DCA Crafted & SWG3 HYPERMARKET This Weekend + a Hamper of Designer Goods To be Won!

Would you like to buy Christmas presents directly from Makers and Designers? If so there are lots of opportunities to meet makers and designers from across several disciplines this weekend!

Dundee

We will be popping up along with around 30 other makers from 12 – 5pm Saturday 2nd December 2017 at DCA’s annual Christmas Crafted event. Sneak previews from several makers can be seen by searching #DCAcrafted across various social media channels.

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Glasgow

On Sunday 3rd December 2017, 12 – 6pm we will be popping up at SWG3 HYPERMARKET curated by Trakke.  #SWG3HYPERMARKET

Trakke sure know how to organise a good event – cocktails, street food, music and a lot a great design. Sounds like Christmas sorted if you ask me!

There is also a fabulous hamper of goods from the designers to be won worth £725 – enter here for your chance to win!

Good luck and drop by to say hi if you can!

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SWG3 HYPERMARKET event

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Exhibiting at Best of Britannia

Just a quick note to say I will be exhibiting at Best of Britannia this Thursday 12th & Friday 13th October 2017 at The Old Trewman Brewery, Brick Lane, London.

BBD Logo Generic HR Generic

“Best of Britannia is an uplifting and inspirational retail and events platform for the growing number of people looking to purchase high quality products, made right here in Britain by people who take great pride in making things beautifully.

BOB is at the vanguard of a UK-wide phenomenon, as the manufacturing skills that were the foundation of Britain’s past prosperity undergo an extraordinary renaissance. From the Scottish Highlands to the South Downs, from Norwich to Penzance, we are witnessing the re-birth of the well-made object – the high-quality artefact, produced here by people who have honed their skills over generations. Craftsmen and women, artisans, designers and manufacturers have been curated and united here at BOB – we want to sell to the world the products from the men and women who have devoted themselves to their creation”

If you are in London, please drop by U Block Stand 24 to say hi and see the brand new collection of silk ties!

Tickets are free and are available from Evenbrite

The Fruitmarket Gallery #DesignMarket 9th -11th June 2017

Delighted to be back for the third year running at the Fruitmarket Gallery Design Market which previews tomorrow, Friday 9th June at 5pm. New work, promotions (and of course a few beverages) will be served at the opening so please join us if you can!

…and remember, the fabulous Milk Cafe will be open with its delicious seasonal lunches and cakes over the weekend.

DM2017_FTP.pdf

DM2017_FTP.pdf

Local Heroes Design Boutique at G&V Hotel – and a Competition!

An exciting commission came in this month when Dr.Stacey Hunter, curator and director of Local Heroes Design invited me to take part in her Love Design project. The theme was ‘modern elegance’ with a colour palette inspired by 1930’s Miami.

I was to design a collection of linen union ties and bowties,  (I was inspired by two iconic Miami buildings – more on that below). Jeweller Euan McWhirter designed a stack of bracelets made from interwoven gemstones and crystalline Swarovski shapes, Karen Mabon a silk pocket square which gentlemen can fold into a jacket pocket while ladies can wear around the neck as a gavroche in the Parisian style. Emma McDowall created a pastel concrete coin dish and vase to reflect the designer’s interest in colour and material play and Moira Warren of Patience Jewellery created diamond and lemon quartz drop earrings designed to convert from stud to elegant drop.

Local Heroes Competition

Local Heroes Design Love Design Project designers

Left to right: Moira Warren, Niki Fulton, Karen Mabon, Euan McWhirter, Emma McDowall. Photo by Ross Fraser McLean.

The showcase is on display until the end of February at the five star G&V Hotel on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, and by the way, the hotel has a stunning interior which has just been designed by Graven Images design studio…and also has rather a good cocktail bar, The Epicurian. 

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Love Design showcase G&V Hotel

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Ties & bowties for Love Design, Local Heroes Design

The Freedom bowtie (top right) is a print inspired by the iconic Freedom Tower in Miami, which was completed in 1925. I enjoyed thinking about this buildings purpose over time – originally as a printing facility then as a centre for helping Cuban refugees and now as a museum and cultural education centre. The tower is tall and linear and its sandy yellow facade is broken up by many windows. The blue in the design is to represent the blue waters of the adjacent Biscayne sea.

Lovewell Tie

Lovewell Tie

The Lovewell print has been inspired by the iconic Miami Post Office designed by architect Howard Lovewell Cheney  completed in 1937. The pale pink rotunda with prominent cupola of the post office offset by the green lawns is what initiated the circular design and pale colour palette. The tie has a wedding vibe to it…another reason I called it the Lovewell.

Anyway, more importantly, the details for the competition!

 

Local Heroes Competition

Pop into G&V Royal Mile Hotel at 1 George IV Bridge to win one of 5 Scottish design objects. To enter, tag your Instagram photo with #GandVlovedesign and follow @gandvhotel or @epicurean_bar before the end of February.

G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh will pick five lucky winners who will each receive one of the prizes listed below.

PRIZES

Miami Signal Tie by Niki Fulton

Silk Pocket Square by Karen Mabon

Concrete Vase by Emma McDowall

Concrete Coin Dish by Emma McDowall

Rope Bracelet by Euan McWhirter

 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

  • Entrants can apply if already following @gandvhotel or @epicurean_bar on Instagram
  • Entrants can enter competition multiple times
  • To enter competition users have to follow @gandvhotel or @epicurean_bar on Instagram (or already be following), tag their photo with @gandvhotel or @epicurean_bar and use hashtag #GandVlovedesign
  • Winners will be notified through Instagram
  • G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh retain the right to amend or change the competition at any time
  • Winner will recieve one of 5 stated prizes (Subject to availability and change at G&V’s discretion).
  • Winners are required to provide a valid address for delivery of prize
  • Winners to be chosen by G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh Social Media Department
  • Competition to run between 10 and 28 February 2017
  • By entering the G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh photo competition you give us permission to distribute your image across any other G&V Marketing channel
  • Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of winning

The Route I Took

Someone asked me a question this week which I couldn’t answer. Well, I could but it would have taken too long. It was a good question and the answer might be useful to some.

So I was telling her about a travel grant I was awarded last month by Cultural Enterprise Office  (CEO) to visit three Paris Trade Shows. It was a modest grant, just enough for a budget air fair, metro ticket and the entry cost for the shows. The question she asked was, ‘how did you get this grant?’

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Premiere Classe and Who’s Next Trade Shows

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Tranoi Trade Show, Paris.

Warning…it’s a long answer… it’s taken 51 years i.e my lifetime (!) My career has grown organically because I’ve squished it, dropped it and reformed it to wrap around my own circumstances. So this post outlines my long way round route to the grant. I hope it doesn’t read like a cv, that’s not the intention, but it may be helpful to see the steps I took as I know a lot of people are either having or wanting to have a refreshing late career.

I’ve always been (and have written previous posts about this) of the belief that the very early years are extremely influential in later life. I think the toys we constantly handled as toddlers, the prints our parents wore, the textures of wall coverings, blankets and textiles that surrounded us all seep into our souls. I’m also certain the obsession British childrens TV had in the late ’60’s early ’70’s on visiting the insides of factories (remember the milk bottling one….) laid the foundations of my utter fascination with manufacturing…and to my absolute joy took me to a paint factory, Tikkurila in Helsinki with my job decades later.

1960s

Mum in a bold print and our house mid 1960’s

Mum had been working in The Denmark Room, a place in central Edinburgh which served smørrebrøds, Carlsberg and sold Danish homewares while Dad although a genetic scientist, enjoyed making things and the copper light (top right) is something I still love decades later. Their friends mainly consisted of Edinburgh College of Art graduates so the house always had pictures hanging. Looking at the photos now I can say firstly that Mum still has, and uses virtually everything in them and secondly, I know the things so intimately I could describe them in great detail with my eyes shut. I would like to say my current designs have been influenced by this environment and believe that is Part One of the long journey towards the travel grant.

Part Two, fast track to university. I studied geography. Whats that got to do with design you may ask? Quite a lot in an odd way. Geography is observation, people, process and  pattern and that’s exactly what I’m doing now, making patterns from observations.

Part Three – jobs. For many years I worked for Inhouse, a company with inspiring showrooms in Edinburgh and Glasgow displaying contemporary furniture, lighting and accessories – this was the 1980’s before modern design became mainstream and I was trained under the watchful eye of the late architect Bill Potter and his wife Sylvia. They taught me everything I know about contemporary designers and it’s where my obsession with Italian designer Achille Castiglioni’s started (and continues). I was also working for The Open Eye Gallery, which specialises in contemporary Scottish art so I was absorbing design and colour every day at work. Fast track several more years and I was working for a paint company designing colour palettes for their interior range…by this time, colour was the ‘thing’ that motivated me.

Part Four, I set up on my own. At this point, my story may become useful to you as its tells you who helped me on my way. However, I have written about this part in previous posts so I will be very brief.

In 2015, I launched my first mens ties after being encouraged to print textiles by Solii Brodie of BeFab Be Creative. Gordon Miller of Scot Street Style was very supportive and took the collection over to New York to officially launch in Brooklyn during Tartan Week – he did this for no financial gain to himself, he just believed in the product and was proud to show America contemporary Scottish design.

Then I was introduced to Creative Edinburgh ,‘a network of creatives in Edinburgh, committed to advancing the value and impact of creativity, both locally and internationally’. They helped me connect to others working in similar fields. They encouraged me to take part in The Fruitmarket Gallery Design Market which helped me reach out to a very receptive local audience and is also where I met  an executive from Scottish Enterprise who gave me lots of useful links. After that Craft Scotland invited me to take part in their 2016 Edinburgh Festival Summer Show, again, widening my reach. Scotland Re:Designed then invited me to design a new print celebrating the iconic Paisley Pattern and exhibit at their Paisley Make event. At Paisley Make I was told about Cultural Enterprise Office and I enrolled to receive free mentoring. They strongly suggested I improve my social media (arg, still working on that), build a better website – I’ve done that, it’s now branded Niki Fulton rather than my company name ‘unifiedspace’ and to prepare my range for export – which finally gets me to the point…this is why they gave me the travel grant. The reasoning is that if my brand does well, I shall eventually employ people and if I start to export, well that’s obviously good too. When they awarded the grant, they knew I had been invited by Charlotte Abrahams to exhibit in the Spotted area of Top Drawer, a London Trade Show in January 2017 (something Craft Scotland had encouraged me to do). So what I’m keen to explain is that in this time of austerity, it may seem a little feckless to be sent over to Paris on a grant. But, the award is very carefully thought through and CEO have calculated that it might be worthwhile not just for me but for others too if I can get the brand to take off.

I did warn you it’s a long answer, you may have even forgotten the question by now, (how did I qualify for a CEO grant)  but I felt it was maybe useful for others to see the huge list of people and organisations that have really helped me get to this point. As I said it has been a slow organic build and the more conventional way would be by doing a related degree, textiles for instance, and building your business up much quicker. However my design knowledge has been the 10,000 hour route rather than the Art College route so it has taken a lot longer. I hope I can prove CEO right and do well abroad, I will certain try my hardest. And on that positive note, there is an exciting project opening tomorrow, more on that next time and thank you, if you have, for reaching the end of this post!

 

Top Drawer, London SS17 ‘Spotted’ Section Stand SP55

If you are in London next week it would be fantastic to see you – I will be exhibiting at Top Drawer , Olympia from Sunday 15th – Tuesday 17th January in the Spotted section, stand SP55 – please drop by if you can! It is a trade only show and you can register here.

Top Drawer, London SS17

Highlights include BBC2’s Great Pottery Throw Down judge, Keith Brymer Jones who will be throwing pots to a live audience and keynote speakers include Leanne Manfredi from the V&A, Lucy Lines from John Lewis, Bethan Williams-James from Liberty, Sally Bendelow from notonthehighstreet.com and Rebecca Hossain from the Design Museum.

There is also an eco product trail, a GB product trail (which includes my stand, named Niki Fulton), trend tracking fashion shows and loads more too – so wear your trainers, you could notch up several miles!

Like many other exhibitors, I will be launching several new pieces, including the Eclipse print now available in blue plus a brand new collection of bow-ties , both linen and silk pocket squares plus scarves, both silk and wool.

Blue Eclipse Linen Tie by Niki Fulton

Blue Eclipse Linen Tie

Fennel Tangle Linen Bow-tie by Niki Fulton

Fennel Tangle Linen Bow- Tie

Pink Fennel Silk Pocket Square by Niki Fulton

Pink Fennel Silk Pocket Square

Eclipse Linen Pocket Square

Eclipse Linen Pocket Square

…and if you are thinking it’s odd to have graphic prints (Eclipse) and floral prints (Fennel Tangle) in one collection , I have to confess that there are also stripes, abstract and painterly prints (and many colours) …some days I feel very bold and graphic and others lighter and painterly, don’t ask me why, it’s just the way I work so the ‘collection’ is pretty varied but then who wants to wear the same kind of look day in day out 😉

New website – nikifulton.com

If you are still opening my occasional blog post, thank you very much indeed. I’ve found recently that as we all cram more and more information and images into our busy heads, most people crave shorter, snappier posts which is why I am more active on Instagram these days. However, sometimes it is still useful to have a space for slightly longer stories which is why I keep this blog going.

red & grey

It is still very simple colour combos that motivates me to design.

There have been lots of changes at my end which is why the blog has become a bit sparse of late. I’ve been receiving great business mentoring from the Cultural Enterprise Office and Creative Edinburgh and both bodies were keen for me to work under my own name Niki Fulton . So although my registered company remains as unifiedspace (as I still get involved in some interiors projects), my neckware apparel is now all branded under niki fulton and to celebrate the launch of the new website , I’m joining the big guys with a Black Friday cyber weekend with the code BlackFriday2016 for a 20% discount (apologies in delay in getting this post out :/ )

Black Friday on Nikifulton.com

BlackFriday2016 code will give you 20% discount on nikifulton.com until Monday 28th November.

I am also launching several new products and prints at Top Drawer at London’s Olympia in January. Each year, Charlotte Abrahams (author of the book, Hygge, which celebrates life’s simple pleasures) curates a section of the show called ‘Spotted’ and she has kindly invited me into this area – a great opportunity to meet many key retail buyers attending the show.

Top Drawer London

I will be in Spotted Section, Stand 55, please drop by!

The ties are now printed on 100% Irish linen – I’m very happy about the cloth – it has taken a lot of testing to find the perfect linen (so special is this cloth that the mill is actually weaving it specially for the ties). It must be the right surface for the reactive inks to print on to and it has to slide enough to tie a beautiful knot but still remain matt and characterful. It also has to remain in shape (linen can be quite stretchy) but that’s where the tie construction comes in. They are now made by one of Britain oldest tie makers and with a special and rather ingenious slip stitch, the ties will keep their shape. It has been a journey, but worth it, I hope you will agree.

Eclipse linen tie designed by Niki Fulton

‘Eclipse’ 100% Irish linen tie designed by Niki Fulton. Made in Great Britain.

Also joining the range are linen bowties – I’ve been asked so many times for bowties, so they are on the way very soon (possibly even just before Christmas) and silk pocket squares.

The prices reflect the way they are made – high quality fabric, specialist printing and construction and hand finished (oh, and the ties are all ‘self tipped’…but perhaps I’m getting a bit tie geeky now and I should just let you see them and hopefully they will speak for themselves). I hope you will view all the garments in the range as special considered purchases, something that you might keep and pass down the generations.

I’m also happy to report (*boastful alert* – apologies in advance) that the ties have been spotted being worn by guests on BBC television programmes (twice) and if you are into celeb spotting, all I can say is I have two high profile men out there, one wearing a Breton Signal and the other a Prufrock. In fact the Italian celeb said he had  ‘given up wearing ties but the Breton Signal tie has changed his mind’. Okay, enough of this inflated ego talk, I guess I just wanted to justify working in a very niche and probably shrinking sector of apparel.

Still lots to say – I will post again soon about some upcoming Christmas events.

Thanks for reading, let me know what you are up to.

Do you still wear ties and if so for what kind of occasion – every day or just limited to very special occasions such as weddings? It would be great to hear from you. 

 

‘Paisley Make’ with Scotland Re:Designed for Paisley 2021

Did you know that the town of Paisley is entering the bid to become UK City of Culture 2021? Despite having lived in Scotland all my life, I had never, until yesterday ever been to Paisley – only ninety minutes from my home in Edinburgh (and around fifteen minutes by train from Glasgow). And this is what I found. Pretty impressive, yes?

Paisley

Paisley Abbey and Town Hall.

You will however, like me, be familiar with Paisley Pattern and as Dan Coughlan, Paisley Pattern Shawl Curator at Paisley Museum said, “during the 18th and 19th centuries, Paisley was one of the leading towns in Europe for the manufacture of high quality fashion fabrics…and much of the legacy of this great textile tradition is now preserved in Paisley Museum“. In fact the museums textile collection holds “what is thought to be the largest collection of shawls in the world, together with many pattern books containing an enormous variety of original Paisley designs”. 

Cotton Street

Street names reflecting Paisley’s textile heritage

So, a town famed for its patterns (not to mention the incredible history associated with its Abbey which was founded in 1163) asked Scotland Re:Designed to curate an exhibition showcasing contemporary Scottish textile designers as part of Paisley Make , a festival celebrating its pattern heritage under the umbrella of the Paisley 2021 bid.

When I was invited to be part of the showcase, I have to admit, I was more than delighted. I immediately researched the history of Paisley Pattern and looked at several examples of the print. I could see that over the decades, Paisley Pattern had inspired swathes of designers and there are literally millions of examples from across the world – lush and supremely detailed forms of Paisley to simplified and psychedelic examples from the 1960’s to contemporary companies such a Sweden’s Happy Socks who are still celebrating the lure of the Paisley Pattern.

Paisley

Paisley Knits for the Cloisters at Paisley Abbey by Dyane Lanez of Tout Petit

If you know the kind of patterns I normally design, you will know that Paisley Print is miles from my usual stable. However, a pattern has emerged from this whole Paisley project and is currently being printed by the BeFabBeCreative sisters in Leith, Edinburgh. Warning though…you will not look at it and say, ‘Paisley Print’!  – it is a heavily distilled unifiedspace version of Paisley Pattern – images coming soon 🙂

So back to Paisley Make and the pattern showcase which runs until Saturday 3rd September in Paisley Abbey. Work from twenty seven designers is on display and there are talks by speakers such as the enviable and effervescent Penny Martin, Editor in Chief of The Gentlewoman magazine.

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Fashion bloggers at Paisley Make

Penny Martin

Penny Martin of The Gentlewoman magazine talking about the magazine’s creation.

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unifiedspace stand at Paisley Make. Picture of ‘Fennel Tangle’ wool scarf.

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unifiedspace at Paisley Make

So if you would like to see some beautiful Paisley lace from the legendary Scottish lace mill MYB Textiles or a very contemporary collection from emerging designers from The Fashion Foundry or indeed patterns and prints from any of the other twenty seven designers, I would urge you to take a trip into the magnificent Paisley Abbey before 4pm this Saturday – I certainly wish I hadn’t left it this long before visiting the Abbey.

Good luck Paisley 2021 in your bid and thank you for asking me to show my prints in such an important textile town.

Craft Scotland, Edinburgh Summer Show

You don’t need me to point out how many events are on just now in the Edinburgh Fringe and Edinburgh International Festival – but I will anyway – over 30,000 Fringe performances alone – it’s the biggest arts festival in the world.  And in Venue 205, Craft Scotland occupies the 2nd floor of White Stuff ,89 George Street, Edinburgh until Sunday 28th August 2016.

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Work by Clod & Pebble, Hilary Grant Knitwear, Warped Textiles, Clare Dawdry.

Thirty one Scottish makers – potters, textile designers, jewellers and furniture makers – were selected to be part of this years Summer Show, unifiedspace being one of them. So I took the opportunity of launching some brand new designs for scarves and ties, discussed in more detail in this interview.

Breton Signal

‘Breton Signal’ 100% Irish Linen Tie & Pocket Square.

I’ve added 100% Irish Linen ties to the range. I’m still producing the original Fife linen union ties (available from Urban Reivers Festival Shop on George Street) but I’ve been asked for slightly more formal ties and the finer texture of the Irish linen achieves a fairly polished look – don’t worry, the ties are not going all corporate in nature, the prints are anything but!

There are 100% silk scarves in the same print – just in case you want to go out ‘matching’?! I’ve also added some gender neutral skinny scarves/cravats, silk squares and gauzy wool and cashmere blends for the Autumn.

scarf Night Hatching 3

‘Night Hatching’ 100% Silk Scarf

Love You, designed by Niki Fulton

‘Love You’ Wool & Cashmere blend scarf

If you would like to hear a little more behind the scenes chat at unifiedspace HQ, Creative Edinburgh kindly arranged for filmmaker David P Scott to shoot this short vimeo.

You might hear in the film I mention a new bespoke service. More about that soon but essentially, it’s about commissioning your own print/pattern – one which reflects your story, your colours, your life – a modern portrait if you like, and one that can be worn.

Also, lots happening next week too so another post will follow very soon regarding the run up to the Paisley 2021 City of Culture bid.

Meanwhile, enjoy the final week of the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe and please pop into the Craft Scotland Edinburgh Summer Show if you can – there’s a special late night opening this Thursday 25th August and I believe even some goodie bags are to be had!

 

 

The Fruitmarket Gallery Design Market

If you are in Edinburgh this weekend it would be great to see you at The Fruitmarket Gallery Design Market which will be running from Friday 10th, (Preview 5-9pm) Saturday 11th, 10am-6pm & Sunday 12th, 10am-5pm. Around 40 independent makers and designers will be showing and selling their work.

silk scarf

‘Love You’ Silk Scarf

 

I’ve been experimenting with some new prints and will be assessing which designs to take forward to the Craft Scotland Summer Show during the  Edinburgh Fringe Festival so I will have several promotions on over the weekend to hopefully encourage feedback.

silk scarf

‘Eden’ Silk Scarf

Most designers bring out a cohesive ‘collection’ each season but because of the way I work, my prints are fairly discordant – you have been warned!

The way it works for me, perhaps you are the same (please let me know, I’m really interested) is that when I am least expecting it (usually when I am about to drop off to sleep), a fully formed image falls into my mind. The next day I go about recreating this image – an image that seemed to appear from nowhere. The ‘mysterious’ image however, can easily be traced back directly to an experience. So as we all have many experiences in life, the ‘pot’ to draw from is pretty extensive (hence the diverse prints). So that’s why, for me anyway, it’s imperative to get out as much as possible and explore because every time I do, my mind is busy in the background drawing from the experience and creating the next print.

So that’s the process or perhaps an explanation.

silk scarf

‘Breton Signal’ Silk Scarf. Photo by Abi Radford

 

The prints are unisex (can a pattern be gender specific anyway?!) so you will see prints on both silk scarves and on linen neck ties.

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‘Eden’ Linen Tie

I will also be bringing a new product – long wool and cashmere open weave scarves – only a few – so if you would like one, please be quick.

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‘Fennel Tangle’ Wool & Cashmere Scarf. Photo by Abi Radford.

Another new product is the wool ‘Charger Pouch’. Ok, yes, I know, that’s a bit specific and they can be used for other purposes too – coins, lens caps, lipstick, jewellery bag – but I find them especially useful while travelling. Having a brightly coloured soft wool pouch to pack my phone charger in (I can’t be the only one who fuddles about in my bag searching for said charger, can I?) is of great comfort. They are designed for the minimalist at heart who craves a block of tactile colour and has a very guilty secret pleasure (sssh, I won’t spill the beans on you but they have a patterned lining – linen off cuts from the ties to be precise, we don’t like to waste at unifiedspace).

wool and linen pouches

Wool (and linen) Charger Pouches

So new prints, new products and many other designers all housed in the Fruitmarket Gallery which of course is also home to Milk Cafe . It would be great to see you this weekend! (10th – 12th June 2016)

If you have a sec, can you tell me what your favourite colour to wear is please?