Top Drawer On Demand will be open for all of the week ahead, rounding off a dark and wintery month with some much needed new product inspiration and an excellent content programme. Several hundred brands from the UK and wider world are participating in the event, with strong representations of gift, homeware, stationery and specialty food in the mix.
Pictured top: A beautiful shot of the Collingwood of Somerset range, created by sisters Alex and Tora Young. The brand produces luxury fragranced candles and match bottles, all handmade from sustainable materials in the UK.
As with the first digital event staged by Top Drawer last autumn, each day will feature a series of new product presentations given by different exhibitors.
Designed in Colour / British Colour Standard will kick start the product launch programme on Monday at 10.00, followed by The Tartan Blanket Company, Shepherd of Sweden, Liga, Forma House, Raine & Humble and Luks Linen. Similar product launches will continue throughout the week.
One company we are especially looking forward to seeing is WonkiWare (by Clayspoon) on Tuesday January 26 from 1.00pm, as it is such a lovely ceramics brand with each piece handmade in South Africa using a truly artisanal process.
We are also, as ever, on the look out for suppliers and products which adhere to a strong sustainable ethos and sound manufacturing techniques. One exhibitor we’ve seen that definitely fits the bill is family-based Cornish business, Liga, a strong champion of sustainable, organic and local living. Liga does as much UK manufacturing as possible and is committed to using sustainable materials in creative ways to make great eco-friendly products that are affordable for everyday living.
The Mackerel design on the cork mats, coasters and trays is a strong nod to Liga’s Cornish heritage, with Mackerel being native to Cornish waters. Another good range to look at is made from EVA plastic salvaged from the oceans, the perfect ethical addition to a dining or coffee table.
Looking to home textiles, the Tartan Blanket Co. is offering a lovely range made of recycled wool. The company says of their best-selling collection: “Thanks to its natural durability, wool is known for its long lifespan.
Fibres can bend up to 20,000 times before breaking (as a comparison, cotton can only bend 3,000 times). This got us thinking, how can we take advantage of this amazing feature, especially since recycling wool can be a challenge as the fibres are often too short to respin?
“Our solution is to blend recycled wool with longer mixed fibres saved from landfill to create a soft and durable yarn. Woven in a dense twill weave and brushed for texture, recycled wool gives you all the benefits of wool, in a sustainable blanket. What’s more, they’re even machine washable. Available in King Size, Full Size and Knee Size and across a variety of curated tartans.
Also catching our eye is Morgan Wright, the proud partners of beautiful Australian brand Raine & Humble in the UK and Europe, and distributors of gorgeous British brand ALSO Home.
The company says: “Together, we’re passionate about preserving as much of this beautiful planet as possible, taking inspiration from it for our colour palette and designs and increasing our efforts to minimise our waste and impact on the earth. We’re doing what we can to reduce our volume of single use plastics; we’ve switched to paper wraps to protect our lovely textiles in a more eco-friendly way.
“We only work with small manufacturers, not large corporations; this way we can really see and feel the impact of working and growing together with our makers. It also gives our products the small batch look and feel that we know our customers love. Whilst we have travelled the planet to find our makers, we’ve taken the time to create great relationships with them, using the wonderful world of Facetime to stay in touch throughout the development process, helping us to keep our carbon footprint from travel to a minimum.
Raine & Humble home interiors products feature hand drawn designs screen printed onto cotton and recycled cotton. Their style is laid back and simple with stylish prints which mix in beautifully with a wide variety of looks. Raine & Humble also has a beautiful fragrance range, with six natural fragrances, two sizes of soy wax candle and a reed diffuser. By integrating a recycled fabric initiative and saying no to plastic packaging, Raine & Humble minimises their carbon footprint at every turn. Guided by a dedication to philanthropic work for the marginalised in India, their business proactively supports the skilled craftspeople in their community, ensuring secure livelihoods for their families. Best selling ranges include their kitchen textiles and cushions.
Pictured above is a beautiful shot of the Collingwood of Somerset range, created by sisters Alex and Tora Young. The brand produces luxury fragranced candles and match bottles, all handmade from sustainable materials in the UK.
The Covid pandemic might be rumbling on, but as it stands, the Japanese government is insisting that the Tokyo Olympics will go ahead. Whether or not this proves to be the case, Japanese design will continue to have its time in the spotlight, as we already saw coming at Spring shows in 2020. Top Drawer On Demand presents a number of lovely-looking Japanese brands under the group banner, Essence of Japan.
The Essence of Japan showroom, operated by the Japan External Trade Organisation, incorporates 22 crafts companies from all over Japan. In Japan, passion for monozukuri, or the art of making things, is strong. Quality, sophistication and attention to detail are key elements in Japanese products, and highly skilled craftspeople abound in this small archipelago. Whether it’s leading-edge technology or age-old traditional handicrafts, Japanese makers strive for excellence.
Top Drawer is traditionally very strong in the stationery sector and once again we have spotted some fantastic greeting card, gift wrap and stationery publishers who can’t wait to show retailers their latest collections.
Pictured below is a series of demands by 30×40, a young stationery brand based in Frankfurt, Germany, which says: “Good illustrations are like good songs – they just never get old. They should bring joy, enhance your home and always inspire. This is what we stand for. We are passionate about printed goods: Re-discovering, re-editing, reconfiguring and mashing up a variety of zoological and botanical source material holds an ongoing fascination for us, that we are eager to share. Every product is printed proudly on fully recycled paper. We care for our climate and earth, which means no tree is cut down for the production of our products. Every 30×40 product is designed and made in Germany.”
The UK also has a rich homebase of design talent who keep our amazing greeting card market at the top of the world tree. Independent designer Lorna Syson founded her studio in 2009 and is now based in Rural Oxfordshire after seven years at Cockpit Arts, South East London. Her British native species of bird printed fabrics and wallpaper designs draw on her childhood in Warwickshire, holidays in Cornwall, and country walks with her dog, Jenkins, to create her uplifting nature-inspired patterns.
Also pictured below is a fabulous, fruity collection by Emma Benz, whose greetings cards are sized 6″ x 6″ (15 x 15cm) and available in packs of 6. Each card comes with a 100% recycled brown Kraft envelope. Part of the Modern Botanicals collection. ‘Berry Special’ has been taken from Emma’s original watercolour and gold leaf painting, created for the prestigious Art on a Postcard Summer Auction.
The charming minimalistic designs of OLA are created by Bristol-based designer, Katy Goutefangea, whose notebooks were grace the shop shelves of renowned museums and galleries, such as Tate and Barbican. Then we have a typically fabulous design from one of the UK’s favourite and longest-standing publishers of humourous cards, the one and only, Cath Tate.