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Posts Tagged ‘New Designers’

meet Lucy Favell, founder of URSA London

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

URSA LONDON, online fashion boutique, new designers showcase, British fashion website, Blink London, Lucy Williams

To help celebrate their 5th birthday, we are posting about URSA London today, sharing this exclusive interview with founder Lucy Favell. Now incase you haven’t encountered URSA London (where have you been?!?) here’s a quick intro to this luxury online boutique, and to Lucy herself…

A personal love of discovering new designers inspired Lucy to create URSA, providing a platform of support for the new wave of emerging talent from the UK and Europe. URSA is now globally renowned for being the online destination to discover unique, fresh and exciting luxury fashion & jewellery (which is why we LOVE it), and over the past 5 years they have showcased some new designers who have now become huge fashion names. Another reason why we think URSA is so fabulous is that they support and promote sustainable manufacturing methods with over half of their featured designers manufacturing in the UK or Europe using traditional techniques. We are fascinated by the story behind URSA London and so we put some questions to Lucy Favell.

Lucy Favell, URSA London's founder

Lucy Favell, URSA London’s founder

Blink: I love the background behind your name. How did you come to that decision?

Lucy Favell: I’ve always been obsessed with the stars and constellations. I loved the strength of the name Ursa. It’s powerful, enlightening and inspirational, all at the same time. Also the fact that it is synonymous with the Great Bear, home to some of the brightest new stars in the hemisphere. URSA is home to some of the brightest new stars of fashion. It was the perfect fit!

Blink: What is your proudest URSA moment?

Lucy Favell: I am proud of everything that the team have achieved over the past 5 years. One thing that fills me with pride is the growing fan-base we have across the world, and all of the amazing feedback we get from both customers and designers.

Blink: Could you name some designers that you backed at the outset of their careers who have now become big names?

Lucy Favell: I am not afraid to take risks with my buying, and i am proud to see designers URSA supported first enjoying great success. Labels such as Soulland, E Tautz, Charlie May, J JS Lee, Imogen Belfield are all on the ascendant which is such a joy to see.

e tautz SS16

E Tautz SS16

Blink: What has been your biggest surprise at URSA over the past 5 years?

Lucy Favell: My biggest surprise in launching a UK online store is since the onset we attracted a global customer, in fact most of our customers are in the USA and Asia. We are excited to be getting more UK customers now as consumer confidence returns.

Blink: You are celebrating your 5th birthday today. Are you where you planned to be as a business by year 5?

Lucy Favell: I would be lying if i said 100% yes, however what we have achieved since launch is incredible considering we are still a wholly independent business. Running a start-up retail/tech business, everything is constantly evolving, and you have to keep evolving with it. I am incredibly ambitious and have exciting plans for URSA with more exclusive collaborations and new label launches in the months and years ahead.

Blink: What saying best sums up your approach at URSA?

Lucy Favell: always look ahead to the future.

Blink: How are you planning to celebrate your 5th birthday?

Lucy Favell: Our 5th birthday is such a milestone for us and to celebrate over the next 12 months we are launching a series of exclusive pieces created by our incredible designers. Starting this December with a unique diamond pendant created by Imogen Belfield.

Blink: What does sustainable fashion mean to you? 

Lucy Favell: URSA is the antithesis of fast mass-produced fashion from the high street. All of our designers work in a sustainable way, for every garment or piece we are able to trace where it was produced down to the fabric or materials. Over half of our labels manufacture in the UK, which we really support and want this to eventually become the norm in luxury fashion. Our discerning customers do not mind paying more for luxury fashion if it has been made to exceptional standards and will last. I love seeing pieces bought from URSA five years ago still being worn and still looking brand new. 

Blink: What styles do you find yourself repeatedly drawn to, season after season?

Lucy Favell: All of our designers have a distinctive signature, this is what makes them special, so I aim to capture this each season, mixing it with some fresh styles. The key for me is not to follow trends as this ensures that all of our styles will be investment pieces to be treasured for years to come.

V Jewellery Baguette and Hollow lobe earrings from URSA London

V Jewellery Baguette and Hollow lobe earrings from URSA London

Blink: What makes Ursa so different to all of the other online luxe fashion retailers?

Lucy Favell: Our curation of designers is what makes us so different, and as we are often first with new notable designers, customers are guaranteed to find something sartorially fresh and unique.URSA London screen shot

Blink: What from Ursa’s current offer would you most like to find wrapped up under your Christmas tree?

Lucy Favell: I love diamonds, so i am coveting our exclusive Imogen Belfield Diamond Star pendant to commemorate our 5th birthday! I am dropping plenty of hints!

Blink: Who is the designer that you are currently most excited about?

Lucy Favell: I am excited by all of the labels on URSA, all of our designers are consistent in creating pioneering collections each season, which keeps us one step ahead.  We have many new labels about to launch in the months ahead, I am very excited about that!

URSA London, the luxury online boutique

URSA London, the luxury online boutique

Thank you so much for the time you gave to us Lucy and happy birthday URSA! For more of our interviews with brilliant creatives, just click here. For more great posts about retail news, then look here.

“Blink” London Fashion Week: Tomasz Donocik, AW’15

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015
Tomasz Donocik, London Fashion Week

Tomasz Donocik, London Fashion Week

This is Tomasz Donocik, the rather rock ‘n’ roll looking fine jeweller whose work we discovered at London Fashion Week‘s designer showrooms. Donocik’s name and rather accented voice mean that you wouldn’t perhaps naturally place him as part of the British fashion scene, but he most certainly is. Born in Poland and raised in Austria, Thomas Donocik is an RCA graduate. After working for some of the jewellery world’s big names, Donocik now runs his own label business based in Shoreditch.

Tomasz Donocik, London Fashion Week

Tomasz Donocik, London Fashion Week

As you can see from these pieces that Tomasz is rocking himself, the star is an important motif for this label. This motif has been taken forward into the new collection, but in a far finer and more delicate way as you can see below. Rose gold and diamonds? Yes please.

Tomasz Donocik, London Fashion Week

Tomasz Donocik, London Fashion Week

Donocik has also explored a more Art Deco look for Autumn Winter 2015 with a selection of fine jewellery crafted from baguette-cut coloured gemstones all innovatively set to create graphic and linear statement looks. We particularly love those earings centre to the shot, which have a drop at the front and back creating a wonderful doubled up, double luxe effect.

Tomasz Donocik, London Fashion Week

Tomasz Donocik, London Fashion Week

For us this represents modern fine jewellery just perfectly. Good luck with this collection Tomasz, and we can’t wait to see what’s coming for Spring Summer 2016!

For more from London Fashion Week, just click here.

“Blink” London Fashion Week: Topshop’s NEWGEN

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Every season Topshop pull off a new way of presenting and promoting their selected NEWGEN designers at London Fashion Week. This season, the space at Somerset House was really quite quiet. This wasn’t due to a lack of interest. It was down to the wonderful technology they had installed which allowed you to pop on some headphones so that you could watch and listen to interviews with each of the designers, at your leisure, popping between labels but still perfectly in sync with the video’s playing on the flat screen filled wall. I know it may not have taken rocket science to do that but I liked it very much anyway, being rather impatient with a very short attention span…

Topshop NEWGEN presentation at London Fashion Week

Topshop NEWGEN presentation at London Fashion Week

Topshop NEWGEN. London Fashion Week, Feb'14

Topshop NEWGEN. London Fashion Week, Feb'14

This is the full line up of designers, some of who were new names to us. We all know Simone Rocha, who is about to outgrow her NEWGEN status after flourishing in it’s hothouse of support. I know of Marques Almeida from previous LFW’s, and also because they’ve been based in the room next to mine at LCF’s Hackney space this past week. 1205 are a label we fell for when first coming across their innovative unisex approach at Somerset House this time last year (read more here).

Simone Rocha

Simone Rocha

1205

1205

Marques Almeida

Marques Almeida

Of those names totally new to us, I really like Danielle Romeril‘s graphic, punchy and naive feeling collection. I also really liked the refined and sophisticated look Lucas Nascimento, a Brazilian knitwear designer, presented in sunshine filled colours.

Danielle Romeril

Danielle Romeril

 

Lucas Nascimento

Lucas Nascimento

For more new designer news, just look here. For more from London Fashion Week, then look here.

“Blink” London Fashion Week: introducing ‘Pavane’

Monday, February 17th, 2014
Pavane

Pavane

This is Fiona Ransom and Georgina Edmonds of Pavane, wearing pieces from their AW’14 collection. I was first drawn in by how elegant they both look, but after finding more about the duo and their label, I’m really excited to have discovered Pavane.

This London based label is founded upon the two’s expertise and experience as designers, creative pattern cutters and textile designers. They’ve worked for some stellar brands like Marc Jacobs and Erdem, but now bring all of that experience to bear on their own label. You can clearly see the passion for crisp, clever cutting as well as innovation in pattern and textile choices. The pair clearly compliment each other perfectly.

In addition to delivering a very sophisticated collection, I was delighted to discover that Pavane are also passionate about working as close to home as possible, producing in London and using British textiles where they can. They are particularly hands on and hyper involved in the fabric sourcing and development as well as partnering incredible closely with the skilled makers and artisans involved at every stage of their collection’s creation and production, keeping a firm eye on the ethics and practices of those that they work with. That is so wonderful to hear, and is increasingly the approach being taken by our up and coming, emerging and growing design brands which obviously makes us very happy.

Thanks to Georgina and Fiona for the time that you gave me and I hope that this LFW is a huge success for Pavane.

For more from London Fashion Week, take a look here. For more about new designers, this is where you should look.

“Blink” London Fashion Week: Leutton Postle

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

We were delighted to see Leutton Postle at London Fashion Week’s exhibition at Somerset House, after previously meeting the duo at Vauxhall Fashion Scout. This innovative and experimental knitwear label always deliver a punchy, bold and energetic collection and the Spring Summer ’14 offer certainly follows that signature look. This creative, London based pair, met when they were studying at Central Saint Martins, and launched their label to great critical claim in September 2011. In fact even prior to launching their joint label, Jenny Postle’s graduate collection was featured in the covetable windows of Browns. Not a bad start I think you’ll agree.

For SS’14, the pair have added a little hardware to the equation, through some harness style belts which serve to add structure to the softer shapes, working brilliantly with all of the graphic pattern. They loved the impact of these elements so much that they have also developed them into a small capsule collection of accessories.

Leutton Postle, London Fashion Week

Leutton Postle, London Fashion Week

Leutton Postle, SS'14. London Fashion Week

Leutton Postle, SS'14. London Fashion Week

Leutton Postle, SS'14. London Fashion Week

Leutton Postle, SS'14. London Fashion Week

Leutton Postle, SS'14. London Fashion Week

Leutton Postle, SS'14. London Fashion Week

For more inspirational new designers, take a look here.

“Blink” Interviews: Bitching and Junkfood

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Its been a little too long since we’ve posted an interview. Soz about that. To make up for it we have a fantastic interview with one half of the duo behind the brilliant Brit label, Bitching and Junkfood. I first discovered this brand in Urban Outfitters when searching for the perfect denim shorts. The Bitching ones come with added attitude. Maybe they should be called ‘hottest pants’ rather than just ‘hot pants’? Loved by celebs like Jessie J as well as any cool, festival going, girl about town, we were really excited to find out more about the Bitching girls and what inspires them.

Kath and Marion of Bitching and Junkfood

Established in 2009, bitchingandjunkfood.com online store and blog was launched by Bitchy girls Kath and Marion. The pair met whilst working in product development for a well-known French label. Doing things their way has seen the blog and online store expand to include their in-house label Remade by bitchingandjunkfod.com which is now stocked internationally. The pair rely heavily on what they see on the streets, bars and back alleys surrounding their East London studio blended with a cool vintage feel to drive the brands handwriting.

Here’s what Marion had to say in response to our deeply probing questions…

How did your brand name come about?
We used to party at the weekends and Sundays were all about ‘Bitching and Junkfood’ with your besties – it’s kind of a lifestyle thing.
Who is the Bitching muse?
Our friends. The girls we know have the best style and it’s things they personally put together. It’s looks they’ve created from mixing vintage, charity shop finds, high street and designer. We don’t need to look very far to spark off ideas.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
I’m really eclectic. I change my mind constantly. I have a particular look for a while and then I get bored so I change it up. I don’t really follow catwalk trends. At the moment I’m keeping it simple with really good accessories.
Tell us about your current design crush
I’m having a Maison Martin Margiela shoe obsession.
Which comes first for you when you’re creating your collections, personal style or trends?
Personal style. We design things we want but can’t find anywhere else.
Do you think commerciality or creativity is the most important?
It’s important to have both if you want to have a successful label. I’ve worked in fashion buying before and understand how the business works. I’ve seen really creative designers fail where they’ve just not considered how to place a product in a market. Unfortunately “commercial” is a bad word in the creative community but you have to accept it if you want to succeed.
How does the idea of sustainability impact on your collection?
At the moment we are remaking denim and vintage items however we’ve never really marketed our business as an eco-label. It would be wrong to do so – we remake everything here in London, however I can’t say that we don’t import trimmings and fittings from the Far East. If we were to go down this route it would need to be completely water tight and everything would have to be sourced locally. Eco fashion is a very particular thing. This is probably a bit controversial, but it’s extremely difficult to get an eco fashion label off the ground and do it properly. If we were to do it properly it would completely change our aesthetic.
I think it’s up to all business owners to be as ethical as possible in their day to day practices such a recycling and not creating unnecessary waste.
What are you currently working on and how is it shaping up?
I’m planning our studio move. We’re moving to an arch space in Hoxton so this is really exciting. It’s coming along well and we should be moved before summer.
What or who are your longest standing design influences?
I always struggle with this one as there’s not really anyone in particular. I don’t really idolize other people. I love 90’s hip hop style, punk and I’m really interested in traditional costumes, tribal jewellery and adornment.
Has your business developed in the way that you anticipated?
Yes, kind of. I always planned to launch a label but didn’t think it would happen so soon after I launched the website. I expected our e-commerce to grow quicker than the label but it’s happened the other way around.
What is your first fashion memory?
I remember desperately wanting a triangle bikini for maybe my fifth birthday and my auntie bought it for me. It was navy with a red trim. I adored it!
What is currently tempting you into making a purchase?
All the Maison Margiela Margiela shoes and a pair of all black Air Max ones. I focus mainly on shoes because I wear mostly our label or vintage.
What is your ultimate dream for Bitching and Junkfood as a business?
I want to expand the on-line store and turn our label into a global household name. I would eventually like to have stores in all the key fashion cities internationally.
Do you think being a British brand, based in East London, has particularly shaped what you do?
Yeah completely. I think if our brand had built anywhere else our aesthetic would be different. We’re massively inspired by what we see and, like I said, our friends. Depending on where you’re based in London you get different looks. I’m moving to Brixton soon and I’m sure West Indian style will make an appearance somewhere.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The buzz we have in the studio with the girls that work for us. We all work really hard but we have a lot of fun and there’s a lot of laughing. I also get to hang out all day with my best friend and travel round the world with her so it’s pretty sweet.
Any future projects that you’d like to tell us about?
We’ve done an AW’12 collaboration with Underground and the styles are amazing so we’re really excited about that.
Pencil and paper or computer and mouse? Or maybe it should be shears and studs in your case!
Computer, computer, computer. I like having ideas and designing but I’m not interested in the make – that’s where Kath’s expertise lays so she takes care of that.
Tell us about your most fabulous fashion moment
Getting followed out of a restaurant in New York and being asked to be an extra in Sex and The City the movie. I was wearing a vintage Dior fur coat. I felt pretty special.
Who would you love to work with, past or present?
I’d love to do a collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld. If I ever get within an inch of him, I’m asking – don’t ask don’t get right?
I feel most creative when…
There’s not really a specific time. I just get on one and I’m having loads of ideas. It could be on the bus or when I’m lying in bed. Any time really.
Any final word of advice?
You only regret the things you haven’t done so just go for it.

Here’s a sneek peek at the Bitching AW’12 collection, called ‘Fan Fkn Tastic’…

Fantasia catsuit, Bitching and Junkfood, AW'12

Pearl Jacket on the left, Divine tank with Destiny leggings on the right, Bitching and Junkfood, AW'12

Venus cropped top, Bitching and Junkfood, AW'12

Savanna necklace, Coco body and Roxy shorts on left, Peaches tank on right, Bitching and Junkfood, AW'12

Angel shirt and XTC leggings on left, Crystal crop top and Sapphire shorts on right, Bitching and Junkfood, AW'12

Thanks so much Marion, for your time and all of the great images.

If you’d like to read more inspirational interviews, just click here.

“Blink” Events: London College of Fashion Exhibition

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

I’ve been really loving all of the time I’ve been spending at LCF recently, whether it’s been for meetings, panel discussions, lecturing or teaching. It’s such an inspirational place to be, for so many reasons. One particularly good reason, right now, is the current exhibition, which I believe is open to all so do pop in.

‘New Fashion Interventions in Materials and Techniques’ is quite a mouthful, but it does perfectly describe what you’ll be seeing in the gallery space until 7th April. The college has curated a small but perfectly formed collection of womenswear that reflects a new, almost artisanal approach to creating fashion. The featured designers, including “Blink” favorite, Felicity Brown, all create textiles and textile based effects that are integral to the texture and silhouette of their garments. The effects are awe inspiring, elegant and innovative- as well as rather challenging when it comes to Una Burke’s work with leather straps.

London College of Fashion, 'New Fashion Interventions in Materials and Techniques'

Eleanor Amoroso

Felicity Brown

Eleanor Amoroso

Felicity Brown

Una Burke

Una Burke

For more posts on inspirational events, just click here.

Enjoy! Lucy

“Blink” London Fashion Week: J Smith Esq

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Another new label spot at London Fashion Week– well, new to us anyway. We found this one in the ‘Headonism’ section at Somerset House, the millinery exhibition curated by Stephen Jones (another “Blink” favourite). J Smith Esq focuses on quality and craftsmanship, alongside wonderful creative innovation, continuing the British millinery tradition set by the likes of Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy.

This AW’12 collection of ready-to-wear and couture pieces, for both women and men, features some amazingly embellished styles. Our favourite is this cat style hat/mask.

J Smith Esq at London Fashion Week

For more on London Fashion Week, click here. For more on accessories, click here. If it new designers that you’re interested in, then click here.

Enjoy! Lucy

“Blink” London Fashion Week: Vilshenko

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

One of the most fantastic things about London Fashion Week‘s exhibition at Somerset House is the fact that you get to discover new names that you would otherwise perhaps never have come across. This is the case with Vilshenko.

As I wandered past some of the showroom doors, some really beautiful colour and pattern caught my eye. Designed by Russian, Olga Vilshenko, this label blends a rich heritage of folkloric references, Eastern craftsmanship and traditional Russian costume, balanced perfectly with a Western influenced finely tailored, couture inspired approach. We think this could be a label to watch out for.

Vilshenko, AW'12 collection at London Fashion Week

For more on new designers, click here. For more on London Fashion Week, click here.

Enjoy! Lucy

“Blink” London Fashion Week: Lulu Liu

Friday, February 24th, 2012

We were hanging out at Somerset House for London Fashion Week, spotting good looks to share with you. There’s a lot of cool peeps, and a good share of self promotion going on too. Some of which is a bit ‘ick’ but we have to say that when we stopped this young lady to shoot her we were genuinly impressed with the beauty of her look. Turns out she was modelling for Lulu Liu who was showing at Vauxhall Fashion Scout up the road. It was a stroke of product placement genius.

This London based brand was founded by London College of Art graduate Lu Liu. Her use of texture and intricate construction is one of the signatures of this architectural but elegant label.

Lulu Liu at London Fashion Week

Lulu Liu at London Fashion Week

For more from London Fashion Week, click here. For more inspirational streetstyle, click here.

Enjoy! Lucy