Saturday saw the 9th Liberty Open Call. A brilliant array of new designers, creatives and entrepreneurs came along with their innovative new designs and wares to show our expert and experienced panel of judges. We chatted to some of the movers and shakers on the day.
On Saturday, Liberty opened its doors once again to the best of British design. A fantastic turnout ensured our buyers were kept busy, viewing everything from cushions to fashion to Liberty print dog accessories.
We chatted to a handful of the talented people who came along.
Grain & Knot
A simple concept with a delightful story: spoon-carver Sophie makes beautiful utensils out of foraged or discarded wood, turning a waste product into inspired kitchenware.
‘I did a spoon carving course and loved it, so went out the next day and bought an axe!’
Baker & Bray
This London-based design duo hand make bandanas, collars and leads for stylish canines. Baker & Bray brought two collections along, one of which featured Liberty print (modelled by Milo).
Proud to champion British design, the brand uses UK fabrics as much as possible, creating practical yet covetable accessories that are insulated to keep your pup warm.
Scott Taylor Designs
When she’s not working in our Beauty hall, designer Olivia re-designs chairs with her Buckinghamshire-based family.
‘It’s our take on the classic British school chair which was in use from the 1930s through to the late 1960s.’
Hand-finished and re-designed with an artistic twist, Olivia’s chairs certainly came in handy during the long wait in the Best of British queue.
Run by the brains behind established brands ‘Constant and True’ and ‘Ibiza Rocks’, True Rocks looks set to be a winner in the Liberty jewellery hall. Featuring delicate pieces packed with personality, each piece has a story. Think a Rich Tea biscuit necklace designed in collaboration with artist Gavin Turk, alongside rock ‘n’ roll inspired pill pendants.
Designers Emily and Dawn call it: ‘Jewellery with attitude, wear it with confidence’.
Did you come along to the Liberty Open Call last week? What did you bring and what did you see that you loved? Let us know on Twitter, @LibertyLondon #BestOfBritish
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.