Archives for heritage

West Dean College Supports Red List For Endangered Crafts in UK

HERITAGE crafts such as making clogs, pianos and blocks for millinery are still produced in Britain – but only just. Recent research by The Heritage Craft Association (HCA) reveals that many of Britain’s traditional craft skills are in decline and in some cases, no longer practised.  The Radcliffe Red List of Endangered Crafts is the title of the new project launched by HCA, supported by the Radcliffe Trust, which endeavours to oversee the viability of heritage craft skills on a regular basis. Their research reveals that the emergence of new technologies and an ageing workforce affect the viability of some craft practices but a lack of affordable workshops, training courses and business skills compromise others.

Heritage Craft Association, West Dean College, heritage crafts, Red ListWest Dean College student, Stacey Hibberd. Photograph courtesy of Christopher Ison

At present, Britain is one of the few countries that have chosen not to back UNESCO’s convention regarding the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage which supports craft skills. Greta Bertram, who led the research, has highlighted the need this month for increased government funding said, “For too long we have been bounced between heritage – which means historic buildings and museums – and arts – things that you can put on a shelf and admire.”

Heritage Craft Association, West Dean College, heritage crafts, Red ListWest Dean College student, Francesca Levey. Photograph courtesy of Christopher Ison

West Dean College in Chichester, who support the new Red List proposals have launched a brand new foundation degree in Historic Craft Practice which teaches metalwork, furniture, musical instrument-making and horology. The horology course includes a project for making an 18th century clock.

Heritage Craft Association, West Dean College, heritage crafts, Red ListWest Dean College student, Fons Vogel. Photograph courtesy of Christopher Ison

Apart from teaching crafts practice and tool-making, the course also endeavours to equip students with valuable business skills. Francine Norris, the Director for Education at West Dean College which specialises in conservation and creative arts education and is validated by the University of Sussex, said, “We hope the List will raise awareness of our rich craft heritage and encourage people to consider learning traditional skills many of which are still relevant today.”

by Miranda Charalambous

Front page image: West Dean College horology student. Photograph courtesy of Christopher Ison

 

 

 

 

UK Fashion Brand Beautiful Soul London Launches SS16 Collection

BEAUTIFUL Soul London, one of the rising stars of London’s independent fashion design scene, have launched their new SS16 Patti Wilson collection, named after the mother of Nicola Woods – the founder and designer of the brand.

 

Look 14 - Ami Shirt CoatAmy shirt coat, blossom navy and British lace

Beautiful Soul is a British luxury womenswear label based in Notting Hill, London. It was founded in 2011 by Woods on the principles of perennial design unwavering in its femininity, British heritage and sustainability.

 

Look 15 - Chika Shirt DressChika shirt dress with blue British lace

The brand has been synonymous with the finest of British craftsmanship and the latest collection provides a continuity to this notion. Inspired by childhood memories and nostalgia, Woods has created a collection made up of delicate, flow-y silhouettes carrying the brand’s signature floral prints. The selection includes dresses for various occasions, coats, elegant separates and feminine skirts and shirts.

Look 23 - Oka Jacket + Kiko ShortsOka jacket in blossom pink. Kiko shorts in blossom pink

Nicola and team behind Beautiful Soul have always been committed to a conscious and responsible approach to fashion with ethical ethos of local production and sourcing and minimising waste in the production process to zero. They achieve that by using end-of-line fabrics, skillful pattern cutting, and crafting fastenings and embellishments from leftover textiles to ensure the full use of every piece of fabric.

The SS16 collection therefore features British lace sourced from a Nottingham lace factory that compliments the composed colour palette selection including both vibrant shades and coveted pastels. The main floral themes are Hydrangea and Blossoms, occasionally accompanied by dainty ladybirds and bumblebees which evoke the charm of British countryside summers.

Look 16 - Mai Midi Dress + Midori T-BlouseMai midi-dress in blossom aqua with Midori T-blouse in blossom navy

Beautiful Souls’ ethical approach to fashion and production and smart tailoring allowing the designs to be effortlessly carried from day to evening have earned them international following and has gained admiration from several notable wearers including Pippa Middleton, Taylor Swift and Erin O’Connor among others.

Nicola Woods’ pieces are appreciated for their timeless design and excellent quality, both of which lend to the brand’s ambitions of creating fashionable heirlooms. Nicola says, “For SS16 I set myself the challenge of re-working my favourite signature prints from Beautiful Soul London’s Archive; embracing the movement towards ‘slow fashion’ and promoting the brands ethos that pieces are timeless and remain current season-after- season, which offers a more sustainable, slower fashion cycle.

Look 27 - Emi DressEmi dress in blossom pink

“I have named the collection, Patti Wilson after my mum. What is most precious about Beautiful Soul London pieces is that they transcend age and generations, lending themselves to the passing from mother to daughter, aunt to niece, or sister to sister. I thrive on challenge. It makes complete sense to challenge the ‘fast fashion’ system and with the launch of our new website, it’s time to show that we can do this without compromising style.”

The collection is now available online but can also be viewed during open days or by appointment in the brand’s Portobello Road studio where they offer unique way of experiencing a brand – through personal shopping service which includes meeting the designer Woods.

by Magda Pirowska