ESTILA feel-good resource for creatives in business
VOLUME 7/ ISSUE 32
EDITORS Karolina Barnes Emilia Vespoli Flavia Young / luxe-layers.com Nicola McCullough / strawberryblondebeauty.com Sabrina Chakici / clutchandcarryon.com Sarah Jones
STYLISTS Karolina Barnes
PROOF READER Claire Smith / eclairesva.com COVER IMAGE FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHERS Chris White Anna Stathaki Laura Dempster Nicola McCullough Sabrina Chakici
Gill Wright, the story on p. 32 A big thank you to all our editors, contributors and everyone who continues to support ESTILA. ESTILA bookazine is created and published by Palantti Ltd. The entire content of this publication is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without written consent from the publisher.
CONTACT estila.co / IG @estilamag
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WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF ESTILA
Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.
Have you ever found yourself at a crossroads or been stuck in a rut? We have. All of the powerful stories we write about in ESTILA have one thing in common - they are told by amazingly talented creatives who have gone through tipping points, frustrations and aha-moments that have led them onto a new journey into entrepreneurship. Our mission is to inspire you to do the same. We believe that life is a journey about finding who you are and what your calling is. It's about challenging yourself, and the status quo. Only then you can realise your true potential. We hope that the following pages will trigger a spark or an idea for you to take action and just go for it!
editorâ€™s note Welcome to the seventh print edition of ESTILA bookazine. Sometimes life throws challenges at us for a reason, don't you think? The stories on the following pages tell journeys of self-reinvention and innovation. The world will keep moving forward only if we deal with challenges head-on. Sometimes this requires thinking outside the box and doing things that have never been done before. Other times we need to dig deep and rediscover our passion that has been buried by our own circumstances and lack of self-belief. If you feel like that's you, read the stories by Gill Wright (our cover story), Sophia Frances and Alexia Peck. If they can do it, you can do it too! Now grab a fresh cup of coffee, a notebook and settle in a quiet reading corner. Karolina Barnes / editor-in-chief
MUST - READ STORIES
INTERIORS “Your environment can affect your state of mind.”
i n t eriors Âˇ build stor y 2 MIN
Behind the scenes with Create Bespoke words by Julia James and photography by Chris White
With an impressive build portfolio and the Best Luxury Design / Build Company 2018 Architecture Award under its belt, Create Bespoke is helping clients create spaces that tell stories through bespoke and luxury finishes. Each project says something unique, showcasing creative engineering at its best. Here they take us behind the scenes. The process Each project we take on starts with the client. We work closely with them to ensure the brief is both true to their vision but also realistic, achievable and sustainable, in terms of time, budget, execution, and environmental factors. The process starts with a face-to-face conversation where we determine the specific nature of the project. We prefer to work in a collaborative atmosphere, which allows us to blend the balance of client's vision with our insight and expertise. As our strength is in building and engineering, we always want to make sure that all aspects of the construction are completed with great accuracy and longevity in mind. We pay attention to every detail. For example, we found that assigning each client with their own installation manager helps with better communication and smoother project management.
i n t eriors Âˇ build stor y
i n teriors Âˇ build stor y
i n t eriors Âˇ build stor y
A state of mind We truly believe that your environment can profoundly affect your state of mind. That's why we also work with our clients on bespoke furniture pieces that reflect their taste and personality. We design and produce all bespoke furniture in-house and occasionally, we also work with respected international furniture designers on exciting design collaborations. Future plans Recently we have completed the Foxbourne Road project (featured in this article) and are currently working on numerous other residential projects, one of them is an exciting re-build in London, which we will be revealing soon. We also are involved in many other creative projects particularly with our founder's, Andy Young, sculptures. The 'Translations in Light' copper tree is currently showing at the Hannah Peschar sculpture garden in Surrey. For more information or enquiries, please call 0203 642 5066 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org createbespoke.co.uk
i n t e riors Âˇ business stor y 3 MIN
Two together interview by Karolina Barnes, photography provided by James Soane
Steve Jobs once said that "design is not just what it looks like, design is how it works." When it comes to interiors, this couldn't be truer. Social media, especially Instagram and Pinterest, make us believe that aesthetics is more important than functionality. But that's a big illusion. Great design is able to mix the two together, creating spaces that are a joy to be in. Project Orange is on a mission to do just that. They are an unusual practice because they place equal importance on both, architecture and interior design. Whether it's homes, hotels or offices, they approach each project with detailed research and collaboration with their clients and partners. No wonder that among their achievements are RIBA Regional and National Awards, Building Design Interior Architect of the Year Awards, a Civic Trust Award, the Housing Design Awards, the British Homes Awards and The European Hotel Awards. Partners in practice and in life Project Orange was founded by Cambridge University graduates, Christopher Ash and James Soane in 1997. Here we chat with them about their early days, projects and educating the next generation of architects.
i n t e riors · business stor y
What is the story behind Project Orange? How and why did you decide to set it up? We met at university when we were 19, and have been a couple since we were 21. When we finished studying, a group of us formed Orange to enter competitions. We came 4th in the Copenhagen Library competition winning £5000! Later Christopher and I began working on some small residential jobs so we became Project Orange. It was in 1997 that Christopher set up an office full-time while I joined in 2001. Our aim was to combine architecture with interiors, and to be open to a spectrum of design approaches without creating a signature. What did you find most challenging in early days in terms of project management and getting new clients? In some ways when you are very small, it is less stressful as you only need a few projects to keep you going. Our clients came from word of mouth and we were good at networking. It’s hard to imagine that social media was still nascent in 2000, so it was important to meet people face to face. Actually, I think the same still applies, but there are more smoke and mirrors.
i n t e ri o rs Âˇ business stor y
Your studio handles both, architecture and interior design? What does design mean to you and why did you decide to focus on both disciplines rather than just one? Up until the second half of 20th century, it was commonplace for architectural studios to work from the outside in, and from the inside out. Look at Aalto for instance. The disconnect happened when space became gendered and the interior became more of a female domain...and the whole discipline of design was divided up into architecture, interiors and decoration. To us, this made no sense, and we have actively sought to bring back a holistic sense of buildings as places to be inhabited. What has been your favourite project so far? For its drama, I would say Shoreham Street in Sheffield. We were actively encouraged by the client and the planners to make a remarkable piece of architecture.
i n t e riors · business stor y What has been your proudest moment so far? I’ve just tweeted I hate the word proud! It suggests self-importance. However, for me the work I am doing - teaching at the new LSA brings a great deal of satisfaction as we are bringing a new and lively agenda to the education of young architects. We consider how we can make cities more liveable, cleaner and more equitable. Can you tell us a little bit more about what you’re currently working on? Right now we have two hotels, which will be very fun, Nhow London and Nhow Brussels. Also, we are working in Thamesmead for Peabody, and completing 14 new homes on the edge of a town in Suffolk. Increasingly, we feel we should be looking at how intelligent, sustainable architecture can improve people’s lives. We want to invest in long-term values rather than short-term value. Much will have to change in the next 10-20 years to take into account climate change, pollution and outdated financial models. Architects can be part of that restructuring.
Featured project is The Swan Hotel in Suffolk. Please visit www.theswansouthwold.co.uk for more information.
FLORAL FLAIR research and graphics by Emilia Vespoli
TIMOROUS BEASTIES Ruskin Floral Wallpaper
AMARA AERIN – Sintra Gardenia Candle
AMARA ORLA KIELY – Poppy Alarm Clock
AMARA ORLA KIELY – Poppy Alarm Clock
AMARA PIP STUDIO – Hummingbird Rectangular Cake Tray
AMARA SCION – Pepino Embroidered Pillow
M'ODA 'OPERANDI DOLCE & GABBANA Rose Printed Jumpsuit
LA DOUBLE J HOUSEWIVES The Zig Zag Tipetto
i n t e ri o rs Âˇ fur niture brand
i n t e riors · fur niture brand 5 MIN
In her own words with Elizabeth Turner words and photography provided by Elizabeth Turner
During my childhood, my mum was always updating items around the house, repurposing furniture we already owned and even building her own furniture. I remember being taken to an auction where I chose a tatty Victorian metal bed frame with flower details. I painted each flower a different colour and was so proud of how I'd transformed it. Upcycling is something I’ve always enjoyed, so when it came to furnishing my own home I naturally went looking for items to refurbish and Mid-century furniture is what I was drawn to. I'm about to celebrate 2 years of running my own business, which is an amazing feeling. When I launched the business, I had recently moved into a home, which needed furnishing, and I wanted to fill it with unique, interesting furniture so began customising pieces myself. I absolutely loved the process of taking something old and making it look contemporary, so I couldn't stop buying furniture! I realised that so many people want their homes to be unique, but don’t have the time or tools to source and restore furniture themselves. That’s where my business began. Originally the idea of creating patterns by leaving some of the wood exposed came from necessity. The pieces I was working on weren't always in great condition. I didn't want to paint the whole piece of furniture but often had to conceal damage that I'd repaired, so I created shapes to work around the areas I needed to hide. Over time I realised that I'm really drawn to clean lines and simple block patterns, so decided to build on it and create a range that was cohesive.
i n t e ri o rs Âˇ fur niture brand
i n t e riors Âˇ fur niture brand
I find Instagram a great platform for inspiration. I don't tend to look at furniture instead, I love to check out pattern, colour and home decor. I think it's so important to keep up with how people are decorating their homes to ensure that I'm creating pieces that work within them. There are so many people creating amazing interiors in their spare time and sharing ideas. I can't help but feel spurred on to create something myself. When I began sourcing furniture I was shocked that people were happy to throw away items that were solid, well made and had years of use left in them. It's really important to stop these items unnecessarily ending up in a landfill. I've noticed a huge boom in upcycling since I started, with so many TV shows now giving ideas and inspiration on how to repurpose things. I've definitely found that it's much harder for me to source the furniture I want, but that means that more people are going for second-hand items which can only be a good thing. Collaborating with creatives in entirely different fields really excites me, it enables me to create something that I may have been restricted in my own workshop. I have a few projects coming up with other designers which I can't wait to reveal. Another area which I'd love to explore is building my own furniture from scratch, I'm a long way off this, but it's always good to dream! For more information about Elizabeth's work and latest updates, please follow her IG account @elizabethdotdesign.
i n t e ri ors Âˇ patter n designer 5 MIN
Sophia Frances interview by Karolina Barnes, photography provided by Sophia Frances
As a pattern and colour lover myself, it's exciting to see the talent that is currently coming in the interiors industry. One of them is Sophia Frances who launched her first collection last year. Sophia takes inspiration from photographing and observing life and often has her home and her eclectic interior style in mind. She creates her designs using watercolours and inks. Her signature style is colourful, confident and has unique intricate kaleidoscopic details, which will add personality to any modern interior. Launched in 2017, Sophia Frances is a relatively new company. Tell us a little bit about yourself? I am Sophia Frances. I am a surface pattern designer living in South East London with my husband and two small children. I am obsessed with pattern and colour, and my work focuses on mark-making and colour exploration. I produce patterns for a range of different surfaces, including home decor, stationery and childrenswear.
When I am not creating or painting in my studio, I am spending time with my family in the vibrant hustle and bustle of London at craft markets and museums. I also enjoy spending time at my parent's farm in Kent. It's always a great escape from the city and an excuse to relax and take in the beauty of the countryside. I drink way too much coffee on a daily basis and I have an obsession with cactus, I have way too many in my home! Your branding and designs are very distinctive, what inspired you to launch your brand and why? After graduating from The University of the Arts London in 2006 I fell into working in fashion buying. I gained a lot of experience in designing and buying but felt disheartened with the fast throwaway fashion and products that were on offer and I wanted to produce things that were made to last and not just be dictated by trends. Whilst on maternity leave with my daughter I picked up my paintbrush and re-found my love of painting and creating patterns that I enjoyed so much at university. I have been hooked ever since. Working in my London studio and from my home allows me to be flexible in my working hours, this really inspired me to push forward with my own brand. I love the freedom that comes with choosing the work I want to produce and dictating my own working hours. (Even if that does sometimes mean I end up working into the small hours to meet deadlines).
i n t e riors · patter n designer
Launching a new brand is notoriously challenging, how did you go about it? From concept to launch tell us a little about your journey and how you avoided the pitfalls that trip up so many start-ups? It is challenging launching a brand, I have had a lot of setbacks along the way but I have learnt to be resilient and determined and to go with my gut feeling. When I launched my first fabric collection ‘Kibris’, I soon realised that I had been so caught up in designing that I had neglected to promote my work enough. I learnt that you can have a great product and a fab website but if you don’t get yourself out there then no one will know what you are doing. It is a constant task on my to-do list to promote my work but social media is such a great tool for this. What I have learnt from my journey is; realise your vision and go with it, be confident in your execution and others will love it too. Your style is refreshingly unique and very specific to Sophia Frances, how would you describe it? I would say that my style is bold, playful and energetic. My love affair with mark-making and watercolour has always been a theme running throughout my work. I have over time developed a playful painterly style where you can always see my hand in my work, it gives me a sense of freedom in this style of expressive work. When I first started producing patterns, I always felt that I should try and keep my designs simple and minimal but as I have evolved as a designer, I have come to realise that it is just not me. I have to be authentic to my vision and what feels right. I am ultimately a maximalist at heart, more is always more in my eyes. What is your latest collection and what can we look forward to seeing in the future? I am currently working on my new collection of pattern designs called ‘Perfectly Imperfect’. These will be available to purchase on my website in late summer as art prints, fabrics and accessories. I have also been lucky enough to have collaborated with a few small brands recently on some exciting childrenswear projects, getting in touch with my inner child and deliberately producing childlike work was so much fun. I have a few more exciting collaborations coming up soon which include designing a ceramics collection. I am also working towards exhibiting at a design exhibition next year, that's if I can fit it all in? Watch this space!
i n teriors Âˇ brand stor y
i n t eriors · brand stor y 4 MIN
Nisi Living interview by Karolina Barnes, photography provided by Eleni Portch
Businesses that are able to deliver an experience or a slice of a specific lifestyle are the ones that customers currently seek out and are attracted to. Like Nisi Living who offers colourful lifestyle products which allow you to have a little bit of Mediterranean in your life. Here we chat with Eleni and Julian Portch, its founders, giving us an insight into their brand. What is the story behind Nisi Living? How and why did you decide to set it up? Eleni: The ethos of Nisi Living’s brand stems from my Greek heritage and our passion for Mediterranean living. ‘Nisi’ is the Greek word for ‘island’ evoking images of bright colours and warm textures that we associate with a Mediterranean island. We wanted to share this passion with our visitors, enticing them to add a splash of the ‘Med’ to their homes. Of course, it’s easy to do when the weather here is good, but actually even on a dull grey day, what could be better than a pop of aquamarine or bright pink to brighten up your living space? Our mission or ‘call to action’ is summed up by our brand strapline ‘Live More Mediterranean’ or simply #LIVEMOREMED. In the 9 months prior to going live, we spent a lot of time curating products, including many handmade pieces, from Europe and beyond, whose attributes reflected our brand, being rich in colour, character and quality. At the same time, we worked with our web developers to create a bespoke user-friendly website that showcased our products in the best way and promoted the ‘Nisi’ brand.
INDOOR & OUTDOOR CUSHIONS Links Fuchsia £70, Flamingo £90
i n t e ri ors · brand stor y
What did you find most challenging in the early days in terms of getting customers to your website? Julian: With no existing customer base or bricks & mortar shop, this has been our biggest challenge, particularly given the competitiveness of the homeware sector. We have invested in the usual options for ‘paid’ web traffic but we have found that organic and referred traffic is the best quality and more likely to result in repeat business. Hence, our strategy has been to develop a loyal customer base of discerning shoppers, who buy into our brand and products. Our ‘Nisi Club’ was launched to let our subscribers know about upcoming promotions and new arrivals and also to reward them for their loyalty in the form of exclusive discounts. Many of our fabulous customers come back again and again, recommending Nisi to their friends and family, which is particularly rewarding.
i n t eriors · brand stor y
How do you want your customer to feel when they get a piece of Nisi Living Mediterranean lifestyle in their home? Eleni: This is so important to us! We want every customer to feel a sense of delight when they receive and unpack a Nisi parcel. We want the customer to not only love the product, but also to love the way we have packaged and wrapped the product. The customer should feel that they have brought a little flavour of the Mediterranean into their home. The personal touch is critical for our brand and this is often commented on in reviews; every parcel contains a personal ‘thank you’ note and all new customers receive a little freebie from Nisi too! What has been your proudest moment so far? Julian: Aside from the website launch in June 2016, which was a very proud moment, probably our first credit in a national magazine. To see Nisi Living and its products in a magazine that we have always enjoyed reading gave us a sense of credibility and belief in what we were doing.
ACRYLIC TUMBLER Pink, £13
GERONA BOWLS Splatter, £70
PALLA PITCHER Green, £40
i n t e ri ors Âˇ brand stor y
i n t eriors · brand stor y
What can we expect from Nisi Living in near future? Eleni: We have so many exciting plans for Nisi. We’re always looking for new designers to champion; we have loved showcasing the work of ceramicists such as Federica Bubani and we plan to add to our portfolio of talented young designers. We’re also looking to expand our range of outdoor accessories, as the division between indoor and outdoor living becomes increasingly blurred. We have collaborated with a few restaurants in the past and we plan to do more of this going forward, giving our followers a real taste of Mediterranean living in the form of amazing recipes, wine suggestions and travel inspiration. We would also love to collaborate with a designer on a bespoke range of tableware, exclusive to Nisi and our customers.
ART â€œWhat drives me is the ability to create a whole character from nothing.â€?
art Âˇ c ov er stor y
My journey to fashion illustration introduction by Karolina Barnes, words and art provided by Gill Wright
When brainstorming on this bookazine cover, I wanted to capture the beauty of the coming season, its sophistication, femininity and boldness. I was so happy when I came across Gill Wright's artwork one day and immediately thought it would be a perfect fit. Gill is a Saltburn-by-the-Sea based artist and illustrator who specialises in creating unique fashion art prints that tell captivating style stories to suit contemporary interiors. She also regularly works on commissions for a variety of clients and has done editorial and product illustrations as well as portraits and branding since her launch. Here she shares her personal journey and wisdom she picked up along the way.
art · c ov er stor y
My trigger The first Paris show I ever saw was as a student in the early nineties: Commes des Garçons. I think I struck lucky. That combination of collection, models and music seriously moved me to tears. I knew I was doing the right degree. Making notes, sketching shows and creating shop reports was a huge part of my daily creative process and I loved bringing all of that together with illustration. The collections that inspired me deeply were always those in which I perceived the woman as quietly confident in her style. Indeed, one of my proudest moments in showing my own degree show was when Iain R Webb described my collection as "shamelessly cool and elegant" in The Times. I really felt I’d achieved what I set out to do in portraying the women I’d admired so much on other runways. Following this, I worked as a clothing designer for over 10 years, always enjoying the sketching and illustrating elements of my work but the industry in the North East was diminishing so, as I was working increasingly on the visual presentation and promotional side of things, I added some graphic design training and was offered a position in an agency. I worked there for fifteen years, first as Graphic Designer and Illustrator then Studio Manager. My skills became focused on manipulation of images and finding fairly quick visual solutions to tight deadlines. For many years I felt almost guilty that I’d turned my back on my fashion roots where the swish of a brush or marker to capture a pose was what it was all about. I was missing out on something that I loved. Becoming a mother meant that my full-time post changed to part-time and I felt that I lost my career momentum completely. When the recession hit and the agency floundered I was made redundant but after some months working for a local magazine, I was invited back. I remember telling people that it was on a consultancy basis but it was basically a zero hours contract which eventually ended up giving me exactly that. We were in the middle of a significant house renovation at the time so it seemed that things couldn’t have been worse. So in 2016, through necessity rather than an admirably bold career decision, I decided to launch independently with Gill Wright Illustration pooling my varied creative industry experience and focusing on my real passion, fashion illustration.
Right: Red Umbrella
My original plan was to secure commissions and one of my first clients was Wayne Hemingway, MBE of Hemingway Design. I was so delighted when he called me – this was actually going to work! Further to this, I was approached by Brandon Maxwell, who had spotted one of my illustrations on Instagram, and who wanted to license it for accessories packaging. The possibilities of Instagram became more apparent when the Ellen DeGeneres Show contacted me wanting to show an illustration of Lupita N’yongo that I had shared as she was to be a guest on the show! Increasingly though, I was being asked more and more for art prints and I now have a small range of giclée prints which have been well received by individuals and interior stylists alike. This has also triggered some lovely collaborations which I am unable to share yet!
art · c ov er stor y
My mission Today people often question my choice to pursue fashion as my subject as it’s quite niche and therefore not perceived as a great business plan by many. I have worked on other commissions featuring flora, fauna and architecture, but fashion is my passion and it feels right to go back to my roots. For as long as I can remember I have loved drawing people and faces and have admired fashion illustrators and photographers who capture beautifully the essence of an existence. Perhaps in the same way that artists have painted Venice! I think it’s the attraction of capturing something that won’t be the same forever. Strong and yet fragile. Something about that appeals to me. What drives me is the ability to create a whole character from nothing. It’s more about style and the personality of the subject – how she wears the dress, rather than the dress itself. The woman could be twenty or seventy. She isn’t necessarily beautiful but is irresistibly sophisticated, relaxed and comfortable with herself. One thing I hope they all have in common is that their gaze draws in the viewer and makes them feel intrigued and empowered in some way. I love the work of many fashion artists who chose to capture movement or illustrate extreme poses but I like to also create a stillness in my work: a feeling of cool relaxation and calm. So whilst I’ll always welcome commissions I am also spending more time just aiming to create beautiful images to enhance a space. I never thought that I’d be asked by an art gallery to sell my work but that has happened recently and I’m excited at the prospect of sharing my work as art in itself. My process As a result of slowly peeling back the digital deadline layers, I am now working more and more with traditional techniques, producing hand-drawn sketches in combinations of charcoal, ink and watercolour. When not working on commissions, a typical day starts with some warm-up sketches before I embark upon the idea that I’ve had bubbling away. Sometimes I just want to paint what I’ve seen in the shows or I may be inspired by an old photo or magazine image from my archives. I love to sketch and test new techniques but my finished pieces are often rounded off with digital manipulation, layering or jigsaws of various successful bits of my more traditional explorations to create a digital collage. I like the freedom of drawing loosely. When I plan an illustration intensively I can tighten up, worrying too much about perfection but collage gives me the freedom to explore with more texture and the ability to focus on the character at the centre.
art · c ov er stor y
I’ve always been uncomfortable about creating a lot of digital art though. I guess I’m just old school. So I try to keep a balance. My analogy is that it’s like the music industry where a raw sketch is like the intimate live performance, and the finished piece is the highly produced track that is the same music at its polished best so that it can be reproduced exactly every time. Both are desirable at different levels as long as they’re good! And my work varies a lot. I hope there’s something for everyone. So much business advice is centred around having an instantly recognisable brand. Great advice of course, but suffocating in some ways for me as I love to experiment with different media and my style depends on my mood or even which paper I have in stock. Being versatile makes me tick. I don’t want to be pigeonholed into a style category. Sometimes I want to capture an image with the simplest of line but I also love to explore the richness of texture and pattern with inks or watercolour. My ‘Black Line’ range of giclée prints is different again, combining carefully executed digital line with loose watercolour textures. For me, submitting to producing a lot of the same would be creative suicide. And it makes sense because I admire so many illustrators with completely different styles: René Gruau, Carl Erickson, David Downton; Jason Brooks; Stina Persson to name but a few. Such amazing artists that sometimes I can hardly even look at their work, peeping out through one squinting eye! My outlook Since launching independently, the trickiest thing has been learning to become a businesswoman alongside being creative and the former certainly doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m sure this rings true for many creatives and I must admit that when I’m ‘inside’ one of my drawings I find it hard to see anything else! However, I hope that an awareness of my shortcomings along with a strong belief in what I do and a willingness to keep learning will be to my advantage. This has been an enormous personal journey, where I feel quite excited that I am finally doing what I should have twenty years ago. I’ve had time to re-evaluate and absorb the world of art and fashion illustration again as I evolve into something I always should have been. me even more determined to succeed.
art · c ov er stor y
I feel justified in chasing and living this dream and I’ve already achieved a most important level of success as I not only have job satisfaction but am also there to walk my daughter to school each day. I feel far more fulfilled than I ever have throughout my career and the usual business start-up peaks and troughs that add a bit of spice along the way only make me even more determined to succeed. My style is all about bridging elegance and sophistication with confidence and individuality and I believe strongly in offering beautiful, quality art that lasts. My giclée prints use archival inks on acid-free Hahnemühle Fine Art stock so they are designed for life and I have plans to expand, enhancing the style of my discerning customers and their homes by adding to my print range to offer broader fashion and lifestyle choices. I’ve so many ideas!
Featured designer-makers from top right: Linear or Not | Corinne Alexander | Camilla Webb Carter | Elisha Francis | Pottery Post Co | Ballonet Socks estila | Vis Viva 40
spec ial feature 4 MIN
Interview with Sophie Rees, founder of Designers / Makers interview by Karolina Barnes
Can you tell us more about Designers / Makers? Designers / Makers is an agency for contemporary design, offering members business advice, selling events, PR and opportunities to develop their brand. I have always focused primarily on events and collaborating with other cultural organisations in order to benefit our members and make connections to the wider design and craft community. After several years at Old Spitalfields, we changed direction and began a collaboration with Truman Brewery on Brick Lane in 2015 that acts as a cross between a market and trade show.
spec ial feature
The London Artisan is a curated marketplace in the heart of East London. Taking place on a quarterly basis, we bring 50 contemporary designer makers for a two-day design event like no other. The London Artisan offers a diverse, quality, shopping experience that celebrates independent makers working within jewellery, ceramics, fashion, furniture, homeware to candles and beauty products. What is the mission of TLA? There is a lack of curated markets in London; most markets have some incredibly talented designer-makers setup next to imported T-shirts and second-hand records which isn't necessarily a problem but it isn't the best way to highlight the time, skill and effort that goes into handmade products. With The London Artisan I wanted to offer an affordable platform for designer-makers to sell their work, build a client base and benefit from the extra promotion we carry out that they will not get through other markets; we create a profile on the TLA website for all designers taking part, have a large social media following where we highlight all the designers and promote products being sold online through the TLA shop; a new feature to the website in 2018 which helps customers buy work before and after each event.
spec ial feature
What did you find most challenging when setting up TLA? When we first started TLA we made it a small weekly market taking place every Sunday, we were constantly chasing our tails trying to curate 20 people each week whilst trying to promote the event and grow its awareness. After one year of this we realised it needed to alter and so we decided to make it quarterly but over an entire weekend with 50 designers instead of 20. We took on a bigger space, created bigger signage and worked with media partners such as London Design Festival and Crafts Magazine to help build awareness. The quarterly schedule has worked really well and allows designers the time they need to create more stock for the events and allows us more time to promote the designers and gain exposure in the press. You also run Designer/Makers agency. What do you see as a common mistake designer/makers make? In terms of taking part in an event like The London Artisan, walking around at the start of a day I can see straight away who will be successful and who won't. The products and display are crucial to this but the third important element is attitude - smiling and interacting with customers goes a very long way and many forget this or just feel uncomfortable doing it (take your mum - she is often the best PR you can get!). Before each event I send a PDF document to every maker taking part which details how to plan for the event - before and during - which many find helpful. In terms of day to day practice, spend time figuring out a strong brand and product photos - that would be the number one piece of advice I would give. What are your plans for the near future? Designers / Makers is focusing on developing The London Artisan in 2018 and planning new exciting collaborative projects with Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield and Oxo Tower on London's Southbank. I am currently writing my first book 'Artisan Bristol' which profiles 25 designer-makers and is due to be published in 2019.
FASHION “Colourful statement pieces in the wonders of nature.”
fashion · te xtile designer 4 MIN
Biophilic design with Jessica Wilde
How did you get to where you are now?
I graduated from Textile Design at Birmingham City University in 2008, and I was lucky enough to go straight into a job as a wallpaper designer for a manufacturer. It was a great opportunity to work on in-house ranges, as well as an incredibly varied range of client projects. It also meant I was living in rural Shropshire where I grew up, something I had a new appreciation for after the years studying away and doing placements in London. After 5 years, I got itchy feet and felt the need to push my creativity further, so decided to start my own business as a freelance designer, alongside launching a range of products. This started very small with simple gift items such as gift cards and stationery, but over the last five years, I’ve expanded into fashion and home accessories. These are available online and via a growing number of stockists and galleries. Alongside this, I’ve continued to work on surface pattern design projects for a range of clients.
fashion · te xtile designer What is your mission of Jessica Wilde? Jessica Wilde Designs celebrates nature as something to be treasured and considered incredibly precious, evolving from original artworks inspired by how enchanting and diverse the natural world can be. I’m intrigued by the beautifully complex and unexpected, and combine this in my work with a passion for colour and pattern. The fashion and home accessories are vibrant colourful statement pieces, something to treasure and absorb you in the wonders of nature. How important is biophilic design to you and your brand? Biophilic design is a discipline that enables a connection with nature in our built environments, with its roots in Biophilia, the concept that we all have an innate need to connect with nature for our wellness. This has been a huge focus for the part-time MA I’ve been studying in Textile Design for the past two years. I’ve been fascinated by the research that shows the impact of the presence of nature on our well-being, productivity and creativity. It’s exciting to see how this is influencing architecture, interior design, commercial spaces and our lifestyles generally. As a textile designer, it’s helped me see the bigger picture for some of the continuing trends we’ve seen relating to nature and wellness, inspiring me to design more mindfully and consider the role of nature far more deeply. I’ve always taken my inspiration from the natural world but looking forward I’m keen to explore new ways of adapting this to my design practice. Starting your own business is hard - what has been your biggest lesson learnt so far on your journey? Patience, it really is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to be realistic in your planning and allow the time and resource needed for development and growth. Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking something’s not working and has failed, but actually, it’s about persevering and giving it time. Patience also allows you to step back, keep everything in perspective and stay on track for your long-term goals. Not to mention, take a break when needed! Can you tell us more about your latest collection? The latest collection, Biophilia, features detailed florals, hand painted botanicals and vibrant winged insects. The designs began as original drawings and watercolour paintings inspired by visits to botanical gardens and butterfly houses, layered to create colourful artworks that feature as luxury silk scarves, velvet cushions, art and gifts. The design process explores unique and expressive colour combinations, inspired by jewel tones and a love for detailing. All products are made in the U.K., either in the home studio or by working closely with local textile manufacturers.
fashionÂˇ te xtile designer
fashion · te xtile designer
What can we expect from you in near future? There’ll be more scarves as well as some fresh additions to the product range. I have some exciting projects in the pipeline and will be developing my next collection for the end of my MA Textile Design in July, during which I hope to develop more interior applications for my designs. CREDITS: Photography: Laura Dempster | @cakemix | email@example.com Scarves: Jessica Wilde | @jessicawildedesign | firstname.lastname@example.org Makeup: Megan Foster | @pearl_meg Hair: Megan Tate | @megantatemua Models Auriol Butcher | @auriol.butcherdesigns Roché Smith | @rochethemodel Charly Malone | @charly_malone_ Location: Winterbourne House & Gardens, Birmingham | @winterbournehg
fashion Âˇ designer stor y
fashion Âˇ designer stor y 7 MIN
From graphic design to jewellery with Victoria von Stein written by Victoria von Stein, photography by Anna Stathaki
My journey so far has been challenging and a big learning curve, professionally and personally but fulfilling! From a young age, I always knew I would have a creative career in design, and my intention was to earn a living while doing what I loved. Having worked as a graphic designer in design agencies for 10 years and going through some personal life challenges, I was looking for a new path where I could create something meaningful. I always had an admiration for craftsmanship and after visiting a country fair show in England, I was inspired to take jewellery-making classes as a hobby in London to get back into what I used to enjoy doing as a child. While still working full-time, I trained for two years in jewellery craftsmanship at City Lit college where I learned traditional silversmithing techniques. I was fascinated by the process, and how I was able to create a beautiful piece from rough metals into a stunning jewellery piece.
It felt very rewarding! It grew from a hobby into a small side business and I started to sell on markets and to family and friends. I was curious about how to build a business, too. As I was hungry for information, I took an online business class for creatives in evenings. I wanted to give myself the time to reflect, research and build upon my skills while having the financial stability and learning what it takes to be an entrepreneur and to test my designs and products. I recommend this to anyone who is thinking of starting their own business as it avoids stress and overwhelm, one step at a time.
2015 was a turning point for me. I was accepted to take part in The Goldsmith’s Centre’s Setting Out Programme, a business development course for jewellery designer-makers. I was thrilled as they only choose 10 people a year! That was a sign for me and I took the courage in both hands and changed my career path using my 10 years' experience in graphic design (i.e. my branding skills), trilingual abilities and jewellery making skills to build my own business. Since then, I’ve designed a new collection and in 2017 I rebranded under my own name to connect with my customers on a more personal level, as I now also offer bespoke design commissions. Currently, I sell mostly online, at Craft Fairs or at private sales. It hasn’t been an easy journey but I’ve certainly learned a lot about myself and how important it is to believe in yourself. To know that I am now the founder and designer-maker of my own fine jewellery brand with lovely clients is a dream come true. I’m grateful that I realised I had a compelling inspiring vision, self-drive, dedication and perseverance. These qualities helped me to get where I am now and the adventure continues! I’m happy I followed my passion to bring intrinsic value to my customers.
fashion · designer stor y
Several experiences in my life influenced my journey in becoming a jewellery designer. From a very young age, my mother, a fine artist, saw my creativity and encouraged me to nurture my skills for craft and art which I’m very grateful for. Then, my German grandmother introduced me to gemstones and showed me how to string beads as she had her own jewellery Pearl Studio in Germany. I still have the very first bracelet I made when I was 9! At 17 I did work experience at a jewellery designer’s atelier in Paris, which was fascinating, as I witnessed how a bespoke ring was made for my French grandmother there! I realise these combined experiences planted little seeds over time. Inspired by my travels to beautiful, culturally enriching countries such as Asia, Cuba and Morocco, I was looking for a way of keeping my cherished memories alive and express creatively the beauty I’ve seen at the same time. This led me to designing and handcrafting my own jewellery pieces to keep these fond memories close to my heart and relive the adventures and emotions felt. Having taken several traditional jewellery making courses, it felt very rewarding to create a beautiful piece with my own hands that held such powerful sentimental meanings and exude my own sense of beauty. I stepped up and thought about my mission for my growing business. Knowing what challenges women go through, I wanted to create jewellery that brings joy, beauty, strength and intrinsic value to their lives. In today’s society, women tend to lose themselves by wearing tough masks in order to cope with pressures and demands of everyday reality. Thus, they burn out their feminine energy quickly. I found jewellery is an excellent way of uplifting and inspiring the woman to shine their own inner light and self-express herself creatively. I believe in powerful feminine energy and living life according to our values. Once we slow down and find a way to tap into our inner self and learn to listen to our heart again, we find wisdom and courage to show up as we are, our imperfect beautiful self. And people will notice our radiance. Jewellery can then act as a powerful anchor or talisman of who we are.
HAVANA CHANDELIER EARRINGS Turquoise, £220
fashion · designer stor y I’m passionate to design and handcraft pieces that exude elegance with earthy & cultural sensibilities mixed with beautiful coloured precious stones, expressing a sense of romance and adventure. I use precious metals for accessible luxury. Each collection is inspired by a travel destination I’ve been to, transforming my experiences into original designs, making them wearable keepsakes. The pieces are unique in its story and meaning it holds. I derive my original designs from what I saw and felt such as colours, cultural inspirations, architecture and more! The pieces create a connection between myself and the wearer, who brings the piece to life. I love the fact that what I’ve created inspires the wearer to feel beautiful, confident and helps them to connect with their own life stories of love, travel and achievements. They also have a distinct style with an organic textured feel, colourful gemstones and a feminine yet strong look. The benefit is that you know who is behind the brand, who creates the pieces. Authenticity is important to my business. My customers are women who dare to stand out from the crowd, are sophisticated, mindful and express their own individuality and free spirit. They appreciate colour, original designs that are not trend-led, craft and value the story behind every piece, as it resonates with their own values. They often tell me the pieces they wear make them feel like being a part of them. It inspires them to travel and just feel beautiful, confident and feminine with an edge. The statement pieces have often served as an ice-breaker for storytelling at social gatherings and this makes them feel seen and heard. They love the organic textured look & feel, it’s delicate feminine essence yet it is strong and lightweight. As a creative at the beginning, it’s the business side that was challenging - wearing so many hats as a sole owner! It surely never was boring and I met so many people that were willing to help. I’ve learned so much during that time, it helped me define a clearer vision and my future goals. In future, I look forward to working with loyal customers, having a wonderful team, sharing my vision, and new exciting collections and collaborations! My other plans I keep a secret for now!
CREDITS: Scarf: Bianca Elgar | @biancaelgar | biancaelgar.com Dress: Elaine Bernstein | @elainebernstein | elainebernstein.com Model: @AllegraAmanda
fashion · brand stor y
For the love of art with Ennigaldi
interview by Karolina Barnes, photography provided by Ennigaldi
The story of the London-based luxury accessories label, Ennigaldi, started in 2013 in an East London recording studio when Gabriel Theuring and Martin McCusker met. Gabriel was an art lover and collector who had been studying Bespoke Tailoring at the University of the Arts London while Martin had been working in the music industry and was the lead singer and guitarist in a well-known East London Underground Metal band. Despite the differences in their disciplines, it quickly became clear that both of them shared a love of art and design, as well as an appreciation for beauty and craftsmanship. Soon a plan unfolded to launch a brand that would merge a love of art with craftsmanship and here they share their journey so far. What has got you through your journey so far? Martin: A lot of coffee and hard work! And, thankfully the support of a great team. Gabriel: After taking the initial steps towards our vision, I just have to say that now it's becoming a real job. Something that we do every day and the workload never stops. Martin: Yes, there is a list of tasks to complete every day, every week and every month… and we just have to keep going and not get overwhelmed. Gabriel: Yes, probably that’s the main thing that has got us to where we are now… persistence and the drive to never give up. We learned a lot by trial and error and still have the persistence and belief in the vision. What has led you to the idea of designing leather bags? What was the inspiration or trigger? Gabriel: Ennigaldi as a brand was based on a love of art from the beginning. It is all about combining art and fashion and giving a person a piece of wearable art. Handbags seemed a great versatile vehicle to start with. Also, the great thing about a bag is that it doesn’t matter what size or shape you are… One bag can fit everyone. Martin: Exactly. A handbag is a blank canvas. For our first collection, we looked at the art and architecture of Ancient Babylon for inspiration and applied that to classic contemporary shapes. We try to keep our styles timeless but interesting. And in future, we will look to different periods for inspiration.
fashion · brand stor y
How important are sustainability and the eco-friendly aspect of your products to your brand? Gabriel: Growing up in Germany, recycling and renewable energy are things I’ve always been surrounded by. As long as I’ve lived, sustainability and eco-friendliness were not a lifestyle choice over there; it is all just a part of life. So obviously I wanted to bring this awareness into my own company. Martin: We do not advertise ourselves as an eco-brand per se but as a small company, we thoroughly know our supply chain on every level and source from the best European tanneries with the best practices. Gabriel: Also, keeping things local is integral to our logistics. While our materials mainly come from Italy, our studio is based in London and our manufacturing is done in a workshop nearby. We are proud to say that our bags are not only designed but also made in London. Martin: This way we can oversee every detail as each bag is being created without having to get on a plane. We save on time and carbon emissions in shipping but besides such practical and ecological advantages, it is a privilege to tap into the finely honed skills of craftsmen on our doorstep and contribute towards the preservation and development of the British artisan industry, whose future rests on the logistical decisions and support of local designers such as ourselves. Gabriel: And in that way we are a sustainable brand as we are sustaining local industries and the local community, not only in our production line but also in our working lives day to day as a team. We tend to choose to support local family-run shops and restaurants over chains. This way of thinking filters down through every aspect of how the company operates, not just within our products. Martin: Saying that, the high quality of our products ensures that they are sustainable. Using only the finest materials, every bag is handcrafted and built to last. While we like to bring out new colours and styles every season, we are not the type of brand that believes in replacing your handbag every few months. We believe in investing in one or two pieces that you love and carrying them for years. Gabriel: Having a respect for material things and only choosing to use things with a certain longevity is not just important to us as a brand but it is important to all our lives because as far as I’m concerned, we only have one planet and anyone who has love for themselves and their descendants and the future generations should be taking this very seriously and do what they can to avoid unnecessary waste and damage to the environment.
fashion Âˇ brand stor y
fashion Âˇ brand stor y
What did you find most challenging when setting up Ennigaldi? Martin: Getting the name out there and finding the right people to work with. Gabriel: I would say cash flow. Unforeseen circumstances can arise and you always need to be prepared for that. Martin: Yes, managing budgets is one of the most difficult tasks. It is a balancing act that takes time to master. Gabriel: Also I would say for me, starting this business so young at 21, I found it hard to maintain emotional stability throughout the stressful periods. I had to learn how to stay level headed and professional and not let things get to you. Who is your customer and how do you find them? Martin: Our customer is cultured, stylish and independent. She doesnâ€™t mindlessly follow trends and sees life as an endless journey of discovery. Gabriel: I would agree with that. We are fortunate to have received quite a bit of press coverage since we launched in September 2016, which has brought some customers to of us. Martin: Also the creation and curation of beautiful visual content are very important to us and so a lot of people discover our collections through Instagram. Gabriel: Yes, a love of art is found at every level of the brand. Art is not only in the inspiration behind our designs but we see each finished piece as a work of art and therefore our regard our presentation as an art also. We also have an art journal on our website, which features mainly current art and design exhibitions and interviews with inspiring contemporary artists and some customers have discovered Ennigaldi through this content. We love to share what we find interesting and if that catches someoneâ€™s interest, well then we already have a common ground and I believe that attracting customers is about building relationships and connections as much as it is about selling a product. In fact, maybe even more so. Where do you see Ennigaldi in five years time? Martin: We hope to be in the right boutiques in the best cities in Europe and beyond. Gabriel: I see Ennigaldi as being a bigger company with an expanded product range. However, we started off as a small, supportive, close-knit team and I would like to maintain this positive social dynamic within the culture of the company, no matter how much it grows.
fashion Âˇ insight stor y
Summer dressing and its challenges words by Flavia Young
A true celebrity and press favourite this bell sleeve silk blouse by Winser London is glamorous and easy to wear. High quality mother-of-pearl buttons and a pleat detail on the shoulder add a touch of luxury. ÂŁ195
fashion Âˇ insight stor y 2 MIN
Summer dressing in the city is a challenge to most of us women, who don't permanently live in a coastal city. That holy grail that is the perfect marriage between flattering, comfortable styles and occasion appropriateness goes completely off kilt. For one, it is as practically impossible to look professional in spaghetti straps at the office, as it is to not overheat in a pant suit. Of course the (too) easy answer has always been the short-sleeved sheath dress, but is it really possible to wear the same style day in and day out without it starting to eat into your daily joy de vivre? We all need something a little more sartorially exciting to get us out of bed and onto to the daily grind when, if the truth is said, all we actually want to do is sit in the sun sipping a chilled drink all day. That's when the silk blouse comes in... Eternally chic, universally flattering and the most ergonomic of all fabrics - cool in the heat and warm in the cold. And there is not one occasion that comes to mind when the silk blouse has been unable to save the day. High-low perfection with jeans on the weekends. Classic and professional with a tailored pair of trousers. Chic and ultra-feminine with a pencil skirt. Off the beaten track with a long pleated skirt for events. There are some pointers worth mentioning though: Not all silk is made the same, so do not cut corners by buying the cheaper versions, as they will not last or hold its allure past the first two wears. Always invest in the best quality silk your money can buy. And beware there will be dry cleaning bills - I have learnt the hard way that no silk will ever look as beautiful again if washed, not even by hand and in cold water. Only dry cleaning will keep its lustre.
fashi on Âˇ emer ging brands
fashion · emer ging brands 6 MIN
A collaboration for a good cause written by Stefani Thrasyvoulou, Hanna Moedder, photography provided by Monique Romanowski
Mega-chains and high-street brands are typically based on the “fast fashion” principle, launching micro-frequent collections to entice new and existing shoppers to “buy now”. Because of this, trends come and go faster than one can follow. But whilst playing around with ever-changing styles of fashion can be fun, it certainly comes at a cost. The majority of shoppers buy cheap clothes and then don’t think twice about tossing them aside when the next new thing is marketed in their direction. This, of course, leads to unnecessary waste and pollution, whilst simultaneously the seller feels the need to sell or “get rid off ” these new lines with competitive prices and discounts, driving down wages and standards. As a conscious consumer, sometimes it simply feels great to really purchase something that is sure to last you a lifetime. Snazzy, an independent emerging brand from London, has made slow, fair-trade fashion their mission, recently collaborated with MOD by Monique, the German fashion and lifestyle blogger. They teamed up to tell the story of Snazzy’s new belt bag, The Aziza, made with salvaged Italian luxury leather and handwoven Berber rug by skilled artisans in Morocco. Here they share the insight into how they worked together.
fashion Âˇ emer ging brands
Monique, as a fashion expert, why do belt bags have such a moment right now? Well, I think that trends from the past are coming back from season to season. This time it is all about the 90s belt bags. I was a big fan when I was younger so I am not surprised that I am totally into these bags nowadays. One of the best throwbacks! They are practical and pretty at the same time, so a perfect addition to your day to night look. You might think that you might look like your 15-year old self but you donâ€™t need to! Just dress up in a suit and add a belt bag - you will love it, trust me! As a full-time influencer that has worked with some of the most renowned brands in cosmetics and fashion, what is your criteria when it comes to supporting up-andcoming labels? I do love working with all of my collaboration partners and of course, I am really proud that I had the chance to work with some of the most renowned ones in the industry. But I also think that there are so many new, upcoming or independent labels who need support. Whenever I see a fit, I am thrilled to hear the ideas. The big names usually do not need that big support because they are big enough. Giving new ones a push is what I really love. Especially when it comes to supporting a good cause like what we are doing with Snazzy. I also believe that we need to support female business owners as much as possible. What exactly did you like about Snazzy? What I love most about Snazzy is the attitude to a very high design level and how they support artisans and traditional craftsmanship in developing countries such as India, Morocco and Kenya at the same time. I also appreciate the longevity and slow fashion factor. In a fast-living environment with lots of fast fashion brands, it is so refreshing seeing labels who really care about our planet. It is the perfect example that fair fashion can also be very trendy and fashionable! What are your ethical values when it comes to consumer behaviour? I think that it is necessary to buy in a very selective way. Therefore, I made a conscious decision not to purchase many high street or fast fashion pieces anymore. As a consumer, I would like to know under which conditions my clothes have been produced. I am talking about both, the human factor and our environment. Furthermore, vintage buying is a big thing for me at the moment. It is also a perfect way to create your very own and unique style. This is my aim: buy less, choose well!
fashion Âˇ emer ging brands
fashi on · emer ging brands
Snazzy, why did you choose Monique as collaboration partner to promote your new belt bag with? We loved the combination of “classy” and “trendy” that Monique exudes through her Instagram account. So many bloggers get it wrong these days - they might have the following but that doesn’t mean it’s one of quality. We find that a lot of accounts just “try too hard”, and lack a certain theme or character. What we loved about Monique’s account is the consistency in the tones and the Parisian-chic yet accessible look-and-feel, and it’s exactly what we wanted as a representation of our Aziza belt bag. How long does it take to manufacture one?
To begin with, can we just mention that to weave a full-sized Berber rug it takes many weavers and many days of work, up to a month on average. We buy these rugs from Morocco, and we buy the leather that has been salvaged from big factories overseas. This luxury leather, that has been left over in the production for big brands, would otherwise have been wasted. Once we’ve chosen these materials our artisans hand-make the bag, including the welding of the brass handles from scratch to finish. I would say the process of creating a new “batch” of Aziza bags from start to finish takes 3-4 weeks. What are your manufacturing standards? The artisans we work with are skilled craftsmen of the highest standards. Having said that, since every piece is put together by hand, they are never “100% perfect”, which, for us, adds to their charm. Everything is well-made, comprised of quality leather and rugs, but the bags’ intrinsic beauty lies in the fact that they are one-of-a-kind and with the natural signs of a product being made lovingly by hand. Above all, we are particular with our prices as we want to ensure the artisans are paid fairly for their work. Do you usually work with influencers or was this collaboration something entirely new? We try to work with influencers on a regular basis and we would love to do more collaborations with the right influencers for our brand. We hope our collaboration with Monique, for example, is one of the many to follow. Our hope is that through our collaboration with Monique we can reach a broader audience, and in particular one that shares the same values and ethos as our brand.
fashion · emer ging brands
We believe people’s mindset on fast fashion and generic consumer behaviour is starting to shift, and that by informing them about the consequences of their buying choices we can inspire them to “buy better”. How was the experience of working together? We love working with a professional like Monique, and the fact that she shares an understanding of our brand values is something that is definitely not easy to find. We hope it’s the start of a long-term collaboration.
Snazzy donates 5% of sales from the Aziza bag to the Fashion Revolution movement, an organisation aiming to change the fashion industry to a more ethical, sustainable and transparent one. For collaboration requests and latest updates, please follow Monique on Instagram @modbymonique.
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VOLUME 6 - EVOLUTION
VOLUME 5 - DAYDREAMER
VOLUME 4 - MISS TROPICAL
Interviews with: Holly Tucker, Jasmine de Silva,
Interviews with: Abigail Ahern, Muck N Brass,
Interviews with: Julie Kouamo, Peggy Wolf,
Joanna Maitland-Hudson, Bozena Jankowska, Neom
Onome Otite, Vetiver, Meramaya, Box'd Fresh
Dolce Roopa, Caroline Hirons, Celso Fadelli
VOLUME 3 - THE BLOSSOM GIRL
VOLUME 2 - THE COLOUR EXPLOSION
VOLUME 1 - STYLE TALES
Interviews with: Diana Hill, Georgie St Clair,
Interviews with: Sophie Thompson, Aiveen Daly,
Interviews with: Matthew Williamson, Nicola Taylor,
Deborah Campbell, Karen Radley, Oskia
Sarah Bond, Grace Fodor
Kim Winser OBE, Grace Bonney
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BEAUTY â€œFragrances can transport you, remind you of times or places and evoke to others your identity.â€?
be auty · business stor y 5 MIN
The Story of ALEXIA PECK words and images provided by Alexia Peck
My passion for scent and the memories it can evoke is what originally inspired me to create the Alexia Peck range of candles, room scents and diffusers. As I’ve grown older, I’ve found my sense of smell to be a memory bank. A particular scent can bring a room to life, define the seasons, transport you to a different location…Significant moments and special occasions come sharply back into focus, triggered by just one fragrance. The Alexia Peck range consists of decanted snapshots of my life. Each one has its own personality and signifies an important time or place. As with memories, I want part of my candles I have created to last a lifetime. My candles are unique. They all have their own individual scents but they also contain a special gift; the lid. It is a beautiful paperweight that can be cherished once the candle is gone. It is a keepsake. It is a memory to hold onto forever. It is Alexia Peck. When I left university, I joined Estee Lauder in NY, working in their product development team for Origins. It was a great experience where I really learned the fundamentals of creating a commercial product from the ingredients used to the importance of packaging. Although I moved on from there after a year to pursue a career in interior design, I always kept the knowledge I had attained from my time at Lauder. With this in my pocket, I went on to interior design school in London where I did just that. After twenty years of work laced with raising 3 children, I knew I wanted to create a company with the knowledge and intuition that I had mustered over all those years.
be auty Âˇ business stor y
Fragrances have always been an integral part of my life. Despite the fact that I am particularly sensitive to smell I grew up with women; my paternal grandmother in particular, who would never leave the house without smelling of perfume. Naturally, I became the same. Fragrances can transport you, remind you of times or places and evoke to others your identity. So I knew that it was going to create a lifestyle brand of such, that fragrances would mark my identity and make that first impression. Candles and other room fragrances tied in well with my love for the home. It seemed logical but I also knew how saturated the market is and I recognised that I had to make my product unique in every sense; from the ingredients to the packaging! The Aha- moment came exactly a year ago. I went to bed early one evening and the light was streaming through my blinds and onto our mirrored desk. On the desk was a beautiful paperweight and the light spectrum created dazzling sparkles on the walls and ceiling. At that moment I knew that the lid of my candles would be a beautiful and yet useful paperweight. A keepsake forever!
be auty Âˇ business stor y
be auty Âˇ business stor y
Colour, style and design is everything. If there is one thing I learned at Lauder and in interior design, it was the importance of presentation and packaging. People buy packaging above all. Design and quality are essential and of course, a highly fragranced natural candle is key. It's interesting to me how when people view my product they tend to automatically lean towards a colour they are attracted to. Then, it so happens that often the fragrance matches the attraction of that colour. The marriage of colour and fragrance was an important part in the making. So far I have six fragrances. All of which are based on locations. These places have meant something to me along the way; whether NY was my birthplace or the Hamptons was a weekend escape and so on. The fragrances were carefully conceived over several months of tweaking and refining. In their creation I made moodboards, which is something I have done for clients in my years of interior design. I felt that making boards for each fragrance would enable me to evoke the feeling and essence of the fragrance through colour, texture and ambience. I have role models such as my grandmother. She was possibly the most coquette lady I ever met. She placed a huge emphasis on the importance of beauty and self-care. I think that's why she went on to live to 91. She was immaculate until the near end! To me, that is inspiration and strength of character. I also have a love for watches. I am definitely influenced by jewellery in my designs. I launched myself at Top Drawer in January 2018. I thought it was a perfect platform on which to debut. I was delighted to be told a few days before the show that my brand had been selected in the top ten. This gave me the incentive to really drive my company forward. Alexia Peck products will be available in the UK this summer in Fortnum's and Harrods. In the meantime, for latest updates and news you can follow Alexia on Instagram @alexiapeckhome.
beauty · inter vie w 4 MIN
Interview with Sonia Deasy from Pestle & Mortar interview and product photography by Nicola McCullough
The inherent simplicity of Pestle & Mortar stands strong in an often overwhelming sea of skincare, with a thoughtfully curated collection that is both effective and a joy to use. My own hero product is its Pure Hyaluronic Serum, an instant, comforting pick up for dehydrated skin. I caught up with Irish founder and busy mother of five, Sonia Deasy, to discuss the ethos of her family-run business. What gave you the courage to create 'another' skincare brand - and what do you believe helped you succeed? In my mind, I wasn’t creating just ‘another’ skincare brand. I simply couldn’t identify a range of skincare that was uncomplicated, provided all necessary actives, was suitable for all skin-types and was affordable. So I made one. I think that my singular mindset and crystal clear vision helped me succeed alongside a very talented team. The support network behind Pestle & Mortar sounds like quite the team. Tell us about the role your family play in the business. It really is quite the team. The support network that surrounds Pestle & Mortar encompasses graphic design through to childcare! I have a fabulous team of people who are all in tune with the brand, the vision and the mindset. I work closely with my husband, who is exceptionally creative and also systems-focussed. He’s an involved father too but doesn’t cook! My siblings are all self-employed and on hand to offer advice and support. We have fun, and I think that’s what building a team comes down to.
beauty · inter vie w
What's the one quality you'd most like Pestle & Mortar to be known for? Simplicity. You described naming Pestle & Mortar as important as naming one of your children... how much does a brand name contribute to business success? The name of the brand is paramount to success. It’s not just a name – it’s a story. People identify with the story behind the brand. Emotional appeal cannot be ignored in business – customers are real people and everyone loves a story. What was the biggest challenge in building your brand? It was a process and so the challenges were small and frequent rather than large and sudden. I had a clear vision for the brand and a defined path. I ran into challenges along the way of course, but I enjoy challenges! What has been the biggest business highlight since launch day? Appearing on QVC USA for the first time. It’s not easy to get a slot first of all, and then the process is quite gruelling. The USA is a huge market and for an Irish beauty brand to be featured on the largest shopping channel in such a vast marketplace was definitely a highlight. Which of your products would you recommend to everyone? Pure Hyaluronic Serum and the Double Cleansing System and…..all of them really but these two are a must if you have to choose! What advice would you give to someone completely new to skincare? Double cleanse. It is a ritual that will transform your routine and it is the first step in the right direction. At what age should women start using Retinol Superstar? The skin starts to actively lose elasticity and show signs of ageing when you hit the late 20s. This is the time when most dermatologists recommend starting to use a retinol based product.
beauty Âˇ inter vie w
beauty · inter vie w
People of this age are often concerned that using a retinol product will cause irritation or break-outs and that’s why Superstar is perfect. Superstar is non-irritating and nourishing as the formulation includes a cutting-edge retinoid which penetrates the skin at low concentrations. The plant-derived organic, cold-pressed and steam-distilled oils in Superstar are extremely nourishing and calming, so you get all the benefits of retinol without the irritation. What is your dream for the future of Pestle & Mortar? I would like Pestle & Mortar to be the go-to brand for anyone looking for simple, effective skincare solutions. The brand will hopefully take its place amongst mainstream big corporate brands and hold its own there. How do you switch off from a working life where you're involved in such a personal level? Because Pestle & Mortar is like my sixth child, I don’t feel a huge need to ‘switch off ’. I relax by spending time with the children, walking and visiting my parents and friends. To be honest, I’m a fairly relaxed person - I just go with the flow most of the time!
For more information about Pestle & Mortar products, please visit www.pestleandmortar.com For latest updates follow on Twitter: @PMortar and Instagram @pestleandmortarcosmetics
TRAVEL “How a desirable escape is built.”
trav el · stor y 11 MIN
Achieving the impossible interview and photography by Sabrina Chakici
It’s no secret that the Maldives has a long-standing reputation for homing some of the world’s most lavish and unique hotel rooms, and with the breathtaking beauty of the turquoise Indian Ocean and powder white beaches to utilise as views, the islands are a favourite for the travelling elite. With stresses from work and our inevitable online presence, what’s becoming more and more popular is finding get-a-ways where the room itself is the destination. The idea of never having to step foot outside of your own sanctuary was once frowned upon by travellers but now more often the chance to spend quality time with loved ones only in an idyllic location is the ultimate castaway dream, just as long as those luxury home comforts are within reach at all times. With the introduction of a private property that has literally been built in the middle of the ocean, it seems Conrad Maldives may have once again achieved the impossible by building a space where guests were treated to this desirable escape, not only from the strains of the outside world but from the land itself. The award-winning team at Conrad Rangali Island recently unveiled that they have built the world’s very first undersea residence. The one-of-a-kind architectural triumph, which has been locally named The Muraka, sent bucket-list travellers into a frenzy upon hearing the news last month and the villa, which is set to open in November, and has caused quite the media stir of excitement within the luxury travel industry.
trav el · stor y
The perfectly positioned property is completely isolated from the rest of the existing idyllic Maldivian resort and with round-the-clock butler service, from the moment guests arrive there’s no reason to leave the property at any point during a stay. The two-storey villa is in-keeping with the traditional yet modern design of the island’s existing resort. There's a gym, a bar, an over-the-sea infinity pool, an ocean-facing bathtub and that’s just referring to the floor above sea level. A spiral staircase leads down to the lower level where the lively Indian Ocean views are set to steal the breath of anyone who wanders down. The Muraka may be the first of its kind in the Maldives but for Rangali Island, it isn’t Conrad’s first rodeo when it comes to constructing below sea level. The resort is also home to the world’s first undersea restaurant, the now award-winning Ithaa, and the lower level of The Muraka is similar in design to the structure with a curved dome-like acrylic ceiling, offering guests 180-degree views of the surrounding underwater world. The word "Muraka" translates to "coral" in the Maldives' local language Dhivehi, which is very fitting for the space as spending an evening sleeping in the ocean gazing up and around at the passing marine life, you really get the sense of belonging to the underwater world. Here we chat with Kimberley Roberts, who is the marketing and communications director, giving us an insight into how hands-on she was with the project and how she goes about achieving that highly sought-after work-life balance.
trav el Âˇ stor y As the Director of Marketing and Communications for Conrad Maldives, what part did you play in the promotion and big reveal of The Muraka? In April 2016 I received a call advising that the project had commenced construction and I needed to present a marketing strategy to launch The Muraka in Q4 2018 â€“ the adrenalin set in from there. Since then I have been working closely with resortâ€™s owning company Crown Company Pvt. Ltd. who envisioned and have brought The Muraka to life. As The Muraka was built in Singapore where I am based, I was able to spend time at the construction yard with the architect, engineers and project team and able to capture the build on camera. In August 2016 I appointed a commercial led project team comprising of subject matter experts from within the company, based in Singapore and around the globe. I am leading a team of six persons covering revenue, sales, communications, digital, customer experience and loyalty and partnerships. On top of the project team, I am managing 10 agencies around the globe who specialise in luxury PR, digital, content, production and branding. I am ultimately responsible for directing the positioning strategy for The Muraka and Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. The campaign, promotion and big reveal that happened last April was a culmination of 12 months of research, consultation with internal and external stakeholders, planning and finally the execution.
trav el · stor y
What day-to-day activities are included in your job role? For over 12 months now I have been solely focused on The Muraka project. Each day is definitely not the same! As I am overseeing six work streams, my hands are in many pockets to keep the project on track, thus my days are incredibly varied. Some days I spend analysing sales accounts and opportunities for workshopping pricing, distribution strategy and channel to defining the customer experience. Other days I am defining communication strategies including influencers, media, and content collaborations and analysing the communication campaign production. I also spend days developing the content requirements with the agencies which include copywriting, defining the storyboards, directing the agency and negotiating partnership opportunities with high profile global brands to join us on The Muraka journey. As I’m also working on multiple time-zones, I spend my day working with the Asia Pacific markets and in the evening I’m working with Europe and the US which means very early AM conference calls and late PM conference calls with the agencies and also Hilton’s head office in the US. Some days I am not sure what time zone I am working in! What was your career path before your current role? Growing up I was obsessed with The X Files, I always wanted to be a forensic scientist like Gillian Anderson’s character Dana Scully! Then, when I did science and maths at school I realised that I was too bored and switched out to arts and drama and I found my niche! In my final year I also thought I would make a great lawyer, especially as I come from a family of lawyers but changed my mind yet again! I ended up going to university studying communications and film and screen production. It wasn’t until university that I decided that I wanted to work in film. I’ve always loved film, TV, theatre and this seemed natural but after university that all changed when I started working with Hilton Brisbane in Australia just over 12 years ago. One of my first assignments was the hotel’s sponsorship with the inaugural Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival hosted by Hilton. It was then I realised that working in hotels is not just ‘working in hotels’, it’s an adrenalin rush and I always wanted to work abroad so it was the perfect marriage – a career that wasn’t just a marketing job but a career where I can challenge myself and be challenged in return, and work and travel the globe.
trav el Âˇ stor y
You are now based in Singapore for work but originally from Australia, what is your work-life balance like living away from home? Surprisingly I have a better work-life balance living in Singapore vs. back in Australia! I guess this is due to not having to go to as many events and not having to do as much entertaining as I used to do in Australia. As I have PR agencies around the globe, they are doing this for me! It took me a long time to accept the notion of work-life balance but now it is a priority, especially with the multiple time zones I am working across and business travel. Yoga and meditation are foundations I practise religiously and I take mini-breaks every three months to keep my batteries charged. Iâ€™m also quite fortunate that my family lives in Cairns, which is a 6.5-hour flight from Singapore. I can take a red-eye flight and have a long weekend back home and I also have the opportunity where I can work from Australia if I wanted to take a longer break. I am lucky to work in a company that supports work-life balance and the ability to go back to Australia and work from there so I can see my family. I find when I go back to Cairns that is the real opportunity I get to really take a break!
trav el · stor y Where do you personally love to travel to when you get time off? Good question! I make my husband nervous when I say ‘I’ve booked a trip…!’ Generally, I book trips on the whim and have not researched the destination! I like the notion of the unknown! Living in Singapore, I am lucky that I can be anywhere in Southeast Asia in less than 3 hours! For long-weekend trips I like to stay in Southeast Asia, I am about to embark on a trip to Borneo for five days staying at an eco-luxe resort, a random last minute getaway! I just want to disconnect and hang in the jungle with the orangutans! My husband and I try to take longer holidays in the northern hemisphere for winter– just so we can get a dose of the cold for two weeks! Living in Singapore, you do miss the seasons! In the last 12 months, we have been from London to Amsterdam and Berlin to Miami, Bahamas and Istanbul, Koh Samui, Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia, Maldives and I have gifted myself an uber-luxe trip to Morocco in November, once the residence officially opens! I have noticed, as I get older and being ‘connected 24/7’ , I am drawn to places that have limited to no WIFI access! I am completely in tune with disconnecting from technology! This is a bit of a challenge for my husband to embrace! Don’t think just do, live your life your way, everything is possible and only you can make it happen. It took me a long time to understand that my job is a job and I should not let it dictate my life, and I should let MY life dictate how I work. If you need a break, do not fight it, take time to recharge – it will be better for you personally and professionally in the end!
trav el · stor y Sabrina: For the past three years I have, by nature of my work in broadcast and media, become a full-time professional traveller and separating my own personal time from the hours I spend ‘on the clock’ can be quite the challenge. As a married woman of seven years now, I’m often questioned over the time I spend at home and how my friends and family cope with my absence for long periods at a time but for me, being away so much actually makes me far more attentive and available when I’m home. I’ve always been able to determine and delegate my time accordingly and this is mainly down to not having much of it spare! Travel provides me with far more hours in the day than if I were at home and working 9 to 5, that’s something I never take for granted. When I am away I always make a point to wake up with the sun to maximise my experience in that country. Therefore, I make so many more hours available to me than if I were at home on a daily schedule with the addition of chores and errands. By managing these ‘spare’ hours correctly I’m able to have time for both, work and play. My job is the best in the world because I get to see it! It is, however, a role with its own targets and deadlines so managing my time is key. Rather than watching a film on a plane, I prefer to use that time to write and catch up with emails so that when I arrive in a new location I can fully enjoy my days there and immerse as best as I can within the country’s culture. I appreciate I’m in a unique and fortunate position to talk about work-life balance because my work is often a holiday within itself but my main piece of advice would be effective time management. I’m an avid list-maker and love setting daily targets and tasks. My advice for other people wanting to achieve that desirable ‘vocation vacation’, regardless of your chosen career path, is to manage your time as effectively as you can but not get tied down in running a ‘clockwork’ life. Remember that your work should always be to fuel your living and actually living should always be your priority!’
The Muraka will open from November 2018. For more information please visit www.conradmaldives.com.
business · mindset
Snapshot of your life written by Sarah Jones
PART 6. “Map of Life” “Every second of your life is like a snapshot in time. One day you will look back at your album, make sure it’s worthwhile looking at it.” As I was planning my last holiday, one of the first things I did was get out a map and plan our route. Whether it was online maps or old-fashioned paper maps – they all helped guide us to our destination. As I was looking at the maps spread across our dining room table, I thought, “wouldn’t it be great if there was a map of life” that could guide you along your life’s journey? A personal motivation map is giving you those life lessons that one typically learns way too late in life. Does such a “map of life” exist? IT’S THE SIMPLE THINGS IN LIFE THAT ARE THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY. I believe this to be true and have experienced it with my own family. When I think of the times where we laughed the most or had the most fun, it was when we were doing the simplest things; swimming in a pool, combing a beach for shells, playing a board game, or sharing a delicious meal – all simple things making up the best times we’ve had as a family. SUPPORT YOUR CHILDREN IN PURSUIT OF THEIR DREAMS. How many of us had parents who have, in not-so-subtle-ways, influenced us to take careers that were not in-line with our dreams? Be honest now, did you pick your current career because you’re passionate about the work or were you trying to make your parents proud? How do you feel about your career now? As a parent, it’s difficult to accept when your child wants to take a path other than the one you had hoped and planned for them. “Give them roots and give them wings”. Give them a solid foundation of love, but give them the freedom to follow their dreams. THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO LEARN AND THAT IS THROUGH ACTION. Trying to learn without doing is like trying to lose weight by watching someone else exercise. It’s just not going to work. We are all fundamentally hands-on learners. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. Set goals and make a plan to achieve them. It’s like the saying, “a goal that is never written down is nothing but a New Year’s resolution” – and we all know what happens to New Year’s resolutions. MAKE A DECISION AND DIVE IN WITH MASSIVE ACTION. The river of life will take you to places that you have never imagined. Once you make a decision, take action. You’ll be surprised to find where it will lead. MOVE ON – ALWAYS LOOK FORWARD. It’s okay to look back once and a while, but don't live in the past. You can visit “Pity City” for a short time, but after a while, you have to leave it all behind and walk on. YOU WILL ENCOUNTER OBSTACLES AND TAKE DETOURS WHILE REALISING YOUR DREAMS. As you strive to achieve your dreams, you can count on there being some setbacks and disappointments. Don’t get discouraged, the road to your dreams may not be an easy one. Think of these challenges as tests of persistence and courage that life throws at you during your quest. They were necessary and were meant to help you grow as a person. Learn to adjust the sails of your life to unpredictable winds, while keeping your focus clear on your destination.
business · mindset DON’T FEAR THE UNKNOWN. As long as you’re resourceful and have a few skills, you’ll be able to provide for yourself (and your family). Have confidence in yourself at all times. LEARN TO UNDERSTAND THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE – THE LANGUAGE WITHOUT WORDS. There is so much more said from a person than just words alone. You can read the expression on someone’s face, sense their body language, or hear the tone in their voice – these things are all part of the unspoken language. The more conscious we become at noticing them, the better we become at interpreting them. CHANGE WHAT’S NOT WORKING. The example that comes to mind is our automotive industry. For many years, cars were being “built-in obsolescence,” meaning they seemed to last for 5-6 years and then things would go south. Around the 1970s, companies like Toyota and other foreign car manufacturers started to be imported into the USA on a more massive scale. Those cars were deemed more reliable, fuel efficient and longer-lasting. Thus, the automotive industry began changing. Because they did not change fast enough with the growing imports, American automakers lost significant market share. DON’T CHANGE YOUR CORE VALUES. If your company has a mission statement and core values that were established at the time of incorporation, or have been developed over the years, stay consistent with those values. Bring these positive values to the forefront and deliver your products and services with them in mind. Your values cannot become stale unless you no longer believe in them. RECESS. Children are given recess, which allows them to get away from a subject, refresh themselves and come back ready to learn. This philosophy should be true when it comes to a business. You cannot expect your employees to thrive unless they have time to disconnect from their desk or workplace. Kimberly Elsbach, Management Professor at UC-Davis, says, “Never taking a break from very careful thought actually reduces your ability to be creative. It sort of exhausts your cognitive capacity and you’re not able to make the creative connections you can if your brain is more rested.” EXPLORE. Let’s take a look at retail and shopping. Most retail purchases are done by impulse. This means you need to get your products noticed on the shelf. How are you going to get your products noticed? By exploring, that’s how! No matter what kind of business you are in, taking the time to research, observe, and study what your competitors and related businesses are doing will give you that competitive edge. If you are a company who is in the activewear business and you want to try to get people to buy your products, you are going to try to out-do Nike, Adidas and other similar brands on the market. Being different and refreshing catches a customer’s eye and enhances your chances of getting noticed. HIRE PEOPLE WHO ARE DIFFERENT FROM YOU. Stability in the workplace is very important, but so is change. If no one ever changes, bad habits may continue. Age and diversity of employees are just as important. Taking it back to retail, the population you sell to is diversified with varying ethnic groups, male vs. female, and tastes. If you are the leader of an organisation and don’t actively get out of your comfort zone and hire people that are different from you, you’re destined to only make decisions that appeal to you, not other people. “There is nothing to hold you back, except yourself.” Sarah Jones
ABOUT SARAH Sarah Jones is the UK’s leading holistic lifestyle expert. Her clients include Lorraine Kelly and Anthea Turner among many others. Her motto is: “What consumes your mind controls your life.” For more information, please visit the official website at sarahjonesuk.com. Follow Sarah on estila Instagram @sarahjonesuk
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As you strive to achieve your dreams, you can count on there being some setbacks and disappointments. Donâ€™t get discouraged, the road to your dreams may not be an easy one. Think of these challenges as tests of persistence and courage that life throws at you during your quest. They were necessary and were meant to help you grow as a person. Learn to adjust the sails of your life to unpredictable winds, while keeping your focus clear on your destination. by Sarah Jones - THE REINVENTION ISSUE -
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