Donna Wilson + Smug, London Design Festival 2014

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Mark your calendars!
In addition to our Rainy Day Pop-Up Shop in BOXPARK over London Design Festival, you'll find Donna Wilson at Smug, a long-time friend and stockist in Islington's Camden Passage.  

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For LDF, Smug will be offering exclusive knitted fruits from Donna Wilson!
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Join us for Islington Design District's kickoff event at Smug, with the launch of exclusive products including Donna Wilson knitted fruit! Enjoy fruity cocktails from Kamm & Sons and delicious canap├ęs at Cafe Smug, and you can even have your fruit portrait drawn by illustrator Ruby Taylor!  

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For the opening event, an embroiderer from the Donna Wilson team will be at Smug to personalise your knitted fruit!
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Here are the details! 
SMUG, 13 Camden Passage, Islington, N1 8EA 
Closest tube station: Angel
Tuesday 16th September, 6:30 - 9:00pm

RSVP by emailing info@ifeelsmug.com.
We look forward to seeing you there! x



Donna Wilson Kidswear range for John Lewis!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Exciting news: Donna has finally designed her first collection of clothing for babies and kids for British department store John Lewis! Donna's lambswool cushions and homewares have been available at John Lewis for a number of years now, so the two brands knew they would be a perfect match for creating a fresh, new range together!

We are proud to have been included in the Telegraph just before the collection's launch in John Lewis stores. Click here to see the article, or you can read below!

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Children's notebook: practical clothes with homespun charm
by Daisy Bridgewater

It was really only a matter of time before the designer Donna Wilson turned her hand to childrenswear. Since launching in 2003, her company has had at its core a quirky, playful and deeply individualist aesthetic based around a menagerie of bizarre hand-knitted creatures, such as Cyril Squirrel-Fox, a bandana-wearing bear called Bibi, and the oddly proportioned Bruce Monkey. These characters and their friends already crop up across a range of vibrant, folksy homeware, poking fun at mealy-mouthed minimalism and reminding us that good design does not have to be beige. Now this anarchic glee is spreading into the children’s market, with a comprehensive range of clothes for babies up, developed in collaboration with John Lewis.

Wilson has a long history with the department store. ‘They were really supportive when I was relatively unknown,’ she tells me. When one of John Lewis’s childrenswear designers, Beatrice Lubega, contacted her last year to suggest they work on a children’s range together, the timing felt perfect. ‘I had recently had a baby [Eli is now 18 months] and had been focusing on how I wanted to dress him. I had a very clear idea about what I wanted – leggings, knitted jumpers, lots of colour, and nothing too gender-specific – and John Lewis had the expertise to turn it into a reality.’

 
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The resulting collection is a gleeful riot of colour and pattern. Many of her best-known characters and designs have made it into the range – bird feet, clouds and foxes abound – and others have been tweaked for the children's market. Colours are strong and unexpected: emerald green, mustard and dirty-pink knits mixed with monochrome-print cotton jersey with colour-pop patches and pockets. ‘It is lovely to see some of my designs in print,’ she says. ‘When I see the collection now, all ready to go in store, it makes me feel really happy. It feels fun.’

While much of the collection draws on her strong design staples, Wilson also looked to her own childhood for inspiration. ‘My mum was really into Clothkits [the densely patterned clothing kits launched in the late 1960s; clothkits.co.uk], and I will never forget the amazing quilted jackets with pockets for toys. I grew up on a farm in Scotland, and spent a lot of time outside, so I wanted the clothes to be easy to wear and easy to care for. My own son is going through a stage where all he wants to play with is mud and water, so I also know how important it is to be able to put things in the washing machine.’

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Avid childrenswear watchers might suggest that this is not the first time that we have seen birds and animals knitted into children’s jumpers or printed on to T-shirts. There has been a proliferation of homely, nostalgic designs finding their way back into a market once dominated by designer labels and their high-street imitations. But it was Wilson’s knowingly folksy homeware that spearheaded this move back to the homespun in the first place: look closely at her clever colour combinations and un-cutesy animals and you will see that she remains the master of her trade. That she has been shamelessly copied is not something that she wishes to dwell on. With prices ranging from £3 for a pair of socks to £25 for a colour-block dress, Donna Wilson for John Lewis is making a small stand for individualism at a pocket-friendly price. Invest in this collection, safe in the knowledge that this time you will be buying an original.
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Some additional thoughts from Donna: 

Much of Donna's thought process while designing the collection came from her own experiences as a new mum. After her son was born, Donna found herself making jumpers for him out of lambswool scraps and cushions in an effort to make unique clothing in styles she saw during her travels but could not find in the UK.

"I remember seeing a little Icelandic boy with leggings and a woolly jumper and he looked so cute that it really stuck with me. But when I started looking for leggings for boys I couldn't find any. Her collection for John Lewis reflect the qualities she herself seeks out when shopping for her son.

"I always look for something a little unusual for Eli. He wears a lot of hand-me-downs, so when I buy him things I want them to be really lovely pieces that I too can hand down! And I always go for colour. I don't really buy into the idea of 'blue for boys, pink for girls,' so I did my best to design the range for John Lewis in bright and fun colours, and to keep it quite flexible and unisex."

Donna's commitment to local and responsible manufacturing as embodied in her own collection of UK-made home furnishings is also maintained in this collection for John Lewis. Only suppliers based in Europe were used to produce the line.

"It means we can be sure everything is of the best quality and made in fair working conditions."



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The collection is available exclusively at John Lewis stores throughout the UK and here.

Donna Wilson's Rainy Day Pop-up Shop / London Design Festival

Monday, 11 August 2014

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Mark your calendars!
During London Design Festival this year we will open a week-long installation and pop-up shop at BOXPARK in Shoreditch London!

The space will be transformed into a Donna Wilson wonderland, featuring an overhead installation of hundreds of soft raindrops, murals and panels showcasing Donna Wilson's first ever collection of fabrics, a "selfie station," knitted creatures everywhere, and limited edition products made especially for London Design Festival. A special event will be held each day of the week at the Rainy Day Pop-Up Shop, including an ice cream party, a darning workshop, a film screening, an embroidery service, and a book signing with Donna.

Select products from Donna Wilson's new autumn/winter collections will be available, along with classic pieces from Donna's signature range.

Location
Donna Wilson's Rainy Day Pop-Up Shop
BOXPARK / Unit 26
2-10 Bethnal Green Road
London, E1 6GY
Click here for a map.

Dates and Opening Hours
Tuesday 16th Sept (11-7pm)
Wednesday 17th Sept (11-7pm)
Thursday 18th Sept (11-8pm)
Friday 19th Sept (11-7pm)
Saturday 20th Sept (11-7pm)
Sunday 21st Sept (12-6pm)

This event is part of the Shoreditch Design Triangle.
For more information please visit www.donnawilson.com and www.boxpark.co.uk, and check out our Facebook events page for updates and sneak peeks at special products and the installation! https://www.facebook.com/events/696543700399425/.

See you there!! x

Now in stock: Donna Wilson's first-ever collection of Fabric by the meter!

Monday, 4 August 2014


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Get your scissors, pins, and sewing machines out - 
Donna Wilson's first ever collection of fabrics by the meter is here!

Donna was inspired to design a range of fabrics in an effort to encourage people to be more creative and make things at home. 
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'Forest and Friends' is a collection of 10 fabric designs in two weights, cotton and heavy linen, featuring some of Donna's signature motifs: clouds, trees, lakes, and many other references to her childhood growing up on a farm in Aberdeenshire in the north east of Scotland.

The fresh and cheerful prints are perfect for making cushions, curtains, bedding, and even clothes!

In keeping with her commitment to support local manufacturing, all of the fabrics in the collection are printed in the historical silk town of Macclesfield in the UK.












August Giveaway + NY Now Tradeshow

Friday, 1 August 2014

Very exciting things are happening this month!

First, we are giving away our new Bear Cotton Printed Cushions to TWO lucky winners! For your chance to win one of these cushions, we'd like you to tell us what your favourite summer songs are. Leave a comment on the blog or email press@donnawilson.com and we'll pick our two winners at the end of the month! 

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In other news, we'll be in New York City later this month exhibiting at the NY NOW Tradeshow. We're so excited to be visiting the Big Apple, and we will be bringing Ginge along to visit the sights!  Photos of our visit to follow...

If you'll be attending NY NOW, this is where you'll find us:

Stand #4021 in Accent on Design
NY NOW
For more information about the show please visit http://nynow.com.

Location
The Jacob Javits Center - 655 West 34th Street, at Eleventh Ave, New York, NY 10001
View on GoogleMaps.

Dates & Hours:
Sunday Aug 17th - Tuesday Aug 19th (9am-6pm)
Wednesday Aug 20th (9am-2pm)

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We look forward to seeing our lovely stateside friends and stockists-- come by to say hello, check out all of our exciting new products, and get a copy of our newest catalogue and tote bag! 
We have been working very hard on our new collection and are excited to finally be able to show you all the new things!
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