Pure London: My Highlights

Pure London is an annual trade show, in which over 800 exhibitors display their finest collections. Some visitors include buyers from the likes of Asos and Harrods, others are just like me, searching for brilliant brands to fall in love with. And how Pure London delivered! Brands originated from across the globe, from fine Italian jewellery to wild African prints. Yet I was on the hunt for the best Well Fashioned, made in the UK or sustainable, brands. Here are a few of my Well Fashioned highlights of Pure London…

Funky Kalikar

Funky Kalikar not only builds their brand around the Kalikar (artist), their commitment to sustainable fashion is outstanding. The idea that caught my eye was their use of scrap tyres. What do tyres and shoes have in common? They are both designed to get you places. Funky Kalikar have asked why do we just accept that our soles will soon wear out on these journeys, if tyres can be built with a 50,000 mile warranty why can’t we expect the same thing from our shoes? And thus their idea for SneakONS was born. With piles and piles of tyres clogging up landfills or rivers around the world taking thousands of years to decompose, Funky Kalikar have decided to recycle and reuse these tyres to create long-lasting soles on their shoes. To this date they have managed to recycle 140kgs of rubber from scrap tyres. The soles are combined with breathable handwoven cotton fabric by local artisans in Mumbai to create their bespoke footwear collection.

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak of their upcoming womenswear designs and ideas. Whilst still in the process of creating their collection, ‘THE BEE’, is set to match their previous innovations. Who knew a sketch on an iPhone could fill me with such excitement for the future of this brand? The womenswear collection borrows an idea used as early as the 13th century in Asia, creating fibres from the wasted stalks of banana production. The resulting fabric mimics the feel and look of real silk, creating a sustainable and vegan fashion alternative.

Follow them on Twitter to find out more about the release of THE BEE!

Yull Shoes 

I first came across Yull about a month ago as I was adding them to our Made in the UK womenswear list, and ever since I have found myself thinking of ways that Yull Shoes could add character and vibrancy to any old outfit. The shoes I particularly fell in love with are pictured above, can’t you just see me twirling around with blue shoes and a white dress in pure Made in the UK fashion joy? No, just me? Anyway, once I heard that Yull would be at Pure I couldn’t help going to visit their stand. Creator of the brand Sarah Watkinson-Yull walked me through their collection, from my dream heels to Sarah’s favourite, the new vibrant ‘Brixton’ sneakers, the collection did not fail to look just as exciting in person.

Sarah’s passion for a Made in Britain label is evident, working with three other people to create the unique shoes she truly champions UK manufacturing with the aim of bringing skills back to the country. Sometimes not being able to resist helping out to add the finishing touches herself. Although the label may be particularly resonant with people such as myself due to its manufacturing practices, Sarah estimated that only around 15% of people bought her shoes because of the Made in Britain tag and for most others it was just an added bonus on top of the quality and uniqueness of the collection.

Olive Jewellery

After visiting their stand at Pure London I discovered that unlike many other brands, Olive Jewellery came about sort of by accident. After breaking her foot in Portugal last year Olive Jewellery designer, Olivia Lickiss, found herself rather limited in what hobbies she could do. Olivia was always interested in fashion and thus found herself, with her foot up, at her kitchen table playing around with different materials and designs for jewellery. After posting the results of her new hobby on Instagram, DM’s started pouring in and Olive Jewellery was born!

Olivia still makes her jewellery from hand in her home in Dorset meaning each piece is slightly different from the one before, although the kitchen table has been swapped for a small studio. The result is a beautifully simple collection of jewellery that keeps up with current trends, without the large price tag. Her designs are made from materials such as gold filled wire, a higher percentage of gold than gold plating, meaning you can wear them every day without them tarnishing. Exciting times await Olive Jewellery as they prepare to showcase their pieces in a pop-up shop in Topshop on Oxford Street on the 3rd-9th September!

Bianca Elgar

Bianca describes her collection as ‘Wearable Art’, and her stand at Pure London reflected that through vibrant, eye-catching colours. Bianca designs her prints using screen printing in her studio and subsequently sends her designs to Macclesfield to be manufactured. 

Bianca’s passion is to ensure that each design tells a story whether it was inspired by her trip to Abu Dhabi or the botanical gardens near her home in Oxford or, more recently, in her new collection ‘The Language of Flowers’ the story behind forget-me-nots, an ode to the struggles of Alzheimer’s disease. What is clear from meeting the designer is that the story of her brand is not only based around her experiences but also around her true belief that UK manufacturing holds the key to the best quality of clothing. She is passionate about offering the best quality she can, and working with the right manufacturers to do so.

Although Bianca offers a womenswear line, my favourite of her designs are her scarfs. Each scarf is designed to be worn in a multitude of ways, whether that be around your neck, as a headband, a top, a dress, the possibilities are endless. Thus creating a unique, versatile and above all great quality collection. Bianca has also recently branched out into jewellery creating her striking Carissa magnetic earring collection, allowing everyone to enjoy her designs.

 

So there we have it, instead of one Friday Find there are my four Wednesday finds from Pure London (not quite the same ring to it I know).

Written by Sam Hayes @samhayes301

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