Friday, 23 January 2015

Upcycling with Out of the Dark

This season, Bubble has teamed up with High Wycombe's Out of the Dark (OOTD), a charitable social enterprise which creates unique, upcycled furniture.



Founders Jay and Jade Blades employ disadvantaged young people, teaching them how to restore, reupholster and completely revamp unwanted pieces. The charity will be helping to furnish our February show - and, when Jay offered to hold an upcycling workshop for friends of Bubble and Speak, we jumped at the chance!


But who to invite? We swiftly assembled a crack squad of creatives, including Kid Style Junkie's Suzanne Peters, Little Scandinavian's Bianca Wessel, City Kids' Victoria Evans, Natalie Lee of Style Me Sunday, illustrator Sophie Crichton, Upcyclist's Antonia Edwards, Collezioni's Peppe Orru, stylist Fran Lee, photographer Sonya Hurtado, and interior designer, writer and blogger Ashlyn Gibson.

The workshop was held at Shoreditch's Pitfield, a cafe, shop and gallery brimming with unique homewares. In this suitably creative setting, Jay and OOTD craftsman Luke set about teaching us how to upcycle an old school chair.



After a crash course in painting and upholstery (top tip: don't staple your fingers), it was time for the really fun bit - choosing our chairs, and beginning to revamp them!

We painted our chair frames (armed with plenty of wet-wipes for drips), before using super-strength glue to attach padding to their seats. 

OOTD work with donated fabrics, and had brought along a range to choose from. Each creative selected a piece of material, which would be used to cover their chair seat - although upcycling veteran Ashlyn had come equipped with her own. 



Then it was time to bring out the big guns - staple ones, to be exact! Supervised by Jay and Luke, we made a start on attaching our fabric to the seats. It was very fiddly, but using the air-powered guns proved a lot of fun (so much so, in fact, that B&S got a bit staple-happy, and had to start again!)





Nevertheless, most of our creatives were soon stapling away like OOTD professionals - and even had time to add a few finishing touches. Ashlyn's chair featured an in-built whoopee cushion, while illustrator Sophie's was a colourful work of art. 


What do you think? We were seriously impressed with their unique creations - from Suzanne's chic monochrome seat, to stylist Fran's expertly accessorised piece (complete with retro badges). 

The 11 chairs will be on display at Bubble this February - and, if you like what you see, you could even take one home with you! We'll be putting them up for grabs in a silent auction, with all proceeds going to the wonderful OOTD. 

Fancy owning a stylish OOTD original? You can register for a ticket to the show here. We've got our eye on that whoopee cushion chair, though..

Monday, 19 January 2015

Perfect Pitch

Last year we told you all about Bubble London's new Perfect Pitch programme (which will give designers the chance to introduce their brands to an audience of visitors, Dragon's Den-style) - and now, finally, we can reveal who'll be taking part!

Drum-roll, please; we're delighted to introduce our first ever line-up of Perfect Pitch participants...



1. Magnus and Mouse, 2. Holly Hastie, 3. Oh...My!, 4, Storkwerk, 5. Jam, 6. Smalls7. Papu, 8. Lola Myer, 9. Holly & Beau, 10. Tweedy Gromett by Braggy

Sunday, 3.30 - 4.00 pm

Jam
Jam's stylish, durable childrenswear features adjustable fastenings and comfortable materials, making for a long-lasting fit. 

Storkwerk
Premium lifestyle brand Storkwerk was founded by Anna Kraft and Chika Yamamoto Wolfson. The design-duo take inspiration from their own parenting experiences, creating innovative, stylish accessories - like the multi-functional 'Little Globetrotter' bib. 

Lola Myer
Founded by Mona Alani, Homegrown brand Lola Myer specialises in classically-cut, vintage-inspired girlswear. 

Holly Hastie
Holly Hastie spent twenty year designing for the likes of Jigsaw, M&S, Kew and Etam, before turning her hand to childrenswear. Her creations are bold, bright and playful, recalling the elegant partywear of the 1920s. 

Holly & Beau
Holly and Beau was founded by brother-and-sister duo Jack and Fleur - who, fresh from university, decided to make 'welly wearing weather' more fun. Its swim-shorts, umbrellas and waterproof coats magically change colour when wet. 

Monday, 2.00 - 2.30 pm

Papu
Finnish brand Papu was founded by designer Anna Kurkela and artist Hanna-Riikka Heikkila. Each collection of cool, unisex Papu clothing is inspired by a different story, and features Hanna's unique graphic prints. 

Tweedy Gromett by Braggy
Tweedy Gromett was founded by Julie, an 'unruly northerner' and former Great British Sewing Bee contestant. You can read more about her story, experiences and unique tweed babywear here

Smalls
Inspired by their childhoods in New Zealand, friends Cat and E-J decided to create a range of Merino wool garments for kids - and Smalls was born. Its luxurious vests and base-layers are soft, non-itchy and uniquely warm. 

Oh...My!
Oh...My!'s high-end occassionwear is designed by Anna Davies, who strives to create playful, functional clothing for 'stylish little ladies'. Its debut collection features pretty florals, full skirts and elegant fabrics. 

Magnus & Mouse
Mums Isobel and Penny founded Magnus & Mouse with a view to livening up dull cot-spaces. Their organic sheets and baby blankets are available in a range of chic, Scandi-inspired prints. 

If you fancy hearing more from these up-and-coming brands, you can attend one (or both!) of our Perfect Pitch sessions at the show. They'll be held in the seminar theatre, with each designer given five minutes to introduce their label. You might just discover your new best-seller!


Apply for your free ticket to the show here.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

B&S Meets...Tweedy Gromett

It's been a busy year for designer Julie Gromett. After competing on BBC2's Great British Sewing Bee, the self-professed 'Unruly Northerner' decided to found her very own children's brand - and Tweedy Gromett was born. This season, Julie will be showcasing her debut collection at Bubble London - not to mention competing for another coveted title, that of Bubble Rising Star! We've been talking tweed, trade shows and TV-stardom with the 'sewing-room rebel'...



Julie, when did you decide to found Tweedy Gromett? 

Tweedy Gromett was created in May 2014, shortly after the Sewing Bee had been aired. While I was on the show, I was being constantly tweeted about the clothes I wore. The waistcoat I wore on the first episode received lots of comments, as it was a little different to the standard waistcoat. I actually adapted the pattern from a tennis dress! After I left the show I made my 5 month old grandson a tweed waistcoat, and lined it with London guards as his dad was from London. My daughter put it on Facebook, and everyone was liking it and asking where she had got it from. It then occurred to me that maybe there was a market for this type of thing.I did some research and found there was little or no tweed for babies or toddlers - mainly because traditionally, tweed is quite a harsh fabric. But if you choose a light weight tweed and combine it with a soft cotton, it is fabulous.

Why tweed?

Tweed is something I have always worn and I have always been a fan of country clothes, so it seemed the natural fabric to work with for me.



What challenges have you faced in the course of launching your brand? 

The biggest challenge I have faced so far, is planning my year and keeping control of cashflow. As a new business, it's important not to get carried away with ordering stock and fabrics, and only spend what you can afford. Patience is a virtue and if you develop your business at a pace you can keep control of, it's much more likely to have a healthy bank balance and flourish.

Did you enjoy your time on The Great British Sewing Bee? 

Being a contestant on the Great British Sewing Bee is something I will never forget. It sounds a bit of a clich├ęd, but we all really bonded and I now have friends for life. The highlight of the show was winning garment of the week in the very first episode, especially since it was silk and I hate working with silk. I'm lucky; I learnt to sew with difficult fabrics because my daughter was a ballroom dancer and I could never get a dress made on time - so being the Have-a-go-Harry that I am, I decided to make them myself. It was all chiffon and silk, so I was familiar with the difficulties silk poses.



What advice would you give to someone launching a kid's brand?

If I were to give one piece of advice to someone who was thinking of launching a kid's brand, firstly it would be, a) don't use tweed, that's my neck of the woods. b) Think of something you really love and whatever you decide to produce, somehow, use a little bit of that in it. Clothes made with passion are always better than a run of the mill production line. Every waistcoat or garment I design, I'm convinced it my favourite.

Are you looking forward to Bubble London this February?

I am so excited about Bubble London. Although I have had stands at all the big equestrian and country shows this year, this is my first trade show - so where better to display my goods than London! I am also very excited about the opportunity to present to buyers as part of the Perfect Pitch Programme. Some people think I am mad putting myself under pressure, but I just love an audience!

Julie will be delivering her Perfect Pitch on Monday 2nd - stay tuned for the full line-up!

Register for your free ticket to February's show here...

Monday, 12 January 2015

Gas&Air Studios

'Recycle more' topped our list of new year's resolutions - and, this season, we're taking tips from Gas&Air. February's show will be partly furnished by the South London company, which creates innovative tables, chairs and benches from reclaimed timber. And we thought our egg carton desk-tidy was impressive! 

We caught-up with designer Guy, who explained how a garden-full of unwanted pallets became a thriving furniture business...



Guy, how and when was Gas&Air founded?

Gas&Air Studios started with a pile of old pallets in the back of a
garden in South London in 2009. After experimenting with the pallet
timber on various ideas we came up with our first design, the folding
Pallet Chair and Table. The possibilities of working with pallets was
exciting, and we enjoyed the freedom and hands on nature of working with
reclaimed timber.

Tell us more about the Gas&Air team...


At the moment there are three of us that make up the Gas&Air Team. There's myself, designer (and furniture obsessive) - then Denny and newcomer Dylan,
both carpenters and experienced and dedicated 'palleteers'.






Where do you source the material for your pallet furniture?


We source our pallets from timber yards and from local businesses in the
area around our workshop in Battersea. All the pallets we use are
damaged or unwanted; we never use pallets that are new or due to be re-used.
We have also started to use old, disused scaffolding boards in our
furniture, which we source from small business around London.

What has been your most exciting project to date?

In 2013 we were asked to provide furniture for the new Google
Engineering HQs in London. The office, designed by architecture and
interior design agency PENSON, is an amazing space, so it was very
exciting to see our furniture as part of the design.





What are you looking forward to about Bubble London?

We love having our furniture at different venues and events, and enjoy
seeing our it in action. Bubble London will be an excellent
opportunity for lots of people to experience our furniture. It is also a
great challenge for us to design some new furniture for a large and fun
event.

Look out for Gas&Air's unique creations in and around the BDC at Bubble London A/W15! You can register for your free ticket here

Friday, 9 January 2015

Stars of the Show

Our A/W15 Rising Star finalists are a seriously talented bunch - and it's high time we introduced you to them!


1. Homegrown brand La Pitchoune creates exquisite couture dresses for little girls. Its founders, Loulou Bontemps and Gemma Smith, share a passion for fabrics, and source their silks and cottons locally. Expect classic silhouettes, feminine prints, and plenty of anglo-french elegance!

2. Holly Hastie is a bold new girl's brand, inspired by all things vintage - from Edwardian seaside photographs, to the partywear of the 1920s. Founder Holly spent twenty years designing for Jigsaw, M&S, Kew and Etam - and has now turned her hand to childrenswear. 

3. If you recognise Magnus and Mouse, it might be because you read this interview with its wonderful founders, Penny and Isobel, last year! The mums-turned-designers create organic fitted sheets and baby blankets in chic, Scandi-inspired prints. 

4. Tweedy Gromett was launched by 'northern lass' and former Great British Sewing Bee contestant, Julie Gromett. Working with local tailors, she creates unique tweed and cotton babywear - like these dapper waistcoats.

5. Founded by Anna Kraft and Chika Yamamoto Wolfson, premium lifestyle brand Storkwerk specialises in innovative, multi-functional parenting products. Its chic, contemporary bibs and bags have been designed with time-saving and efficiency in mind. 

6. We've raved about Oh...My! before - and can you blame us? The British brand creates beautiful occassionwear for girls aged 5 - 11; think jewelled tones, high-end fabrics and on-trend prints. 

7.  Homegrown label Lola Myer takes its inspiration from the elegant fashions of yesteryear, creating classically-cut dresses with a modern twist. Expect plenty of sweet, vintage-inspired details - from peter-pan collars, to lace trims on its traditional bloomers. 

8. Jam's stylish, durable clothing (think pretty floral dresses and comfortable dungarees) features adjustable fastenings - making for a long-lasting fit. 

9. Mums Amanda and Judith loved bamboo, but were unable to find truly stylish kids clothing in the soft, naturally hypoallergenic fabric. Finally, they decided to create their own colourful collection of bamboo kidswear and accessories - and Panda and the Sparrow was born. 

10. Jump Junior's knitted tank tops are colourful, lively and full of humour - just like the little boys they're designed for. Its first collection features a range of fun, retro motifs - from tractors and trucks, to traditional stripes. 

We'll be announcing the winner on Sunday 1st February.

Fancy meeting this season's best new design-talent in person? You can register for your free ticket to Bubble London here!