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. 

 

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.

IMG_0699

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!

 

 

Now Stocked by Wear Eponymous

Just a quick post today to announce the great news that the full collection of linen ties are now being stocked by Wear Eponymous .

Wear Eponymous

Wear Eponymous brings,

“the cream of current design talent UK wide and beyond. This isn’t the place for fast fashion or disposable purchases, this is the destination for investment pieces, stand-out accessories and unique treats”

Take a look through their site if you are looking for ethically produced independent brands and if you are quick they are currently running a great competition to win a beautiful leather VVA handbag designed by Sarah Haran.

Next post on recent travels to Norway and the London Design Festival coming shortly…

The Journey of a Linen Tie

The Slow Food Movement has been an inspiration to many and knowing that we have superb textile mills in Scotland I was very keen to produce a product with similar credentials. Scroll down and see the faces behind the various stages of production of my new range of linen ties.

Twenty nine miles from Edinburgh lies a bespoke weavers, Peter Greig, which has been weaving from the same site since 1825. 

Stacking the Flax.

Stacking the Flax. Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Flax which is used in the production of linen used to be grown in Scotland and Ireland but as Angus Nicoll, Managing Director of Peter Greig explains, our climate is not as well suited as the Benelux countries.

“All the retting that used to happen in Scotland and Ireland was Water retted rather than the standard Dew Retting that is now the norm in the Benelux Countries. The problem with the Scottish and Irish climate is that through July and August we cannot rely on clear skies and warm weather. The climate in Holland, Belgium and France is far more reliable and so the flax straw can be turned daily in the fields and the Dew rets (rots) the straw off the outside of the plant as it is damp in the morning then dried during the day. With our inclement weather the rain comes solidly through all of July and August and the whole plant never dries in the field and as a result the whole plant goes black and rots”

So, the flax is now grown and spun into yarn in the drier European countries before being prepared and woven at Peter Greigs.

Linseed Pods. Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Linseed Pods.
Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

 

Warping the Yarn Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Warping the Yarn
Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Weaving in Progress. Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Weaving in Progress.
Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Weaving the Flax

Weaving the Flax

Inspecting the Cloth Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Inspecting the Cloth
Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

And meanwhile, I design the patterns for printing onto the linen from my studio in Edinburgh

Dreaming up my next textile design

Dreaming up my next textile design

Then the plain linen is delivered to sisters Solii and Zoe at BeFabBeCreative, a printing bureau in Edinburgh where they print my designs onto the Fife linen.

Solii Brodie at BeFabBeCreative

Solii Brodie at BeFabBeCreative

From here, I take the printed cloth to Nina Falk, Creative Director at Kalopsia Collective, Edinburgh who stitches the cloth into ties. Kalopsia search for industrial equipment that is no longer being used and save the pieces from being scrapped. They refurbish them and the machines are used in their micro manufacturing facility at Ocean Terminal. Zero Waste Scotland are supporting this venture as it is a great example of the merits of a circular economy.

Nina Falk, Creative Director at Kalopsia Collective

Nina Falk, Creative Director at Kalopsia Collective

Once the ties are stitched, I package them with the story behind the inspiration for each design and Edinburgh photographer, Abi Radford, photographs them.

Photographer Abi Radford and model Jo Radford.

Photographer Abi Radford and model Jo Radford.

The passionate Gordon Millar of Scot Street Style launched my collection of  ties during Tartan Week in Brooklyn, New York earlier this year and their Edinburgh launch was at Design Weekend at the The Fruitmarket Gallery in May.

I have been working on the concept of linen ties since January so having worked for the last seven months with the wonderful creative people I have introduced you to in this post, it gives me a huge amount of satisfaction seeing the finished product and importantly selling this locally produced tie to people who are searching for ethically produced textiles from Scotland. The ties have a distinct character and attitude (I like to refer to them as my bad boy ties!) and I’ve been told offer some good chic-geek vibes around the office (!) so mix up your wardrobe and add some Scottish linen or if you are fed up with ‘double denim’ go the full hog and start a movement for ‘triple linen’ 😉

Thank you everyone who have helped make and launch the ties and thank you to all those buying them too.

And there is a new design coming out at the end of this week, it’s a special summer tie called ‘Prufrock’, one to be worn with white flannel trousers to walk along the beach…any guesses where the inspiration for this ones lies?

Design Market at The Fruitmarket Gallery Opens Tonight

29–31 May 2015

Launch Friday 29 May, 5–9pm

EDUCATION FLYER (New)

Featuring:  A Pair of Blue Eyes – Jenni Douglas; BertyB; Bon Tot; Catherine Aitken; Couple of Ideas; Cyan Clayworks; Edinburgh Contemporary Crafts; Eileen Gatt; Emma Noble; Fiona Daly; Fiona Luing; Genevieve Ryan; Gráinne Broderick Jewellery; Heather Margaret Grace; Jacqueline Bell Jewellery; Jessica Howarth Jewellery; Julia Smith Ceramics; K//M//J//C Designs; Lara Scobie; The Lindstrom Effect; Lisa Arnott; Lucia Castillo; Lucky Cloud Skincare; Lucy McLeod; Mairi Brown, Mhairi Braden; Michaelson; Mrs Booth; Myer Halliday; Nicole Scott; Niki Fulton – unifiedspace; Peony Gent; PickOne; Quilts By Lisa Watson; Rapa Nui; Rebecca Sarah Black; Sarah Diver Lang; Scarlett Erskine Jewellery; Susan Castillo; Tessuti; Ursula Cheng; Victoria Meacham; Workhorse Press; Zyzanna Illustration & Design.

'Blue Jotter' Fife Linen Tie Available from Design Market, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh.

‘Blue Jotter’ Tie designed by Niki Fulton. Available from Design Market, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh. Photo Abi Radford.

Please come along tonight to see a great variety of makers from across many disciplines. Also launching tonight is the Edinburgh Craft and Design Map – a handy tool for tracking down excellent design in the capital after DesignMarket comes to a close.

Hope to see you there!

Ties Launching at NYTartan Week

I am happy to report that Edinburgh is most certainly riding a creative wave. Being an 80:20 kind of person (specialising in almost ‘getting there’ but often not being able to see the wood for the trees for the last 20% of a project) I have discovered that collaborations are most definitely the way to go.

'Chalk' print on linen designed by Niki Fulton available from Printed and Co

‘Chalk’ print on linen designed by Niki Fulton available from Printed and Co

I met sisters Solii and Zoe Brodie from BeFabBeCreative fabric print bureau in Edinburgh over a year ago and they have proven to be the catalyst for turning my designs and aspirations into physical products. They print my patterns onto a variety of natural fabrics (locally sourced Fife linen being one of my favourites) in the most astoundingly efficient manner. They also own Printed and Co, a carefully curated collection of textile designs stemming from ten U.K based designers, of which I am delighted to be one. Customers can purchase lengths of any of the designs on any of their fabrics allowing the patterns to be used in dressmaking or interiors. Wonderful flexibility and it is all printed to order so no waste either.

'Pear Drops Tan' on linen designed by Niki Fulton. Available from Printed and Co

‘Pear Drops Tan’ on linen designed by Niki Fulton. Available from Printed and Co

So I have a smooth and enjoyable means to produce textile designs but I also wanted to manufacture products. Enter Nina, a Swede living in Edinburgh with an armful of design related Degrees, a Swedish fashion label behind her and honed seamstress skills.

Botanical DNA and Falling Apples available from Printed and Co

Botanical DNA and Falling Apples available from Printed and Co

She is the Creative Director at Kalopsia Collective, an agency that works with textiles from concept to manufacture. Nina knows what I am describing before I even reach the end of my sentence so our collaboration is working like clockwork and I now have silk scarfs, linen make up bags, mens ties (more on that in a sec) and some silk tops in my range, some of which are available from my Etsy Shop (more being listed very soon).

'Chalk' on silk. Designed by Niki Fulton. Available per metre from Printed and Co

‘Chalk’ on silk. Designed by Niki Fulton. Available per metre from Printed and Co

 

'Lines' on silk designed by Niki Fulton. Available per metre from Printed and Co

‘Lines’ on silk designed by Niki Fulton. Available per metre from Printed and Co

But my biggest focus is currently on a niche market, a micro market I suppose. On a trip to Rome last October, I was searching for a replacement watch strap. I popped into a shop selling leather luggage and asked them if they sold watch straps. The manager literally took a step backwards and looked at me square on and said, ‘No! I sell luggage!’ My stupidity seemed to offend him but when I looked rather sheepish he softened his voice and said, ‘you need to visit Marco‘ and directed me to a tiny slim shop with a wise old man sitting under a vintage task light replacing watch straps. Attached to the wall were literally hundreds of shades and widths of beautiful watch straps and of course I found the perfect strap. Mission accomplished. I doubt if anyone would go to that shop and not find precisely what they were looking for. It was therefore very well known and a ‘go to’ destination – nobody would even think to waste their time shopping around. Job done.

With this new mind set I asked where I could buy a pair of leather gloves for my friends 50th birthday, Sergio di Cori, Piazza di Spagna of course. Again, every conceivable colour and length of leather glove were there displayed on beautiful panelled walls. They sold nothing else. Don’t complicate the process, they sell gloves, brilliantly.

So I finally reach the point in telling you this tale. I want to sell linen ties. Linen I hear you say. Yes linen, not silk. I want to design ties less ‘officey’  than silk which will convey more individuality and hopefully more spirit. Laid back formal. I want a ‘Slow Food Movement’ kind of tie. In other words I want a tie that is designed, made and stitched locally on locally sourced linen. Designs that have slowly been forming over, in my case, many years. And this is what I’ve been working on and by the end of this week, six patterns will be finished and be safely delivered into the hands of Scot Street Style who is kindly launching them in New York City during New York Tartan Week. My ties are not tartan in case you were wondering but Tartan Week celebrates all kinds of Scottish business and I am thrilled to have them represented there.

Linen Ties designed by Niki Fulton

Linen Ties designed by Niki Fulton

Below are other bolts of fabric waiting to be made into ties – cloth is cut on the diagonal for ties so these designs will look quite different when they are made up.

So more on the tie development soon and look out for NYTartan Week pictures on Facebook and Twitter.

Do you go to a specialist ‘go to’ shop for anything? 

 

'Eclipse' print designed by Niki Fulton

‘Eclipse’ print designed by Niki Fulton

Richter Red designed by Niki Fulton

‘Richter Red’ print designed by Niki Fulton (as in Richter magnitude scale)

'Cog' print designed by Niki Fulton.  A new take on pinstripe.

‘Cog’ print designed by Niki Fulton. A new take on pinstripe.