It is always evolving, that is the beauty of fashion; drawing inspiration from times and styles that have come before. At Bespoke Textiles, we had the wonderful opportunity to work with Helen and Colin David, founders of English Eccentrics, to relaunch their wonderfully creative textile-led British heritage brand with a limited-edition range of exclusive luxury archive prints from the 90’s.
Famous in the 90’s for their unique fashion prints, we were excited to search through the English Eccentrics archive of work and bring their beautiful prints back to the market and into the spotlight once again! While exploring previous collections, we came across the magnificent Gaia design. Only ever existing as a painting and as an image from the book, Gaia is an ancient term referring to the notion of ‘Mother Earth’ and was designed by Helen to honour our planet. Even though Gaia was designed in the early 90’s, the print and its message are even more powerful and important today, resonating with urgent environmental issues and the importance of looking after our world to ensure its survival.
Remastering the Archive
We started on our quest to turn the Gaia painting into a material masterpiece by digitalising the print, recolouring in three different colour ways ready to adapt into limited edition scarves and accessories. It took 4 weeks to make the artwork for the printers. In the collection we also relaunched their Autumn/Winter 1997 runway only Pushkin design and made it into clothing: a jumpsuit, shirt dress, tunic and fitted shirt. The beautiful Tapestry print from 1992, was also taken from the archive to complete this trio of prints chosen to relaunch with. All the luxury products created for the English Eccentrics relaunch are handmade to order and reproduced in a limited run making each piece extra special and collectable. We used vivid greens and orange for a modern spin on this classic design.
Limited Edition Scarves
When producing the limited-edition scarves, our project and product development assistant started the search in the UK, attending a supplier’s exhibition to source the perfect silk printing supplier for the luxury scarfs, so that we could make it in England. The scarves were sampled on silk satin, silk twill and a bamboo and silk blend simultaneously, we did this to explore a variety of options; eventually finding the perfect match for the relaunch of this heritage brand. At Bespoke Textiles, using sustainable fabrics is of high importance in our design approach. Thriving in Asia and known for its sustainability and anti-bacterial qualities, Bamboo is a highly sustainable material of choice. The silk also originates from Asia from silk worms.
Pocket Square Perfection
This project took Bespoke Textiles founder Katie Young Gerald to Hong Kong and China. While on this adventure she found some archive original English Eccentrics fabrics when visiting one of our suppliers, that had been used for the silk printed element over 15 years ago. These were then made into a handful of pocket squares as a sample run to use up waste. The final pocket squares were printed on silk twill, with hand rolled finishing by Mrs Giglio the original hand roller from 25 years ago!
Remastering Designs Together
This was an exciting project for the Bespoke Textile team in so many ways. One of our favourite parts of any project is working closely with our clients to achieve their vision. As our founder Katie started her fashion career 25 years ago with the English Eccentrics fashion brand, she was excited to work alongside Helen and Colin David once again, this time to remaster and relaunch a collection under her own creative direction. And with such an impressive history that she was personally connected with and inspired by! We also worked alongside MA curation student Jessica Taylor from London College of Fashion as we wanted to take prints further in other garments for a new younger generation and original fans again. Jessica joined the project to work on an exhibition proposal and marketing strategy for the relaunch; exploring ways in which English Eccentrics rich story could be told to both original lovers of the brand and the new generation discovering it for the first time.
At Bespoke Textiles, we are passionate about design and heritage, bringing brands to life with textiles. Our expert team works closely with brands, rediscovering designs and styles that transcend, their messages still relevant today. For more information on our services contact us today or visit the English Eccentrics website for products.
Our founder, Katie, dropped by to Women's Radio Station to talk all things hospitality and the exciting re-launch of English Eccentrics.
Click the link below to listen!
Commemorative textiles are a wonderful expression of our world history that should never be forgotten. Celebrating the past with wonderful cloth designs is a visually impactful and creative way of keeping the memories of our ancestors alive. It also allows us to appreciate and learn from the past so we can understand our current world.
Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere
We were extremely proud to be involved in creating a limited-edition embroidered handkerchief by Gillian Wearing in collaboration with Plinth. The beautiful handkerchief marks a century of women’s suffrage in the UK and is inspired by Millicent Fawcett’s powerful message ‘Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere’. This compelling message can be seen on Gillian Wearing’s statue of Millicent Fawcett which has become the first statue of a woman to proudly stand in London’s Parliament Square. The statue was erected in the square after thousands signed a petition to see her stand in the historic tourist attraction. Here, her message of strength and determination can be embraced, while her activism and fight for women’s rights can be remembered and shared with visitors from all over the world.
In celebration of the statue being recently unveiled, the limited-edition handkerchief was redesigned from the original handkerchief the suffragettes embroidered their signatures into whilst in Holloway Prison, here in London. This beautiful design is delicate with striking pops of colourful embroidery that reflects the powerful message behind the statue and the women who fought for our rights today. The handkerchief has become part of a range of merchandise inspired by Millicent Fawcett’s message of women empowerment and equality. Part of the proceeds from the sale of the range are donated to the Fawcett Society, who continue to fight for the rights of women and carry on the amazing work their founder achieved before them.
The process of creating the handkerchief
We then received the artwork for the suffragette handkerchief and began prototyping, selecting a linen cotton base cloth to give it a napkin feel and strength. It is an intricate piece with a great deal of detail. Our passion is bringing heritage textiles back to life to share the incredible history of the people and places we so richly can be proud of in Britain. But more over joining this with the global connections, traditions and skills that can help us recreate this skilled artistry. In this instance, this took me on a journey to India and Kashmir to find the factory with the skills, ethics and materials that would do this beautiful workmanship justice.
We then approved colours and signatures to check they were correct. There were some colour and artwork corrections needed, and the embroidery required several rounds of tweaks which were achieved by working with our partners to adjust machine settings.
As this is a very detailed textile, our job was to make it as luxurious and high quality as possible. This was achieved through producing multiple samples, which is a common practice and requirement on most complex pieces.
Finally, we had a pre-production sample made which was then approved and went into bulk production; this takes 4 to 6 months. The development of the handkerchief was an exciting project for everyone at the Bespoke Textiles HQ, partly because we are all women who wouldn’t have this right to make an impact with our work without the suffragette movement. We worked closely with our client through every stage of the production process, from artwork to sampling alongside liaising with the factory to clearly communicate amends and produce the final high-quality product that you see on the Plinth website today!
We take pride in producing high quality textile products that stand out and get your brand noticed. We can help you source, develop and deliver your unique textile products from factory to market. Discover more about our service today!
Looking forward to sharing our new commemorative textile projects coming up.