA | PIA DESIGN | HEMMING & WILLS | LONDON BATHERS | BLACK & SIGI | VALENTINA KARELLAS | CLAIRE GAUDION
ESTILA inspiring stories for creatives in business VOLUME 11/ ISSUE 44
EDITORS Karolina Barnes Emilia Vespoli Flavia Young / luxe-layers.com Nicola McCullough / strawberryblondebeauty.com GUEST CONTRIBUTOR Erica Wolfe-Murray
FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHERS Anna Yankovski Nicola McCullough COVER ART Natalia Lewandowska, the story on p 6 A big thank you to all our editors, contributors and everyone who continues to support ESTILA. ESTILA bookazine is designed and published by STUDIO/ESTILA t/a Palantti Ltd. The entire content of this publication is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without written consent from the publisher. The views expressed in this publication are those of the respective contributors and are not necessarily CONTACT
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WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF ESTILA
This world is but a canvas to our imagination. Henry David Thoreau
FOR CREATIVES BY CREATIVES ESTILA bookazine tells the untold and powerful stories of amazingly talented creatives who have gone through frustrations, tipping points and aha-moments that have led them onto a path of entrepreneurship. From art and design to lifestyle, we touch on issues faced by modern creative businesses. But more importantly, with each issue we are growing a community of newcomers, changemakers, forward thinkers and inspirers, connecting designers, brands, artists and other creatives to each other. This is your networking source on paper. And so as you read through the following pages, ask yourself: can I spot a new contact or an opportunity for a collaboration? Engage your creative thinking and imagination.
VOLUME 11/ ISSUE 44
Featured brand stories COVER STORY Natalia Lewandowska p6
Hemming & Wills p16 London Bathers p24
Valentina Karellas p30 Pia Design p36 Beauty brands p44 pod + Patternity p48
Black & Sigi p54 Adventures in Furniture p58 Claire Gaudion p62
Nocera & Ferri p68 Graeme Hopper p74 Skin Alchemists p80 Donna Ford p84
n recent months I had many conversations about sustainability. As consumers,
we are being bombarded with "sustainable", sometimes not-so-credible, messages used as a marketing tool, but what does it actually mean? Can companies manufacture fully sustainable products, distribute them sustainably and implement sustainable measures in their back office? While it may be a current buzz word, the reality seems to be that there is still a long way to go before we reach 100% sustainability. This issue aims to open a conversation about some of the untold challenges, unspoken frustrations, extremely difficult compromises and barriers small brands and designers face when trying to be "sustain|able". My hope is that if you are a business owner who battles with similar issues you realise that you are not alone, and if you are trying to change your habits to more sustainable living you will gain not only an insight into the efforts companies have to make to become more sustain|able, but also it will give you some ideas and tips. In the spirit of recycling and repurposing, can you believe that our beautiful cover was created from our past magazine copies? Natalia Lewandowska, an artist and multidisciplinary creative, used some of our old, damaged pages and turned them into this stunning piece of collage art. But there is more. Look out for Graeme Hopper story (p74), showcasing his take on sustainability through art. As always, thank you for reading and your continuous support. It truly means a lot. Without you, we wouldn't be able to provide such a supportive platform where small creative businesses can share their stories. Karolina Barnes / editor-in-chief
COVER STORY Natalia Lewandowska
Multi disciplinary creativity interview by Karolina Barnes art by Natalia Lewandowska
wo boxes of our magazine with unsellable copies were collecting dust for over a
year in our office. With our strictly no throwaway policy I knew that we had to come up with something which would turn them into something new. But what? Maybe paper bracelets or a new piece of art? And that's how our cover collaboration with Natalia Lewandowska came about. Natalia is a true multidisciplinary creative. From designing a perfume bottle and commercial interiors, working on large-scale hand drawn illustration to using different media for her collage art, her signature style is defined by a collection of influences drawn from life, nature and society. Her work is captivating as well as thought-provoking.
Previous page: Who is She? 7
Firstly can you tell us a little bit about your journey and how you got into the art world? Expressing through an art form was natural for me from the very beginning. When I was in kindergarten, my mother saw me drawing dragonflies that were featured on book covers. Throughout my formative years, I attended drawing and painting courses, ceramic classes and stained glass workshops after school and during weekends. When I was 18, it was only natural for me to study at the University of Arts in London. Subsequently, I was determined to win the HSBC Bank Bursary to sponsor my Master degree at the Royal College of Art. At the time, I was interested in designing innovative hypnosis to enhance inner creativity and my tutor encouraged me to pursue my interest further. Thanks to her, my thesis was described by Jonathan Miles as ‘Distinctive in all dimensions’ and I received the Quentin Blake Narrative Drawing Award which I wasn’t expecting at all. We love your varied approach to your work. What media do you use to bring it all together? I always have been doing my own thing. When I was little I created costumes out of pantyhose and I was dressing my little brother as a ‘Ninja riding on a turtle’ (I was the turtle). I was building a space base for him out of books, CDs or blankets to play Star Wars. The same applies to my projects. I take all possible media to create my vision. Some might say that I should stick to one medium, like painting or drawing, but it never seems right. Therefore, it is always hard to explain what I actually do. Am I a designer, an illustrator or an artist? For instance, my large-scale hand drawn illustration is etched on the 30 meters long stainless steel wall and it is installed at the Eurostar Ticket Hall at London King's Cross railway station. I created a brand identity for several English establishments. I designed a perfume bottle, a suitcase and commercial interiors, from the pattern on the floor to the ceiling in New York and St. Petersburg. It’s not so surprising that one might wonder what I’m all about.
I always have been doing my own thing. I take all possible media in order to create my vision. Previous page: Mother Nature
This page: Procopius of Caesarea | Next page: Veet Oriental
This page: Mrs K
This page: Snow Under
What are your creative processes and go-to resources for inspiration? Everything starts with research - always very extensive and thorough. Once I gather all the information, ideas seem to flow naturally. The deeper the research is, the better. In the end, I face my own network of information that presents the answers. However, I do have one more method. Dreams. I have rare insomnia since I was a child, which means that every morning I wake up during the dream. Sometimes I need five minutes to understand where I am. It happens every single morning. It is rather exhausting, but having said that, I do witness interesting stories. Sometimes my mind builds whole cities with detailed architecture and futuristic vehicles. You’ve exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts during their Summer Exhibition. Can you tell us how that came about and where else have you shown your work? Were there any challenges you had to overcome? To be honest I have submitted my artwork on the last day of the deadline and I wasn’t expecting to be selected. Also, I was very lucky to be exhibited in the bright and spacious ‘Lecture Room’ gallery, which was curated by British artist and Royal Academician, Stephen Chambers. Overall, my goal is to take part in exhibitions, shows or installations as much as possible, and I have been doing so each year since 2009. So far I took part in exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Saatchi Gallery and Truman Brewery. I found The Other Art Fair particularly challenging because I had to create a Crowdfunding campaign to pay for my stand. It was very intense and hard but a very rewarding experience in the end. What are your plans for the near future? Where can we see and buy your work? At the moment I am working on a project in Boston, but unfortunately, I can’t say anything more about it yet. My artworks are available for purchase at the Saatchi Art online gallery, the Artfinder online marketplace or directly through me. I am planning a few exhibitions in the near future so follow me on Instagram where I will keep you posted.
natalialewandowska.co.uk artfinder.com/natalia-lewandowska |saatchiart.com/natalialewandowska IG @natalia.lewandowska.art
Newcomers are creative minds who are passionate about what they do and excited about their new journey. They have probably made some form of transition and personal reinvention. They are full of energy and enthusiasm and want everyone to know about them. Here we give them the space to introduce their story to you.
Hemming & Wills
Alternative homeware interview by Karolina Barnes, photography provided by Chris Woolfenden
e all know that we should be doing more when sourcing products and fur-
nishings for our own or client's home. The impact mass manufacturing, transportation and deforestation have on air pollution, and therefore our health and our planet, make daily headlines. While we are much more aware these days and want to change our habits, sometimes it can still be challenging to make that shift. Being time poor to find that perfect piece and high price points prevent some of us from going any further. Only the ones who persevere in their search find what they are looking for - a unique design alternative to the mainstream high street and online brands at accessible price points and ethically made too! Hemming & Wills offer just that. Chris Woolfenden, the founder of Hemming & Wills, tells us more...
Firstly can you tell us a little more about your journey and how and why you decided to leave your 9-5 job to start H&W? The origins of Hemming & Wills go way back. When growing up, I always had an interest and passion for home interiors – we moved pretty often so maybe that had something to do with it. I was sometimes asked for advice from my parents – I’ve always had an eye for the nicer things! But a regular ‘9-5’ (often much later!) IT career kept me distracted for many years, despite it never really leaving me fulfilled. Having always had an entrepreneurial yearning, I’m sure I wasn’t always the best employee, constantly wanting to be doing things in my own right and grumbling (my other half was definitely getting bored of it!)! So with fast approaching 40, combining with my ever increasing lack of passion for my IT career and some real frustrations we experienced when furnishing our new place in Manchester (I ended up buying pendant lights from Germany to get something a little different, yet still affordable), it was time to make a stand! H&W was born. We love finding businesses that put sustainability at the core of their mission and purpose. What is your view on the homeware/interiors industry and consumerism in general? What can brands like yours do to educate the customer? There are so many online, high street or out of town retailers. Some are excellent at what they do whilst others just appear faceless, lack individuality and the service they offer appears questionable. There also seems to be a split between ‘fast home fashion’ with consumers heading to budget friendly retailers, or on the other hand high end designer retailers for consumers with bigger budgets. Whichever way, there is a limited choice for consumers wanting sustainable choices when furnishing their homes, particularly when it comes to contemporary styles. We want to change that by providing a platform for showcasing contemporary, design-led home furnishings and homewares, including sustainable products so consumers have these choices available. We also want to champion smaller, emerging, independent makers and manufacturers with a focus on those who are British (our exclusive partnership with Moom lighting is an example of this). By doing this, we hope to be able to make more locally made and sustainable products available to customers at accessible prices.
Our mission is to give customers locally made and sustainable products at accessible prices.
By showcasing these products, we aim to help customers see there are real alternatives to both mainstream, cheaper products and those that are higher end, together with demonstrating it is possible to have both contemporary and sustainably furnished homes. Our mission is to create "Happiness at Home" by helping people create beautiful homes they can be proud of both in terms of design and sustainability. All backed by exceptional customer experience, we genuinely recognise our customers are the heartbeat of H&W and we’re here to help in any way we can. Of course, with being a new brand we’re up against bigger players but we would encourage customers who wish to shop more consciously to do a bit of research via blogs, online publications and social media for sustainable choices, rather than just revert to the default of mainstream home interior products. By investing a bit of time, we can all do our bit to help the environment and if we all start to make small changes, the collective impact will be much greater! What is the most sustainable product you offer? We’re really excited about our exclusive range of sustainably made, handcrafted pendant lights from an emerging British maker, Moom, based in Bournemouth. They use a traditional method of manufacture called 'metal spinning' in which a metal disc is shaped in a similar way to clay being formed in a potter's wheel. They breathe new life into disused moulds (known as chucks) that would otherwise have been discarded and consigned to the scrap heap. In a former life, they may have been used to create anything from airplane nose-cones to gas cylinders to musical instruments but now they live on and are used to create Moom’s beautiful light collection. It’s this sustainable loop of reusing old materials and reducing waste to create long lasting, design-led lighting, that really fits so well with us here at H&W. There are six different pendant style lights that will complement any home or commercial interiors: The Callisto is perhaps the most classic of the range yet in a modern contemporary style and available in a variety of classic and contemporary colours. The neck of the lights is finished in either brass or copper and there’s a colour complementary fabric braided cable, which creates a stunning lamp suited to living, dining and kitchen spaces as well as commercial spaces. Price £185
The Maha takes the lead from fisherman’s lamps! It’s a modern take on a classic style that combines stunning contemporary finishes and beech wood, paired with a colour coordinated fabric braided cable. They look stunning in kitchen and dining spaces. From £195 The Murama is aviation inspired. It takes its shape and design from an airplane nosecone and is definitely a statement light, yet maintains a simple, clean design. Finished in both striking colours (check out the bold orange!) as well more classic shades, it works really well in both larger living and commercial spaces. Price £180 The Aku is the baby of the Moom collection but its size doesn’t detract from its understated style. In stunning colours or natural lacquered copper, brass or aluminium finishes, complemented by a hand-turned wooden top and colour coordinated fabric braided cable, they’re perfect paired up in a dining or living space. They will add contemporary charm in abundance. Price £170 The Artemis is a traditionally styled pendant light with a twist. Its powder coated finishes create a stunning contemporary look. There is a range of metal finishes available - copper, brass or aluminium, which can be left 'raw' to age naturally for a real industrial look, or they can be lacquered to maintain a newer, more modern look. The lights are complemented by colour coordinated hanging chains and fabric braided cables. The flexibility of the Artemis allows it to work in many living, dining and commercial spaces. Price from £190 The Oberon is perhaps the boldest light of the Moom collection. The bulbous shape of the Oberon is unlike any other light out there but the grill and rivets give it a more traditional appearance. It’s an industrial styled and finished pendant light that can be left ‘raw’ to age or lacquered for a more fine style, complemented by colour coordinated hanging chains and fabric braided cables. It’s a statement lamp that works really well in larger home and commercial spaces. Price from £195 All Moom lights are expertly handmade in Bournemouth using high quality, real sheet metals. They are not plated on top of cheaper materials. It takes years to acquire the skill and experience of this trade and the lovely guys behind Moom have over 50 years of it! Previous page from top left: ARTEMIS | AKU CALLISTO | MAHA
Where do you see your business in future and how you are planning to get there? We’re six months into the H&W journey and we launched our website just last month but we have big ambitions! We’re currently working hard on multiple fronts to find new makers and suppliers that fit our style and ethos, adding new products to the website and most importantly, trying to shout about who we are and what we do. You’ll find us on Instagram and Facebook (@hemmingandwills), sharing home interiors inspiration together with our great products. We also want to collaborate with other like-minded businesses on competitions, mutually beneficial marketing activities and events. Furthermore, we’re embarking on a range of PR and Influencer activity over the coming months, so we’re on the lookout for inspiring and aligned home interiors and sustainable/ethical blogs, online publications and Instagram accounts. Over the coming years, we’ll be looking to expand into other product sectors such as outdoor furniture, new markets other than the UK and we hope to open a showroom around the North West. It doesn’t stop there though, we’re also joining 1% for the Planet shortly, which aligns really well with our values. We’ll be donating 1% of all sales revenue to this great charity and through it, we’ll be working with UK environmental charities such as the Marine Conservation Society to support their great work to keep our seas clean! As we grow, we’ll be looking to partner with charities including those in the mental health and LGBT sectors, with the aim of reaching 3% of revenue donations each year. For us, it’s about more than profit!
Brand website: hemmingandwills.co.uk IG @hemmingandwills 23
Refillable beauty interview by Karolina Barnes, photography provided by Chris Long
athrooms are often a sea of plastic. That's why it's always great to hear about brands
that try their best to change that. Let me introduce you to London Bathers, a family-run, independent company on a mission to offer high quality, low impact bathroom products and accessories. In this interview I chat to Chris Long about his journey of starting the business, the company's sustainable ethos, finding beauty in minimalist packaging and building a community of eco-conscious customers.
Longer term we would love to work with a community of like-minded stockists who share similar ethos to ours, making a difference environmentally while supporting Britain's manufacturing industry.
Left: London Bathers bar soap range, from a series of shots exploring clay, texture and natural materials.
Let’s start from the beginning. What has been your journey so far and how did you come up with the idea for London Bathers? You could say it’s been a journey of multiple discoveries so far. Starting any new business takes you outside all sorts of comfort zones as you negotiate the planned and unplanned aspects of launching, then running your business. As an advertising creative from an agency background, I’m used to having a specialised role within a wider team. Now I am the team! Which means my briefs cover everything from product development to promotion, packing, logistics and finance. But that’s fine. It’s part of the reason I started the business, to explore creativity beyond a traditional brief. The idea for London Bathers came from an overlapping set of requirements. I wanted a business that makes a difference environmentally because I’m passionate about looking after the planet we share. I also love Britain’s rich manufacturing history, so I wanted to tap into that. Finally, the business had to be a creative outlet, whether that’s expressed in products, design, events or getting hands-on with packaging. What did you find most challenging before launch and after launch? There were so many challenges before launch - most real, some imagined! I think the biggest challenge was tipping myself over the edge and taking on the risk. It means going from planning, testing and mockups, to investing real money in actually bringing the idea to market. That’s a big leap to take, and there are so many reasons not to take it. A close second for me was finding manufacturers and suppliers who fit my ethos, or who were even willing to listen to me. I had my share of let-downs and false starts. Post-launch, the biggest challenge is about creating awareness of your brand on budgets that are stretched in so many different directions. Your brand story is based around building a community. How do you approach your marketing activities and strategy? We’re looking to appeal to people who appreciate quality products and good design, but who don’t want the plastic trail and sense of single-use waste that so many of today’s products come with. Building that community of like-minded customers is about showing the way and communicating what we’re doing. Everything from delivering on foot within our local area, using plain cardboard packaging, paying to take back our own refill pouches for recycling or getting involved with rewilding projects. It’s also about building a community of like-minded stockists so that their ethos is reflected in our products and vice versa.
Tell us more about your products and the ethos of London Bathers? Our founding ethos is about the stripped-back simplicity of taking a bath or shower. That informed our choices around pure ingredients, refillable and recyclable packaging and our minimalist aesthetic. What we’ve launched with is a collection of bathing essentials: handmade bar soaps and shampoo bars, organic liquid shower gels and hand cleansers, Dead Sea and Himalayan soaking salts and a range of bathroom accessories. We sourced beautiful glass bottles for our liquid cleansers because we think this sort of packaging should be refilled and reused. We designed custom wall brackets and soap dishes to fit our products and have them made by a brilliant company near Portsmouth. We’re starting to expand our range by sourcing products from independent, authentic companies that share our ethos. And this is opening up a different aspect of community for us, as we become part of a small ecosystem of makers and suppliers that we feel a real affinity with.
What product would you recommend us to try first and why? That’s a tough one - it’s like showing favouritism to one of your children! I was going to say one of our four bar soaps because they’re so nice to use and are completely plastic free. We put them in eco boxes made in Britain from recycled cardboard, then ship them in rigid cardboard envelopes. Because they fit through most letterboxes, it means Royal Mail can deliver the majority of them on foot, so we’re not adding more courier van journeys to the roads. But I think our cleansers in glass bottles epitomise our brand because of the refill and reuse aspect. They’re organic, are lovely and silky on the skin and smell amazing as well. They look great in modern or traditional bathrooms and I love the way they look on the wall in one of our powder coated brackets. Did I mention how good the soaking salts are?
Brand website: londonbathers.co.uk IG: @londonbathers
Changemakers are creative minds who are on a mission to change the world for the better. They spend a lot of time researching, gathering information, knowledge and resources which help them in making that change happen. Sometimes changemakers see small details in problems the world is facing and use them as their starting point of their story. Here we share some of those stories.
Beauty made from destined waste words by Flavia Young
INSPIRED BY ART DECO 32
nd fashion is on its heads again….
It seems just a few seasons ago when fashion’s biggest debate was around whether the Fashion Weeks system was becoming obsolete in a world where consumers were constantly demanding newness. Should designers no longer showcase collections a full six months ahead of their availability in stores? Should designers join the “buy now wear now” business model favoured by fashion giants such as Zara and H&M? Fast forward a few years and the conversation has done a 360 degree turn around. With the new generation of consumer's priorities shifting to sustainability, fast fashion and its newness could not be further down the list right now. More and more consumers are positioning sustainability at the very top of their list when it comes to shopping for clothes and the recent protests outside London Fashion Week this September against fashion’s wasteful ways have ensured that fashion will never be the same again. The pre-loved resale industry is growing at a staggering rate, while fast fashion becomes less and less fashionable. Sure, buyers are still indulging their Zara habits, but with less fervour and indeed with a certain degree of shame. No educated fashionista would be seen dead carrying a Zara shopping bag these days. And here is where the movement gets sticky… Currently, sustainability is a word being liberally used as a cynical marketing tool by entrepreneurs wishing to profit from the movement, but who seemingly ignore the facts. It is not rocket science to understand that the planet can not sustain an industry that uses up 2550 litres of water to produce one single t-shirt, so obviously producing clothes that last are preferable to those who are thrown out after a few wears. Naturally, it is also credible to say that the fast growing resale market of pre-worn clothes is indeed doing its bit for the planet by circulating items that still have life in them to new owners that will continue to wear them. Fair claim to sustainability.
However, when it comes to the recently emerged rental market, I feel it is making a tidy profit from a false claim to sustainability. While renting a garment may be kinder to our planet than buying a brand new one, the amount of travel from one renter to another and washes/dry cleans each garment therefore endures, is arguably far from “sustainable”. Even if one is hiring a garment that was made with zero carbon emissions, the amount of travel and washes its rental requires will quickly turn it into a huge pollutant. There are huge financial advantages to be enjoyed from renting a gown for an occasion rather than buying one, but to claim it is for love of our planet is simply hypocritical. This line of thought is what has aligned me to my new way of indulging my love of fashion. I am buying less, buying second hand and only buying new from truly sustainable brands. In my constant search for sustainable brands to support, I came across, just in time for sweater weather, this gorgeous London based knitwear brand called Valentina Karellas.
This ethical and zero-waste brand features unique designs that are carefully handcrafted and sourced from premium materials that would otherwise have gone to waste. Its philosophy is that waste, as in leftover yarn from big production factories, can be used to create beautiful, high quality, one-of-a-kind urban wear for the modern woman. The collection features bright and contrasting colours jumpers, dresses, jackets and accessories made in Merino wool, Scottish lambswool, cashmere and cotton, all guaranteed to make me feel even better knowing that from each purchase I made on their website, £5 has been donated to Bloody Good Period, a charity that provides menstrual supplies to asylum seekers, refugees and those who can’t afford them. What’s there not to like? Flavia xx
Brand website: valentinakarellas.com IG: @vkarellas 35
Environmentally conscious design interview by Karolina Barnes, photography by Anna Yankovski
hile researching the interiors industry for this volume, I realised how hard
it can be for an environmentally conscious client to find a designer who shares similar values. After an unsuccessful attempt of going through my contacts, I put a call out on social media and found a brilliantly talented Pia Pelkonen from Pia Design. Committed to green and sustainable practices in her design work and in running of her studio, Pia works only with manufacturers and suppliers who share similar views that are aligned with her own and her clients' values. Here we chat about how she ensures that each project she takes on is as sustainable as possible.
Firstly can you tell us more about your journey and how you got to starting your own business? I trained at Kingston University as an interior architect and then worked for a number of interior design studios in London, from an interior architecture studio, a renowned high-end designer, to a property developer and then as head of design for a kitchen / bathroom showroom. I experienced many different facets of the interiors industry and what I was realising more and more was that the industry creates a lot of waste! In particular, I felt compelled to leave the property development industry, as I couldn’t consolidate my sustainable values with an industry that refurbishes properties for sale only for the new owner to rip out newly completed designs and refurbish again. Along with ditching the long commutes and being able to work from home, in the end, I was driven to start my own business by a desire to do things differently - environmentally friendly practices were at the forefront. :) What makes your practice different is your passion for sustainable design. Can you tell us more about your values and how did you arrive at this unique proposition? I was born in Finland, where togetherness with nature is an innate part of the lifestyle - so I’ve always been passionate about nature and the environment, and my designs are inspired by nature (living in the countryside helps). My philosophy is that the best form of sustainability is a carefully considered design and the use of good quality materials. The refurbishment industry isn’t going anywhere, but it can take active steps to become more sustainable and environmentally conscious - choosing good quality fittings over cheap fittings and not being slavish to trends aims to create designs that last and only need replacing after many years. When working on projects, what do you find most challenging in terms of balancing your company’s ethos with clients needs and desires? I’m lucky to work with clients who generally share my values so challenges are rare - in fact, more often than not my clients are happy to hear of small artisan brands and appreciate my approach of trying to retain and reuse before replacing with something new - if not from an environmental, then at least from a cost perspective - refurbishments are expensive as it is and shouldn’t also cost the earth. The main challenges are often just in finding a way to explain my reasoning to clients. Once clients understand that for example, choosing a local supplier saves on the delivery cost (but also supports the local community and creates less CO2 emissions), or that the rug sample they’ve just fallen in love with is not just cost effective but also made from recycled plastic bottles, they are often more than happy to commit to more environmentally friendly products, and sometimes even pay a little bit more for the sustainable option.
I recently worked on a project where instead of buying all new fabrics for client's soft furnishings, we started by going through her collection of fabrics that she had leftover from her previous refurbishment.
The design industry is mostly driven by personal style, self-expression and function. What can we all do to promote, incorporate and use more sustainable products in interiors? Having my own design business means being able to personally select which suppliers I work with, and it’s very important to me to constantly grow my portfolio of local businesses and sustainable brands. The great thing about the recent media attention of the climate crisis has brought is that there is definitely an industry-wide recognition of the problem of manufacturing practices and waste production in our industry, and at the recent design trade shows in London (100% Design and Decorex, for example) I noticed a significant increase in brands that were promoting their sustainable values. I think that it’s down to designers who care about the climate issue to start making more conscious decisions on which brands to promote to clients and work with, and ask our suppliers what changes they are making to their practices to be more sustainable to ‘force pressure’ on manufacturers as well.
What is the most interesting project or sustainable
I use a tile supplier who has a Silver 'Cradle to Crave’ sus-
element you delivered so far?
tainability accreditation (Mosa Tiles) and also, I recently
I’ve just started working on a new design for a ‘Scandina-
worked on a project where instead of buying all new fabrics
vian with a touch of Japanese’ brief and the client has spe-
for client’s soft furnishings, we started by going through her
cifically requested that we make the house as sustainable
collection of fabrics that she had leftover from her previous
as possible, so I’ll be looking into everything from local-
refurbishment - we used much of her existing fabric for the
ly sourced manufacturers to sustainable materials such as
backs of cushions so not only did the client have to spend
cork, wood, to toilets that use less water etc - but this pro-
less on new fabric, we made good use of what she already
ject is still in the early research stages so I’m sure there will
owned and saved the leftover material from landfill.
be much more to report back on in the coming months. So far, however, I’ve specified rugs made out of recycled plastic bottles and aim to use only fabrics that are 100% natural fibres.
Designer website: piadesign.co.uk IG: @piainteriordesign
Every improvement is a step forward words and photography by Nicola McCullough
rom tiny independents to huge global brands, the beauty business
is gradually becoming more sustainable, with an increasingly ethical approach to ingredients, packaging and production. While some take small steps and others giant strides to protect our planet, every improvement is a step in the right direction. The key thing is to start somewhere, from reducing or cutting plastic packaging, to recycling and going organic or GM-free. A few of our favourite brands are doing it well... 1. Weleda Much loved for its Skin Food and soothing camomile baby products, Weleda proactively protects the diversity of nature and inspires a sustainable lifestyle. Its environmental commitment ranges from the procurement of raw materials to the use of natural resources and sustainable packaging. Weleda's UEBT label for 'sourcing with respect' certifies that biodiversity is being protected during the cultivation, harvesting and further processing of its natural ingredients. Massage Skin Food Light into parched Winter skin to instantly soothe and add comfort. 2. Jillian Dempsey A natural-living activist and make-up artist (with Jennifer Lawrence and Kristen Stewart among her star clientele), itâ€™s no surprise that Jillian Dempsey's own product line features organic, gluten-free ingredients in recyclable packaging. Pat Jillian's Lid and Cheek Tints onto skin for a natural looking flush of radiant colour.
I wanted to create something as organic and natural as possible. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do because organic ingredients have a shorter shelf-life. I wanted to deliver something in the land of sustainable beauty... to contribute on a small scale to something that I felt was missing, so I created something I couldn’t find but wished existed.
4. Bouclème Hair Care Bouclème is an independent curl care brand, created by one curly for others, with a product line designed to enhance curls as nature intended. Bouclème cares passionately about the planet, using fair trade ingredients wherever possible and completely recyclable packaging. The products are never tested on animals - and ingredients are biodegradable, safe for both the environment and the body. Rake Curl Defining Gel through wet hair with fingers to elongate curls and scrunch through when completely dry.
3. One Ocean Beauty This breakthrough sustainable beauty brand creates marine based skincare using blue biotechnology to preserve the marine environment and protect its biodiversity. It uses 100% recyclable packaging and is working towards zero waste goals. Committed to protecting and restoring the world’s oceans on a global scale, the company has partnered with Oceana, the largest international ocean advocacy organisation. Its skincare contains key marine microorganisms and single cells with unique anti-ageing properties which have been sourced from the world’s marine environments. Dot a tiny amount of One Ocean Beauty Eye Cream around the orbital bone to hydrate and nourish the eye area.
5. WILD Wild Cosmetics' vegan and animal-friendly deodorant line is made using active naturals, without the aluminium, parabens and sulphates usually found in antiperspirants. The roll-on range comes in glass with refill bottles, an 80% reduction in plastic use vs regular deodorants. Wild works closely with the World Land Trust and donates 10p per product sold towards global reforestation projects. We're fans of Wild's stick deodorant in Lemon & Thyme. 6. REN REN Skincare recently revealed new 100% recycled packaging for its Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Anti-Fatigue Body Cream. This follows the launch of its first 100% recycled packaging in 2018 for its Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Body Wash in partnership with TerraCycle. The packaging is made from 20% plastic reclaimed from the ocean and 80% from recycled plastic bottles and REN hopes to become zero waste by 2021. Featuring 100% sustainable actives, the Anti-Fatigue Essential Oils in this body cream reenergise and uplift the senses - every little helps! 7. Aveda Aveda was the first beauty company to use post-consumer recycled materials in packaging and more than 85% of its skincare and hair styling PET bottles and jars contain 100% post-consumer recycled materials. Aveda believes that profit and environmental responsibility will increasingly work together as more industries find that nature works for both sustainability and the bottom line. Aveda Intense Hydrating Masque quenches the skin leaving it dewy, comfortable and ready for make-up (or sleep if you prefer). 8. The Body Shop Renowned as one of the most sustainable brands on the high street, the Body Shop's mission is to enrich its products, people and the planet as part of its Enrich Not Exploitâ„˘ Commitment. It does so by working fairly with farmers and suppliers and helping communities thrive through its Community Trade programme, being 100% vegetarian and remaining firmly against animal testing. Camomile Cleansing Butter gently and thoroughly cleanses the skin and comes in a recyclable travel friendly tin.
Pivoting with passion words by Erica Wolfe-Murray
n the middle of this escalating global climate crisis, we are all having to think
about how we can work more efficiently with energy, with materials, in how we work. Governments can’t solve this alone, nor can companies, nor us as individuals – each part of society and the value chain has to take responsibility for reducing its impact. Working across the creative, cultural and tech sector as I do, I see companies of all sizes taking big strides in the right direction but sometimes you come across inspirational stories that need to be shared. This is one of those – the journey of one company determined to do things better. The corporate gifting sector of the economy is well known for its poor sustainability credentials. You only have to think of all those naff ballpoint pens lurking in drawers, plastic lanyards to mock leather folders given out at conferences, cheap goods imported from China ready to be branded with a corporate giant’s logo… Set up eleven years ago, Berkshire-based Pod Packaging felt there had to be a different route. Having worked across the packaging industry helping design companies source all types of container for FMCG clients, founder Mark Glanville launched his corporate gift business aimed at a market gap he’d identified for well-designed, simple corporate gifts. His range included desktop gardens, water bottles, tins of sweets, golf accessories, handy car kits and the like – all capable of carrying a client’s branding, and much of it using containers made from aluminium. He sourced small tins and bottles of all sorts from different aluminium suppliers in his address book, using them as the basis of his carefully presented, well thought through range. The corporate gift business is really a commodity business. Large scale clients approach big distributors with their needs; the distributors, in turn, buy from a range of smaller suppliers like Mark. Price is the determining factor, along with turnaround speed for a branded order. In his converted barn premises near Newbury, Mark’s tight, experienced team was used to pushing out orders fast.
One day Mark asked to meet me. I’d worked with his partner to help her rethink her work strategy, and he felt he needed a new perspective on what he was doing. His business was in good shape, but the ‘is this it?’ question was raising its head. We talked and he told me the story of his career. It had been shaped by creativity in a range of different guises – although he didn’t see himself in that way. We agreed to meet again a fortnight later to talk further. During that fortnight, David Attenborough’s Blue Planet series pulled no punches on the plastic waste strangling our seas. And that terrible image of the turtle with the straw through its nose was in everyone’s minds. At our next session, Mark talked about the corporate gift industry being fairly ‘ungreen’, explaining his reasons why Pod Packaging used only recycled aluminium. As he told me about their aluminium suppliers’ green credentials, Mark’s face lit up. He relayed fact after fact about the amazing properties of recycled aluminium – 75% of aluminium ever mined is still in circulation, it takes just six weeks to turn a recycled soft drinks can into a new product, recycling/repurposing aluminium uses only 5% of the power needed to mine new aluminium and, no matter what you do with it, the PATTERNITY + pØd collaboration
material never degrades. As we looked at each other after his passionate outburst, we realised Mark had a whole raft of knowledge and experience we could turn to an advantage for Pod, but more importantly, to start removing single use plastic from the corporate gift industry. A year later, Mark has turned Pod Packaging into the first corporate gift company that is 99% plastic free. All his products are now produced sustainably, many are made locally, using only recycled or recyclable materials. He offers a vegan option for sweets and foodstuffs, is working with bee and other nature-friendly suppliers and is trying to move all his inks etc for personalisation to organic providers if possible. He realised that our discussions had highlighted just how important this had been to him all along. But a 99% plastic free corporate gift business was only the start of the pivot, Mark wrought in his business in the time that has elapsed since that first meeting… On hearing about the properties of recycled aluminium, a contact suggested Mark should talk to one of her retail clients. He was introduced to Planet Organic who were keen to launch refill stations in each of their stores for both liquids for consumption such as olive oil, as well as liquids for cleaning and household use. (Aluminium is both food safe and can go in the dishwasher.) 51
They trialled one station at a leading store using Mark’s recycled aluminium bottles, secure in the knowledge their customer could either bring them back empty for a further refill, wash them and use them in their home, or recycle them with their kerb-side collection. These are now rolling out across all their stores, with the Planet Organic branded bottles being supplied wholesale by Pod. Needless to say, Mark is now being approached by countless other brands wanting to do the same. And these approaches have, in turn, led to another development for his business. Because of his wide knowledge of sustainable packaging materials and suppliers, along with his past design/branding experience, Mark now offers a consultancy service to companies who want to move their packaging to a more sustainable model. And finally, there is PodStore, an online ecommerce site which sells a small range of recycled aluminium and sustainable products direct to the consumer. Working with an award-winning design company, Patternity, who developed patterns to print across some of their smaller aluminium bottles, PodStore offers travellers a stylish 100ml aluminium alternative to plastic containers when transporting their lotions and fluids in carry-on flight luggage. So take heart if you want to move your business to a more sustainable model – there are so many ways you can do this. And your customers will be increasingly looking to you to take a position and future customers will expect to see this as part of your proposition. - END -
Erica’s new book ‘Simple Tips, Smart Ideas : Build a Bigger, Better Business’ is out now. Full of her usual easy-to-use advice, lots of case studies, quick tips, diagrams and innovative ways to think about growing your business – its 288 full colour pages will help you transform your business. Available to order from Amazon and all other good bookshops. And try out her podcast available on all platforms – search for ‘Simple Tips, Smart Ideas’ – none is longer than ten minutes! lola-media.co.uk Client's website : podpackaging.com | podstore.net
Forward thinkers are creative minds full of optimism and positive outlook for the future. With their ability to see the bigger picture and never being stuck in the past, they are the pioneers and early adopters of new ideas and processes. Take the following stories as case studies of the future.
Black & Sigi
Giving old jewellery a new lease of life words and photography by Clio Sigismondi
The concept for the BAS Revival Scheme came about when we realised how many necklaces we had in our own jewellery boxes that we just didn't wear anymore. We wanted to do something sustainable about it.
hen looking for some ideas to make our brand more sustainable, we
turned our attention to our jewellery boxes and realised how many necklaces we had with great stones that we just didn't wear anymore, for one reason or the other - an old favourite that has been gathering dusk because the clamp broke. Or that old necklace with the pretty pendant that's just a bit too short, so it sits alone with the other rejects never being worn. We knew we wanted to do something about it. One day we gathered all our jewellery pieces and using our tools and creativity we turned them into a new Black & Sigi (BAS as we call it) bangle. It was like having a brand new piece in our wardrobe. New jewellery, less waste, more enjoyment! So that is how the BAS Revival concept was born. Since its launch last year, customers can donate their broken jewellery, loose beads or jewellery components in exchange for a BAS ÂŁ15 voucher to spend on our website. We will then revive the old jewels into a new BAS piece and re-sell it with a portion of the profits going to nominated charities. A year on, and due to its popularity, we have launched BAS Revival workshops where customers can bring their jewellery and leave with something completely new and unique to them.
Brand website: blackandsigi.com IG @blackandsigi
Zurich Fenix + oak extending table £2,195
Jay 11 chair £315 Next page: Angel loveseat £1,277
We launched our own Environmental Grading Label and were lucky enough to win some sustainability awards.
Adventures in Furniture
Environmentally conscious furniture interview by Karolina Barnes, images provided by Kim Corbett
or over 20 years, the team behind Adventures in Furniture has created modern fur-
niture using only the finest craftsmanship and sustainable materials. Their two showrooms in London (Chiswick and Islington) let customers browse through each room set and explore carefully considered furniture designs, with many customisable options, as well as lighting, rugs and other accessories. Most of their products are made in Europe, allowing not only for complete transparency but also having the flexibility and opportunity to influence the choice of materials, with many products being FSC certified. Here I chat to Kim Corbett, its founder, about her passion for furniture and sustainability.
Imola bed with headboard, ÂŁ1,410
In the beginning we concentrated to a larger degree on the sustainability of materials, who made the products and where they were made. Now issues of packaging and transportation have come much more to the fore.
Como chest, from ÂŁ1570
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey so far and how and why you founded Adventures in Furniture? I'm originally from New York but have lived in London for over 20 years. I was keen to move away from the financial industries to something more creative. I've always loved interiors and great furniture design. My goal was to develop contemporary furniture designs but still to make them from strong, authentic materials, often using traditional techniques. Furniture should last generations! So Adventures in Furniture was born. With the focus on sustainability in the contemporary furniture market, what are some of the biggest challenges you face? My first real push in this area was around 2006. I was inspired by reading Felicity Lawrence's book "Not on the Label" about the food industry. I thought that the furniture industry too should be much more responsible and transparent. So we went about learning as much as we could and talked to Greenpeace (their offices were around the corner) about timber because much of what we made was from wood. We launched our own Environmental Grading Label and were lucky enough to win some sustainability awards. Itâ€™s always been part of our business and with the greater awareness of climate change issues, it brought even more challenges for all of us. In the beginning, we concentrated to a large degree on the sustainability of materials, who made the products and where they were made. I think now issues of packaging and transportation have come much more to the fore. How hard is it running a sustainable business? Very, because of course, in reality, life is full of compromises. I have a family and business in one of the world's largest cities - there is no way I can claim environmental purity! Transportation of heavy goods is particularly difficult as the market for large electric vehicles is still being developed. However, it is heartening to see the growth in awareness about environmental issues, whether related to climate change, plastics, air quality etc. I hope we are on the cusp of some real, fundamental change. What can the industry/trade and customers do to be more eco-conscious? For trade, I think more genuinely sustainable packaging would be a relatively quick and important victory. Followed by the harder nut to crack of transportation! For individuals, we all try to recycle more, use re-usable cups, avoid plastic bags and straws etc, but we have to keep our eyes on the main issue. In my mind, this is the whole reliance on fossil fuels and excessive disposable consumption. Perhaps customers could just raise issues in the shops they go in and see what happens. It really doesn't take too many customer comments before feedback begins to reach decision makers. One message seems to be to buy objects and clothes, and in our case furniture, that lasts!
Website: aif.london IG @adventuresinfurniture 61
The most sustainable rugs on the market
interview by Karolina Barnes, images provided by Claire Gaudion
ased in Hampshire, Claire Gaudion textile design studio specialises
in creating high quality contemporary rugs and artisan fabrics for interiors. From the beginning, Claire has been passionate about responsible and ethical design (through her partnership and commitment to the artisans and their communities, who help to create Claire Gaudion hand woven textiles and handmade rugs) but with her latest rug collection - using repurposed plastic waste and sustainable 100% New Zealand wool - the studio takes it one step further. Here I chat to Claire about the process and some of the challenges she and her team faced when creating the collection. 1. How did this collection come about? What was the inspiration behind it? We have been committed to responsible design since our beginnings, and for every new collection that we design and create, we are making considered choices about our processes, yarns and how we work. Our handmade recycled plastic bottle rugs are possibly our most sustainable product to date. In recent years there has been a growing awareness capturing the attention of people across the world about the damage being caused by plastic waste. David Attenborough's Blue Planet 2 brought to our screens the shocking images of plastic pollution. This is a hugely complex crisis and without a doubt, the best thing would be for the world to stop producing single-use plastics and generate less waste. But, we have all this waste now, so as Greenpeace advocate, recycling is absolutely vital for dealing with it. So when we came across the possibility of repurposing plastic waste to weave rugs, this was something we were extremely keen to develop with our brand partners.
Previous page: Recycled Plastic Bottle Rugs ZALA NATURAL | TIBBA SAND | IDA GREY, from ÂŁ295.00 63
Recycled Plastic Bottle Rug (close up) ZALA DENIM, from £399.00
Hand tufted rug
64ISLAND BLUE, from £759.00
Recycled Plastic Bottle Rug ZALA DENIM, from £399.00
The yarn is created by chipping plastic waste into small pieces, which are then heated and converted into a surprisingly soft, fluffy fibre.
Hand tufted rug RHYTHMIC TIDES SAND, from ÂŁ759.00
Can you tell us a little bit more about the process of making rugs, particularly from recycled plastic bottles? In general, the overall making process of rugs from recycled plastic bottles is similar to hand loom weaving other fibres, such as wool or cotton. But all yarns have unique individual characteristics that need to be respected and worked with. The yarn is created by chipping plastic waste into small pieces, which are then heated and converted into a soft fluffy fibre that can be spun into a yarn akin to wool. It is incredibly soft, which often surprises people. The yarn is then dyed to the required colours ready for weaving our collection. Our recycled plastic bottle rugs are hand loom woven on traditional shuttle looms. The looms hold the warp (length) ends under tension so that the weft can be woven across and through the warp using a shuttle. How these ends interlace creates different patterns and weave structures. The plastic yarn behaves slightly differently to wool in terms of tension and elasticity so this needs to be adjusted for on the loom by our artisan weavers to ensure the best results. Once the weaving phase is complete, the rugs are taken off the loom and go through a series of finishing processes including binding of the edges by hand, stretching, washing and drying naturally outdoors in the sun. 65
What are some of the barriers or challenges when making such products? We are fortunate to work in partnership with industry experts and skilled artisans to create our rug collections. Our rugs are made in collaboration with Momo Rugs who bring four decades of experience in the rug industry to our partnership, which is invaluable to the success of our collections. With the knowledge and expertise they provide, potential barriers and challenges can be minimised. As with all new products, a new yarn such as this recycled plastic requires sampling and re-sampling before the final designs and qualities are approved for inclusion in our collections, and this design development process allows for any revisions that need to be made. Throughout this process good and effective communication is key – between everyone involved – design is a very collaborative process. Hand tufted rug SAND SKETCH, from £759.00
On the other hand, what are some of its benefits? There are many benefits to our recycled plastic bottle rugs and our wool rugs – both offer a great sustainable choice for consumers. Wool is a renewable and biodegradable resource with a low environmental footprint. And, we use New Zealand wool, which conforms to the strictest standards of animal welfare to ensure a sustainable future for wool. Our recycled plastic rugs are made from 100% recycled materials. Rugs are a great product choice for the use of repurposed plastics. Unlike clothing, they do not need to be washed frequently (therefore minimising the shedding of microfibres). Each 170 x 240 cm rug uses around 12 kg of plastic bottle waste. These rugs are also reversible so can be used on both sides and they’re suitable for outdoor and indoor use, as they can be washed if required. This makes them ideal for kitchens and bathrooms, too. Both our wool rugs and recycled plastic rugs are durable and UV resistant, so they retain their colour well, which adds to their longevity. After all, rugs are installed in our homes to be enjoyed for years and decades to come.
Website: clairegaudion.com | IG @clairegaudion
Inspirers are creative minds who do things differently. They share their stories that open our eyes to new possibilities. Stories that trigger a new thought process, stories that ignite action. They know who they are and have the courage and ability to persevere. We hope that the following pages will do just that for you.
Featured products: Orange vase by Arjan Van Dal (arjanvandal.com | arjanvandal_ceramics)
Nocera & Ferri
Still life as a form of visual communication
interview by Karolina Barnes photography by Nocera & Ferri set designer: Giulia Klimciuk giuliaklimciuk.com @giulia_klimciuk retoucher: Nicole Frost @retouch_of_frost
f you have an online store or brand website having a stand out photography can
make or break your business. Not only that it sets you apart from your competition, but it also communicates your values and ethos, which your customers can relate to. Therefore, having great images as part of the dialogue with your audience should not be underestimated. One type of photography specifically can help you to achieve that... Still life photography Still life started in paintings in the sixteenth century. Communicating a moral or religious message, it featured often depicted objects from nature (still life is the translation of "nature morte", meaning "dead nature"). Over the centuries it found its way into photography, initially following the same path of using nature morte. These days, still life photography has many shapes and forms. An art form in itself, it explores the possibilities of storytelling in a commercial and non-commercial setting. Sometimes in its abstract and artistic context, products take on a symbolic meaning, giving it more depth while enriching its creators' vocabulary and self-expression. Here we chat to Luca Nocera and Lara Ferri, an Italian photographer duo based in London about their work as creative photographers, featuring their design story: Framework.
Featured products: Top image - White and pink vases by Alice Foxen (alicefoxen.co.uk | @alicefoxen) Bottom image - "Barocca" dark pink vase and "Tanka" yellow vase by Le Morandine (lemorandine.it | @le_morandine)
Featured products: Top image - Cobalt and yellow vases by Arjan Van Dal (arjanvandal.com | @arjavandal_ceramics) Bottom image - "Curve" beige vase, "Fiore 3d" charcoal vase by Le Morandine (lemorandine.it | @le_morandine)
Featured products: Pink vase by Alice Foxen (alicefoxen.co.uk | @alicefoxen) 72
Can you tell us a little bit about your backgrounds, how you met and set up your business as a duo? We started our creative journey independently in Milan, where we both attended different photography schools and worked as assistant photographers. When we finally met in 2007, we instantly clicked! We quickly realised our creative views and tastes were very much alike, and we decided to join forces to fulfil a single vision project. What inspires your work and style? Graphic design and simple geometries have always played a key inspirational role in our works, paired with our passion for modernist art and design from Bauhaus. Our photographic role models are Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. What type of businesses do you work with? After the past seven years working with major UK fashion clients for the likes of Stella McCartney, Joseph, Selfridges, Marks and Spencer and Boots, producing both commercial and editorial works, we recently decided to focus more on still life projects. We are strongly passionate about still life as a form of expression as it has allowed us to fulfil new creative outputs. When working with clients, what is your process? We believe understanding the client’s vision is the first step towards producing a successful creative product that meets the client’s needs. And of course, we love a mood board! We find extremely exciting the research part of a project because it allows us to let our imagination loose and stimulate our curiosity when investigating different creative disciplines. Presenting back to our clients a vision that is both creative and commercially viable is always our first aim and the most fulfilling when we meet our client’s expectations.
Website: noceraferri.com IG @noceraferri
Collaging my way up
words and artwork provided by Graeme Hopper
hen I was 19, I moved to Holland in a little town just outside of Amsterdam
called Leiden. I went there for a little holiday with friends and didn’t come back for 3 years! I don’t have the words to describe how this experience deeply influenced me as a person. I was engaging in creative activities, communities and teenage emotions all at the same time at a breakneck speed. Living in The Netherlands at the end of the 90s was a tremendous inspiring moment in my life and one I’m forever grateful for. When I returned, I was eager to get creative, be it with the practice of collage or more so with my musical needs. Back then the Internet wasn’t so popular or easy to navigate through, so many years passed with little or no interest. I must admit it didn’t bother me much, as I was happiest creating regardless of the attention.
Tweed Effect Jacket and Trousers 76
Slowly but surely as the years passed on friends and family took notice and mentioned I should show some of my work online and with reluctance I agreed. Pretty much from the first image uploaded, people came across warm and welcoming, and with many having a positive understanding of my work and practice. This then led to a serious interest in purchasing my work. Fast forward a few years and here I am, still making weird and wonderful surreal paper collages. I’ve been commissioned to make several album covers from critically acclaimed artists, I have had work exhibited all across Europe and sold several pieces internationally. There seems to be a continuing demand for my work to be exhibited and shown up close and personal, this excites me greatly to know the audience wants to engage and consume themselves into my collage world, no matter how long the stay!! MY FRUSTRATIONS I guess like most industries art world has its considerate and sincere corners, but then sadly it has its cretins and cliquey corners too. There seems to be this condescending, smug and elitist atmosphere when you walk around opening preview parties and certain galleries. You sometimes can’t move for the strong scent of insincere small talks and terrible acting going on all around you. Where I’m based in the North East (Gateshead/ Sunderland), it’s such a small place that anyone that has an interest in any form of creative arts can’t help but be noticed eventually. With this in mind, you would think we would have quite a strong bond or community with each other’s gallery and studio spaces, but for me at least, it seems quite the opposite. I have my studio space at the wonderful, supportive community driven by the NEWBRIDGE PROJECT. There is a real sense of openness and togetherness, whereas at other galleries and local studio spots they don’t seem to want to engage and work alongside certain art communities. There is this rich air of entitlement that suffocates the whole area and it really frustrates me, and probably a lot of the other studio members where I have my practice. It does seem sometimes it’s all about being SEEN and not supporting and creating a cultural scene. I could go on and on, but yeah, I wish that local artists were mentored and supported more and not being put to the one side for some “cool International” artist. MY INSPIRATION My main inspiration is nature and specifically erosion and decay. I can’t help but be drawn to nature’s incidental colours - the bronze and yellow rust of fences and buildings, the slow decaying of walls, rich in greys and whites. Flowers and leaves slowly wilting. The summer’s heat and winter’s rain create this almost otherworldly natural vivid expression of colours. It truly blows me away and gets me thinking loads!
Previous page: Footflower 77
Iâ€™m often found taking photos of the overlooked and mundane areas of places, where we walk past every day and take no notice of. If we only stopped and looked a bit more closely to the world around us, we could unravel genuine beautiful moments to explore further. When working on a piece or trying to get some ideas flowing, I look back on my photos and take notes of what works. This love of old and worn materials transfers into my collage work as I have a huge lust for aged, eroding coloured papers and imagery. In my view, it is so pretty to look at and get lost in. Itâ€™s no coincidence some of my favourite pieces and most popular pieces are the ones that have very old materials intertwined into them.
MY CLIENTS I have been very fortunate to have worked with some very open minded, easy going, liberal and considerate people. I don’t think I’ve had any "bad" interactions with clients, maybe some who weren’t that punctual on the correspondence side of things but nothing too annoying. I guess my perfect client is someone willing to take risks, to let me try some ideas and approaches out of their comfort zone. A trusting client can help propel my confidence and trigger ideas that maybe were slightly hidden previously. Working with other artists such as musicians and festival promoters, it is always quite a pressured environment to deliver something that both parties are happy with, so you go through the usual sleepless nights and constant texts here, there and everywhere. BUT when it clicks and we can all see where it is going and how good it can be, it manifests into such a deeply rewarding experience! Another 'perfect client' would be one with a never-ending pocket of money that would pay me to create whatever we desire, when and wherever!! Ha. FUTURE PLANS I’m always working on new pieces in my studio, some private commissions and some for public displays. I’m currently in talks with a national brewery with regards to using some of my art on certain craft beers. I haven’t told them that I’m teetotal yet, so it’s quite funny! I have been contacted with regards to creating another album cover for a musician, so we will see how that goes. There are also one or two exhibitions lined up and then the usual constant finishing up/abandoning new pieces! Haha. It seems never-ending and can be quite frantic and frustrating in parts, but it is such a wonderful profound feeling creating something new and exciting that I wouldn’t change it for the world. I am constantly updating my website with new work and photography, so please feel free to peruse and ponder at my website below. If you would like any more info with regards to work or commissions please don’t hesitate to contact me on my email, I’ll get back to you asap.
Artist website: grassiart.com Email: email@example.com IG @grasssiasssi
We offer our direct customers a "naked" offering, meaning they can choose to receive their products without outer packaging.
Unrefined and pure as nature intended words and images by Theresa Edward
kin Alchemists Apothecary is a love letter to my skin to always honour and care for it
with the best nutrient dense skin food I can find. Several years ago my health fell victim to the effects of living in a polluted city and fast paced lifestyle of constantly eating processed food on the go. It was on a trip back to my homeland St Lucia that I observed an almost immediate improvement to my health and energy levels just from stripping back and eating fresh organic foods, swimming in the mineral rich sea and taking sulphur baths.
On my return to London I was determined to continue with my more holistic lifestyle but found that, although I was able to nourish my body with whole foods, it wasn’t as easy when it came to my skin. What was on the market in terms of clean beauty still contained ingredients I couldn’t pronounce. Sometimes on ingredient lists would be a certain ingredient I knew was dark orange, for example, yet the finished product was a sterile white cream and I know something was refined and processed somewhere. Our skin is a living organ and I wanted to feed it exactly as I was my body – with nutrient dense, unprocessed, organic skincare so I began to formulate my own. The ingredients in our collection have successfully been used in folk medicine for centuries to treat skin conditions. We stay true to the traditions by sourcing these ingredients from sources where they are grown in conditions that nurture a phytonutrient dense plant. The skincare industry is largely unregulated in terms of ingredient claims. It is normal to see an ingredient being highly marketed in a product, touted as a “superfood” or “active ingredient” yet it is perhaps 0.1% of the formulation. I find this can have a negative impact on the work green beauty formulators such as Skin Alchemists do for several reasons, one of the main being price points. With lower concentrations, these products can be sold as reduced price points which in turn makes a highly concentrated product appear expensive. It also loses customer confidence in the efficacy of green beauty. For example, Calendula is a well known healing extract from folk medicine, however, to achieve that healing result a suitable concentration would have had to be used. Whilst researching ingredients I came to realise that not all forms of organic farming are equal. Some farmers use Biodynamic and Beyond Organic standards by which soil quality and sustainability are highly considered. One farmer did not use animal inputs such as fish fertilizer or bone meal to meet vegan standards. Exercising these farming practices means their products cost more to purchase. Our Humble Warrior cleansing oil cost 30ml £18 and another brand may have theirs for £5. Essentially they both are cleansing oils. However, I have sourced my ingredients from a true source, the product is made from fresh produce. The cheaper product was mass produced most probably using adulterated oils made from rancid nuts, a practice not spoken about in the industry.
From left: The Humble Warrior, Complete Cleansing Oil £50 | Sesenne Rejuvenating Facial Elixir £85 82
I feel being sustainable is the new organic, however, I donâ€™t think it is possible to be sustainable in all aspects of the business. In most instances, it appears to be the smaller brands who are most scrutinised to practise what they preach. We have to look at the product, ingredients, packaging, working conditions. Skin Alchemists is striving to work sustainably, however, our main aim is to produce an efficacious product, which can mean that we have to import raw materials and incur a higher carbon footprint. We offset this by being sustainable in all the other areas we have more control on such as our packaging and producing less waste. I am working with a farmer in Richmond who will be growing flowers for me. She uses beyond organic farming practices, rents the land she farms on, uses quite a bit of traditional equipment and generally works really hard. As part of our ethos, I would not negotiate a bulk discount from her, as I want to ensure she feels fairly paid and motivated to work. If she is paid fairly, she will not cut corners on her farming practices. Iâ€™m willing to pay her market rate. A larger skincare brand would certainly negotiate the best discount from her. It takes a lot of time to research a supplier for an ingredient and if that source becomes unsustainable, I have to find another source or reformulate the product, which is very costly to a young brand. In the past, I used Mysore Sandalwood in one of my formulations and when Mysore became unsustainably farmed, I had to reformulate the product. I also had a similar issue with Rosewood, which I used and sourced from the Amazon, but after the Amazon fires, I had to reformulate the product. I feel more can be done in the industry to educate the consumer on taking some responsibility for their sustainability practices such as ensuring they recycle or upcycle, using all of the product they purchase. We have been trying to incorporate upcycling in our packaging. The containers for our skin treatment candles can be washed and used as milk or cream pots after the candle has been used. Our boxes used for the Humble Warrior Complete Cleansing Oil is designed to be upcycled as a pencil or makeup brush holder. Other ideas such as not part taking in discount driven shopping events (Black Friday sales or BOGOF), which can encourage buying what is not needed, could also help for a better future.
Website: skinalchemists.com IG @skinalchemists 83
One of the benefits of a personal branding session is self-discovery and new-found confidence in your own abilities.
Above: Charlie Moyler, Book Designer Left: Kate Southerby, Life & Transformation Coach Page 86 left: Helena Stone, Business & Confidence Mentor Page 86 right: Fernanda Nidecker, Social Media Consultant
Our reader story
Journey to visual representation words by Donna Ford, profile photography by Kaye Ford
wasnâ€™t born into a creative family. My mum and dad may have loved jiving and playing
the tin whistle around the house but we never went to art galleries or discussed philosophy. My first passion from the age of three was dance and then I fell in love with the drama of the theatre and very quickly felt very comfortable on stage. But I was very academic at school and my passions got hidden under textbooks and calculators. Both dance and music outside school stopped when I was 12 and I left school with straight As in physics, maths and biology but hereâ€™s the rebel moment in my story - I decided to study dance at university! (You can imagine my career teacher's thoughts on that!) There was practical daily training as well as classes in theatre history, anthropology and philosophy and this led me to a thriving freelance career in teaching dance and doing project management for amazing dance companies (Trinity Laban, Royal Academy of Dance). I loved helping people get in touch with their creative selves. I was more interested in teaching people who had never danced before to show them how beautifully creative they could be. That it was all within them waiting to get out. 85
Fast forward 10 years and with the birth of my children my creative focus changed. I knew a new path was on the horizon but had no idea what it could be. I patiently waited for the ideas to transpire. In a moment of inspiration, I knew I had to start an interiors blog with a view of turning it into a business and made a promise to myself to take my own photos and do my best to strive for good quality, engaging images full of colour and creativity. We had a nice camera lying around (my husband is a filmmaker) so it meant just getting started was pretty straightforward. I had no idea that this would lead to a business in personal branding photography. To some, it seems like an incredible jump from dance to photography but the creative process is extremely similar. Setting up the shot is like the experimental, improvisation stage in the studio where you play with rhythm and limbs, angles and lighting. Then comes the more logical section of bringing order and technique into the mix, polishing the shapes and movements and getting the right composition. Then, finally to prepare for a performance is the small nuanced changes, planning space on stage and balancing the colour of the whole feel of it - small changes that create the most evocative performance.
I knew I had to start an interiors blog with a view of turning it into a business and made a promise to myself to take my own photos and do my best to strive for good quality, engaging images full of colour and creativity.
This final stage is one of the things that photographers often dislike but I love the creativity and atmosphere that you can bring in the edit. Sitting in silence with my laptop is the most creative and therapeutic moment for me, playing with colours and getting them just right. Ansel Adams puts it perfectly - “The negative (or raw image) is comparable to the composer’s score and the print (edit) to its performance.” I accidentally stumbled upon personal branding when I desperately wanted to help friends set up their business so I offered to take a few shots of them for their new websites or social media. I quickly realised that I loved the puzzle of trying to efficiently communicate someone's ideas that first requires an honest and authentic inner reflection to realise their core values. Then, the challenge is to create a visual representation of these ideas in order to create that atmosphere in a split second - this is what photo can achieve! Colour and composition are the key languages used and like all my work (including interiors) feeling and atmosphere are key. My innate body awareness from dance means that photography is quite a physical experience for me, using my body to move around the subject to find unique perspectives and narratives. What I love most about my personal branding offering is that I honestly believe that people gain so much more than just the photos. The deep self-examining work and clarification on your values and mission along with the personal preparation (acknowledging of physical insecurities) lead to joy, relief and new-found confidence in your own abilities! I think my northern Irish gift of the gab makes people instantly relax and most people don’t want to stop shooting once they start (and they are always surprised by that!). And this is the greatest joy to me, helping creative entrepreneurs KNOW that they have so much within them to give to the world and their photos is an acknowledgement that they are ready to go for it!
Website: donnaford.co.uk | skirtingboardsandchandeliers.com
IG @donnafordography |skirtingboardschandeliers
BLACK BOOK As we are passionate about finding the best stories of creatives, designers and artists, we spend a great amount of our time scanning the market. We want you to be the first hearing about the amazing talent and brands we have on our doorstep. This BLACK BOOK has two purposes - a filter of quality and resource of industry contacts.
ART & INTERIORS
HOMEWARE, TEXTILES & FURNITURE
HEMMING & WILLS
ADVENTURES IN FURNITURE
artisan textile design
BLACK BOOK As we are passionate about finding the best stories of creatives, designers and artists, we spend a great amount of our time scanning the market. We want you to be the first hearing about the amazing talent and brands we have on our doorstep. This BLACK BOOK has two purposes - a filter of quality and resource of industry contacts.
FASHION & BEAUTY
BLACK & SIGI
NOCERA & FERRI
personal brand photographer
business & innovation expert
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This issue aims to open a conversation about what sustainability in modern creative business really means. It discusses some of the untold c...
Published on Nov 29, 2019
This issue aims to open a conversation about what sustainability in modern creative business really means. It discusses some of the untold c...