The Liberty Best of British open call has been championing British design since 2009. Ahead of the next event this Saturday, catch up with some of the success stories from previous years.
Do you have a unique and innovative product you dream of seeing stocked on the renowned shelves of Liberty?
The British Design Open Call offers upcoming designers and entrepreneurs the chance to present their designs to our expert panel of judges, and if they’re successful their designs will be chosen to be stocked in our hallowed halls. The 6th of its kind to take place at our Regent Street department store, it is a unique opportunity to show products directly to Liberty’s Managing Director, Ed Burstell, his esteemed buying team and industry experts – including top names from press and fashion retail.
Want to know what to expect from the day? Watch our video from previous years to discover more >
Over the past six years we’ve had many success stories from our open calls; several of the designers we uncovered are still stocked at Liberty. Here are a few of our bestselling brands:
Vicki Murdoch’s kitsch collection was discovered at our 2011 open call. Her hand drawn prints take inspiration from nature for a playful and whimsical take on classic home accessories. Vicki uses traditional, intricate and very time-consuming pen and ink techniques, evoking imagery that is both otherworldly yet reassuringly familiar.
“Best of British was incredible for my brand, it allowed me to show my work to an amazing store and wonderful buyers, and then to be stocked there was a dream come true and the best possible platform for any brand to start from.” – Vicki Murdoch
Read our interview with Vicki Murdoch from when she was first discovered.
Discovered at the Best of British Open Call in 2013, Maia Franchesci’s collage-inspired scarves caught our buyers’ attention thanks to their surrealist edge.
“The best thing about being stocked in Liberty is being able to connect with people through a story, an object, a symbol, a particular colour… The exclusivity I am given allows me to do this.” – Maia Franceschi
Menswear designer Christopher Raeburn was picked up at our very first open call in 2009. His designs are recognised for their re-appropriation of military fabrics and iconic outerwear created from de-commissioned parachutes. You can still shop the Christopher Raeburn collection in-store in our menswear department today.
“A menswear order was made at Best of British which gave us a lot of credibility. We were also able to do an installation which had a lot of impact on press and buyers globally – the resulting changes really helped to grow our business.” – Christopher Raeburn
The Brim Label
We discovered this unique hat label in 2013. Designer Emma Cheape is the creative force behind the peaks, sourcing her fabrics from vintage markets in London and creating very individual styles of headwear.
“I took along a range of about 10 hats in different styles, colour ways and fabrications on the day. Taking a broad selection is good because it shows the buyers everything you can do/offer which I believe is important because you can never really know what is going to appeal to them.” – Emma Cheape
Image by Abi Green
After being spotted at Open Call in 2011, Alexandra Mann’s brightly coloured wash bags have been a must-have in the Liberty bath shop. Having just completed her first collection in Liberty print, Mann is developing the line with new fabrics and textures.
“I presented my bags to Liberty Beauty and Accessories Buyer, Gina Ritchie, and guest judge Susie Bubble who wanted all the make-up bags as clutches. The next minute I had Kate Brindley, Head of Communications, MD Ed Burstell and Beauty Buyer Sarah Coonan, all stood around the table having a full on discussion about my bags and what to do with me. I met with Sarah two weeks later and she placed a substantial order.” – Alexandra Mann
Draw In Light
Discovered in 2010, design duo Draw in Light have not only had their screen printed fashion stocked in Liberty, they also designed a print for Liberty fabric in 2014.
“What we love about Liberty is the consortium of stock and heritage. We try and visit at least once a month to buy presents and check on our rail.” – Polly Wilkinson
Launched in Liberty after being spotted in 2013, Bare Biology fish oil is the concentrated Omega 3 oil with an environmentally friendly conscience. Made to boost your skin’s health from within, this great-tasting oil is now a must-have in the Liberty beauty hall.
“I queued for about four hours on the day but it whizzed by – the atmosphere was incredible, the energy, nerves and excitement were palpable. When it was finally my turn, I was shown to the table and I did my pitch. I couldn’t believe it when they both said they loved my product! When they told me I should be very proud of myself I nearly cried because, as a 41-year-old mum who’d been out of the workplace for 8 years, it was an incredible confidence boost.” – Melanie Lawson
Peter Wilkin Organics was discovered at the last Best of British open call just seven months ago. Now stocked as one of our Beauty Must-Haves, the naturally derived formula boasts innovative ecological and cultural principles.
“Best of British enabled my product shelf space in the highly competitive world of luxury cosmetics, without having to compromise on the product quality or the brand values of organic and natural ecology. I have moved into a new laboratory and have been able to focus on developing new products. Being stocked in Liberty has also given me the opportunity to begin to work with other British businesses and suppliers while I am still a small company.” – Peter Wilkin
On Monday 4th August, the 100th anniversary of the day Britain joined the First World War, Liberty unveiled a specially curated window in honour of the 44 then members of staff who died in the battles.
4th August 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the day Britain entered one of the costliest conflicts in history – the First World War – with fighting continuing until 11th November 1918, Armistice Day.
In memory of the 44 members of Liberty staff who were killed in the battles, the Liberty team have curated a very special window. Come down to Great Marlborough street and take a look – you can also find their names inscribed on the west-wing stairwell, just off the Jewellery Hall.
We would like to invite any relatives of the Liberty staff listed below to come and view the window. You can also view the list here. If you would like to talk to us, or would like any more information, please email email@example.com.
Our fashion windows are dressed in their best sporting finery to celebrate the Commonwealth Games 2014.
It’s Liberty as you’ve never seen it before: our window dressings have had a sporty make-over in honour of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Pop down to our Great Marlborough Street entrance and take a look – each department has a dedicated window featuring our newest hero pieces against a backdrop of service lines, nets and scoreboards.
Shop in-store or online to find your match made in Liberty
The lovely Liberty Design Studio creatives have designed a giant Liberty print-covered letter sculpture for the Hampton Court Flower show.
Last week three members from our lovely wholesale design studio spent a busy few days at the Hampton Court Flower Show, creating a beautiful and inspiring Liberty print patchwork letter ‘I’ to greet the thousands of visitors who will enter over the coming week.
Head of Design Emma Mawston said, “The interior and rear side of the letter represent over thirty years of Liberty history, and the classic designs Liberty is so famous for. The fabrics were arranged in a beautifully random way as we don’t work to specific colour stories when colouring the classics.
The front of the letter is created with blue, pink and purple swatches to blend with the colour the other letters were painted. We started with blues, moving into pinks and then purples. The designs were mainly from the fashion fabric collection with a few classics included. The purple front of the letter being very apt as it represents the colour of Liberty.
The side on show has more of a graded colour distribution as our seasonal fashion fabric collections are created with specific palettes. The designs are placed to represent from the bottom upwards: earth, grass and flowers with the sky, clouds and sunshine at the top. Prints used were a selection of styles by the Liberty Art Fabrics design studio, The Liberty Archive and 25 artist and group collaborations including Grayson Perry, Rachel de Thame, John Malkovich, Florence Welch and Deborah Landis.”
Visit Hampton Court Flower Show this week to see the design studio’s printed masterpiece and tweet us your pictures @LibertyLondon.
The Dannijo sisters give Liberty a lesson in bohemian jewellery styling and tell us how their eclectic jewellery has grown from strength to strength.
If you haven’t yet heard of Dannijo, you’ll definitely want to familiarise yourself with the jewellery brand this season. Created by Floridian jewellery makers, Danielle and Jodie Snyder, the eclectic line of bohemian, rocker-inspired pieces that wouldn’t look out of place at music festivals such as Coachella and Glastonbury, has been spotted on some of Hollywood’s most revered and infamous names (ahem… Natalie Portman, Beyoncé, Oprah, Rihanna and Black Lively to name just a few).
The girls first used their cardiologist father’s medical tools to make jewellery while at school. Then, reunited in New York after finishing University, they returned to their hobby and created a capsule collection of jewellery pieces for Danielle’s L.W.A.L.A non-profit fundraising initiative to create change in underdeveloped countries. Since it’s inception, Dannijo has a advocated creating sustainable economic opportunity for women, and now all their packaging is made in Rwanda as part of their women’s empowerment initiative.
We caught up with Danielle and Jodie for a lesson in Dannijo jewellery styling first-hand and how they like to spend their time in London whenever they visit.
Describe your jewellery in 3 words:
Statement, powerful and eclectic.
How many pieces jewellery do you wear on a daily basis? Is it your own, or a mix of brands?
We wear our own everyday and mix in Native American Indian jewellery or antique pieces every now and again. We wear anywhere from 2-10 pieces: loads of dainty rings from Fine by Dannijones, a statement necklace or several bracelets and cuffs stacked, and either studs or statement earrings.
Which is your favourite piece from the collection this season?
The Shelton II earrings or the Norgaard necklace because they’re such versatile, bohemian-rocker styles that really finish a look.
What is LWALA and how did it help turn your jewellery making hobby into a business?
Lwala (Live With A Lifelong Ambition) is a non-profit I co-founded in 2007 to help fundraise for grass-roots initiatives in Africa. The organization was named after a village called Lwala in Kenya– we helped fundraise for their first health facility by getting our peers to use their passion and talent (be it in fashion, music, film, or photography) to fundraise and impact change. Our talent was jewellery design and the philanthropic initiative was the impetus for us to start designing jewellery again.
You have a lot of famous followers. How did Dannijo make its big fashion break?
It was a combination of experiences and events that got us to where we are today. The brand has really leveraged social media as a means to connect with our following and establish a powerful presence. Our feature on the Today show very early on was great exposure for the line as well as Beyonce’s support (she bought a necklace our first month in business at Bergdorf Goodman and wore it on tour all over the world).
You’re coming to London for a personal appearance in our Jewellery Hall on 10th July, where are your favourite places to spend your time when in London?
We love shopping at Liberty, vintage shopping at portobello market and having drinks at Claridges and Shoreditch house. We often get lost and wander to new places and eats.
What do we need to know about Dannijo? Are you planning anything exciting for the next season?
The brand is expanding into categories that are natural extensions. Our handbag collection really took off as well as our fine jewellery capsule with Rashida Jones – called Fine by Dannijones – so we’re expanding our fine jewellery presence in addition to new categories altogether.
Come and meet Jodie and Danielle in our brilliant Jewellery hall on Thursday 10th July, 12-3pm and 5-7pm. The first 10 customers to purchase any piece from the autumn/ winter 2014 collection will receive a free Dannijo iPhone cover and luxury goodie bag, including a Le Labo Calone 17 Vintage candle, NARS lipstick in Heatwave, Claire Aude Liberty print wash bag and pocket mirror (in an assortment of colours), and an Essie nail polish in Mademoiselle.