I’ve been feeling a great deal of nostalgia for London lately. With the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee fast approaching, I’ve experienced a huge surge of pride over my homeland, leading me to search for new and exciting designers from the capital. Recently I became aware of Emma Louise London, a womenswear label specialising in print, whose spring 2012 collection has accents of the capital running throughout. Along with a homage to the Olympics, Emma Louise gives a playful nod to writer Charles Dickens: “One top from the collection adorns the famous quote ‘please sir I want some more’ a tribute to Charles Dickens whose 200th birthday would have been in February this year,” she tells me. My personal favourite from the collection is the skyline dress, a delightful mini created in pale turquoise with a regal red London skyline popping up from the hemline.
Designer Emma Louise followed up her degree in Fashion Design at DeMontford University with placements at Alexander McQueen and Olivia Rubin, another designer well known for her signature graphic prints. Emma reflected; “When I joined Olivia Rubin she was near the beginning of her career and in the position I am now - a small label, making everything in house and creeping into the industry.” Emma described to me a wonderful learning experience with Rubin, including the designer’s very first show with On/Off at London Fashion Week: “I got to see the development of a designer collection from start to finish. Every day was a learning curve”. McQueen was also an important and unforgettable experience for Emma Louise. Working within the mainline womenswear production team where there was a constant stream of work, she explained, “It made me realise that no matter how established a company in this industry gets, it does not get easier.”
Emma Louise’s love of prints stems from her love of art and understanding how a mix of colour and shapes can create something unique. She described her designs to me as “quirky and whimsical”, however ultimately very wearable: “I don’t necessarily create the most outrageous silhouettes, in fact I keep my collections quite wearable but use them as a canvas to experiment with print".
Whilst the spring collection focuses on London, autumn winter 2012 includes prints inspired by a recent trip Emma Louise made to Kenya. During this trip she also completed a 400km charity cycle ride, a demonstration of the hugely adventurous side to her personality - Emma Louise also took time out to travel the world before starting her own label. She told me, “As well shaping me as a person travelling has exposed me to the creativity within other cultures which can be found within my designs.” She continued: “When I returned from travelling I went back to scribbling and designing to pass time while searching for jobs. This is when I figured that although it would be very daunting setting up my own business within this competitive industry, I was willing to take a chance for something that I enjoyed so much”.