Archive for November, 2011

Jan Constantine Adds a Hand Embroided Future Heirloom to the Prize Fund!

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Future heirloom Jan Constantine's "Love" cushion

Jan Constantine, an exquisite textiles and home accessories brand based in Cheshire, have added their Wool "Love" Cushion (which normally retails at £66.50) to the Great British Competition prize fund. All of Jan Constantine's British collections are made using "ancient hands-on, embroidery skills of local artisans", and continue the use of traditional textile methods. Her designs have found their way into Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty's.

To be in with a chance of winning Jan Constantine's "Love" cushion and many other Great British Prizes enter the competition at:

British Company Runaway Coast kindly donate to our Great British Christmas Competition

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Runaway Coast was launched in May 2009.
We support British Industry.
We design and make the majority of our products in the UK.
All our designs are exclusive to Runaway Coast.

We are happy to donate our original giant cushion  to The Great British Christmas Competition, now with the beautiful Union Jack, it has quickly become the must-have accessory for the home.

Guess how many buttons are in the jar to be in with a chance of winning – there also lots of other gifts for friends and family

Winner takes all!! see our facebook page for current list of prizes – it is a growing prize draw….

Original Giant Cushion From Runaway Coast

Royal weddings, Olympics and the Queens Golden Jubilee, it seems there has never been a better time to support British industry. As the majority of our products are hand made in England, we are proud to say this product is 100% British made, from the inner pad, its design heritage, hand made in British factories, and then hand wrapped and hand delivered to you.

Each cushion measures 150 x 150cm, has a zip removable cover made from 100% cotton drill and with its solid navy base, it makes it ideal for use outdoors as well as in.

We also have lots of other fabulous items for the home please visit to see our full range.


Elliot Rhodes opens their third store and talks to Independent Boutique

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

How do you describe to people what you do and your design style?

I tell them that I am a custom belt and buckle designer...then when they look at me quizzically I explain the whole Elliot Rhodes concept! My design style is one based around presenting a palette of different colours, textures and concepts that can be played with, mixed and matched to create a style that is individual to each consumer. I do not want to tell people what to wear, I want them to help them discover their own individuality and to express this through their belt.

I see no limitation as to where we can take belt and buckle design – each day brings the opportunity to experiment and redefine traditional ideas.

What sort of comments do you get about your designs?

We’re often described as a candy shop for grown-ups. When people discover our brand they are usually fascinated by the fact that we make belts - and only belts!  They do love the quality and the choice and the fact that the designs they’re wearing are pretty unique. I think above all customers see that although we may be pushing the envelope we are not doing so in a forceful manner, but rather in a suggestive way...gradually taking them on a journey. Everybody has a limit and it is vital never to make someone uncomfortable with what they are wearing.

Sparkly Moon Belt

What is your background?

I have been involved in fashion and design since graduating from university – as it happens the most useful skills from my studies are my languages...nothing is more important than being able to communicate with suppliers! But fashion is pretty broad and I started at the bottom learning how garments are created, made, sourced and sold...invaluable skills that I have used every day since creating Elliot Rhodes. I always knew I would move towards the luxury sector as in the end I just love making things that I feel proud of.

Why did you start doing what you do?

I was a frustrated shopper... the more I was looking for belts the less I could find any! Black, brown, sometimes tan... that’s it! Belts have always been treated as an afterthought and used as a brand vehicle...nobody has ever paid them due care and attention! I believed there could be more to it, that this was a product that could be reinvented and glamorised, and that consumers with the right guidance could start to learn how important a belt could be in creating their own individual style. I am also very anti brand – not that I do not like brands – but I like brands that produce great products rather than just sell a logo. I think society has been moving away from this for some time now which is where specialists come to the fore.

Which designers do you rate highly and why?

I would look no further than Armani – this is a man who continually creates timeless collections that cross generational barriers, allowing people to be fashionable but comfortably and unostentatiously so. Philippe Starck also simply because he has been able to bring beautiful design to formerly dull utilitarian products.

Casual Leopard Belt

Tell us about your design process from concept, production and to the shelves...

I find inspiration in all sorts of odd places – sometimes it is visual, sometimes tactile, sometimes verbal. Simply looking at the world around us whether that be nature, architecture, people, art and taking a grain of an idea and then trying to understand how this might be interpreted through leather or metalwork. Nothing is more important to me than colour and knowing when a new colour is relevant is just a gut feeling. I have to take these ideas then source raw materials that can help interpret them...or sometimes it works backwards and you find a wonderful material that you just have to find a way to use! Once these two bits of the puzzle are figure out it is down to the practical and technical – getting items produced to the correct design and quality standard. Standing in a factory fiddling with samples, watching someone stitch or polish...I work constantly with my makers to try new techniques. But in the end products have to arrive on time and hopefully on budget too.

The best part of our business is that we work on small quantities. Individuality works with exclusivity and we want our customers to know that the belt they bought is special and not one of thousands. We work only with small factories where the craftsmen still create belts and buckles using traditional techniques and make and finish them by hand.

How do you think your brand has developed?

Pretty well! For the past seven years, we’ve converted people to belts and we’ve elevated the status of the belt from being an afterthought to being a key to dressing with taste, elegance, style and individuality. I think we’ve proved that there is a demand for a specialist brand such as ours but most importantly we have shown that through passion, education and specialisation you can inspire people to look at a product in a whole different light. The fact that many of our customers ‘collect’ our belts and buckles bears testament to their potential importance. Above all I am proud to be doing something different and to have taken some very important steps in getting Elliot Rhodes to be considered the pre eminent brand in its sector.

Croc Coda Farkhan Belt

What do you hate most about your job?

The sale. Sorry...I know customers love it but not only is it a huge amount of work it can sometimes be a bit demoralising too...seeing products you have loved and created being sold for less than you feel they are worth!

What are your main achievements and what do you aim to achieve now? Past present and future

Well, creating Elliot Rhodes, establishing the brand and changing perceptions are things I am very proud of. Everybody told me in the beginning I was crazy and no one ever believed a belt brand would survive – even a year! We’ve proved them wrong and now it is all about seeing how far we can take things...both in terms of retail expansion (I reckon there is room for about 50 stores around the world)  but also in terms of design. If one day we can be recognized as being a market innovator and the leader in our field then I will be happy.

What advice would you have for anyone starting out in (your field)?

Have a very clear vision of what you want to do, research it every which way, leave nothing to chance and have unerring faith in what you are doing. On top of that be prepared to work extremely hard! is proud to work with British designers, why do you think British design stands out?

We are lucky to have a long heritage of design to draw from and to live in a permissive society that allows people to experiment with their ideas. British design tends to harness the past and reinvent it for the present very effectively, it is not scared to shock and even though at its extremes it is far from commercial once carefully interpreted good British design allows consumers to express their sense of individuality and quirkiness.

Elliot Rhodes newest store is at St Christopher’s Place 14 Gees Court,London W1- So pop in and take a look!

Artist Simon Peplow donates two fantastic prints to our Great British Christmas Competition

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Here at we like to say a massive thank you to the amazing Visual Tinkerer Simon Peplow for donating two of his incredible prints to our Great British Christmas Competition!

Simon Peplow- Be Kind Remind

The print is a single edition 1/1.

Simon Peplow originally hails from England's rugged second city Birmingham;  where he spent his formative years pushin' around the labyrinthian back streets on his trusty stunt stick - which eventually took him to the USA in 2001.

Upon his return, Simon went on to study a BA Hons in Visual Communication, where he obtained First Class Honours. He currently resides on the South West Coast of England in the historic city of Exeter with his two Burmese prowlers Bandit & Sylvester.  Where he enjoys razzing around on his sprocket rocket, skimming pebbles, playing ping pong and slurping ale on a daily basis to help nurture the creative process.

Ed.25 Simon Peplow

The print is not available in this specific colour. It's available in a more festive Red, Blue & White (edtn 25).

His whimsical characters have adorned various facets of the creative realm including:  Advertising, Education, Print and Animation for the likes of Carhartt Streetwear, Nike SB, SOYJOY, Arts Council England, The New York Times, The Washington Post,  Anorak Magazine, The Ride Journal, The Illustrated Ape, Stranger Magazine, Pennsylvania Gazette, Suburban Bliss Clothing, The Poetry Society, Analogue Books and Origin Coffee.  His Artworks have been exhibited in London at the V&A and internationally in New York, Boston and Amsterdam.

Simon's Illustration work has been acknowledged by prestigious publications Creative Review, Dazed & Confused, 3X3 and American Illustration.  In 2004, Simon co-founded the Outcrowd Collective as a means to collaborate with other like-minded thing makers, and exhibit their personal outpourings.

Guess how many buttons are in the jar to be in with a chance of winning Simon's prints along with tonnes of other prizes – there are also lots of other gifts for friends and family

Winner takes all!! see our facebook page for current list of prizes – it is a growing prize draw….

If you'd like to find out more about Simon Peplow and his work have a click on the links below.


Uig Lodge Donate Delicious Smoked Salmon to the Great British Christmas Competiton

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

We'd like to say a big thank you to Uig Lodge for their very kind donation of delicious Scottish Atlantic smoked salmon to our Great British Christmas Competition.

Hand sliced smoked salmon pack - 230g

Winner of 3 gold stars in the Guild of Fine Food's Great Taste Awards 2011. Shortlisted for 'Best Scottish Speciality' this smoked salmon is the perfect starter for  your Christmas morning.

Guess how many buttons are in the jar to be in with a chance of winning – there also lots of other gifts for friends and family

Winner takes all!! see our facebook page for current list of prizes – it is a growing prize draw….

Artist Ben Javens adds to the Great British Christmas Competition!

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Here at Independent Boutique we want to say a great big thank you to the very talented Ben Javens for donating a delightful screenprint to our Great British Christmas Competition.

Ben Javens-The Forest

The Forest-Ben Javens

Printed with three overlapping colours, limited edition of 30, hand pulled silkscreen print on 300g/m² Somerset Satin White paper. Dimensions are 280mm x 250mm (dimensions for printed area are 237mm x 207mm). All prints are signed and numbered.

Ben's artistic talents have been used by companies such as Warburtons, 8th Continent, Hugo Boss, The Guardian, Timeout Magazine, Static Caravan, Capsule and he is also a proud member of the UNSEEN agency family.

Guess how many buttons are in the jar to be in with a chance of winning – there also lots of other gifts for friends and family

Winner takes all!! see our facebook page for current list of prizes – it is a growing prize draw….

Introducing the Land Rover Experience

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Here at we want to thanks the British heritage company Land Rover for giving half a days off road driving to the Great British Christmas Competition.

Land Rover Experience is your opportunity to get behind the wheel of a Land Rover and Range Rover for a unique, adrenaline-fuelled driving session.

The sure-footed control, renowned handling and impressive agility


of our vehicles have to be experienced from inside the cabin to be believed. World-class instructors will be on hand to share tips and techniques, and show you how to tackle almost any terrain with confidence.
With eight centres across the UK offering a half-day, total exhilaration is nearer than you might think.

During this action-packed half-day, you'll get to tackle steep inclines, deep water, rutted tracks and ditches, with each centre offering a different combination. A great experience for newcomers to off-road driving.

Guess how many buttons are in the jar to be in with a chance of winning - there also lots of other gifts for friends and family

Winner takes all!! see our facebook page for current list of prizes - it is a growing prize draw....

Iconic British Design Classic from Anglepoise - The Original 1227 Lamp in Red

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Here at we want to thank the iconic British Design company Anglepoise for giving one of their classic table lamps,  the Original 1227 in Red to the Great British Christmas Competition Prize Draw.










For over 70 years, Anglepoise has created table lamps and table lights that are now British design classics. In that time, we have redefined all a table lamp has been and can be. Our table lamps remain

true to George Carwardine’s original design whilst incorporating modern features, such as energy saving bulbs. Our energy

saving lamps are designed to replicate theintensity of light that is demanded by professionals, such as graphic artists and interior designers.We are currently celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Anglepoise Original 1227, just one of our various famous ranges which include the Type3Type1228 and Type 75.

Guess how many buttons are in the jar to be in with a chance of winning - there also lots of other gifts for friends and family

Winner takes all!! see our facebook page for current list of prizes - it is a growing prize draw....

Interview with British jewellery brand, MIRPURI’s founder and creative director, Johnny Mirpuri

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

How do you describe to people what you do and your design style?

MIRPURI offers contemporary designer jewellery to style-conscious individuals who place equal importance on quality and value. Created in sterling silver, MIRPURI collections comprise classically-styled pieces which are sleek and elegant in design. Whilst attention-grabbing, they still manage to tastefully strike that fine balance between a.m subtlety and p.m glamour.

What sort of comments do you get about your designs?

MIRPURI designs are often described using terms such as classy and sophisticated, and are admired for their understated elegance. Our customers are particularly impressed by the quality and craftsmanship of our jewellery. They love the solid feel yet easy wearability of the pieces, and comment on the great versatility they offer because they suit both day and evening wear.

What is your background?

I was born of Indian parentage in West Africa and spent three years living in India before moving with my family to settle in the UK at the age of nine. This culturally diverse upbringing ignited in me a passion for travel from an early age, which has so far taken me to over 25 countries across the world. I feel that each of these journeys, and the exposure that they provided to differing landscapes, new customs, fresh architectural ideas and cosmopolitan lifestyles, have played a part in shaping my sense of personal, as well as design, style.
Having spent 20 years carving out a successful banking career, I left the City to dive into the fascinating world of jewellery design at the end of 2008. I went on to complete a broad programme of bench & design-based courses at the Holts Academy of Jewellery and Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design. Here, I learnt both traditional and computer-aided design and manufacturing techniques.

MIRPURI-Ripples Statement Choker Necklace

Ripples Statement Choker Necklace (Limited Edition)

I launched MIRPURI in 2011, and debuted its first three collections, Epicene, Paradiso and Ripples, at International Jewellery London.

Why did you start doing what you do?

Although my previous banking career had enabled me to enjoy an enviable lifestyle, I came to realise eventually that the further up the corporate ladder I progressed, the more unfulfilled and unhappy I felt at the end of each working day. It was during this time of soul-searching that, whilst making several works of art for my home, I discovered my childhood interest in things creative had been re-kindled. Taking this to be my queue for change, I chose to begin a new career which would allow me to tap into those innate artistic talents.

Which designers do you rate highly and why?

I love Regina Aradesi’s work - she manages to create such beautifully intricate and iridescent enameled jewellery inspired by her Armenian roots. I also admire Marcin Tyminski’s creations - his contemporary designs for Polish brand, Mishu Design, are exquisitely clean and crisp.


Tell us about your design process from concept, production and to the shelves.

Inspiration lies at the heart of every design process and that’s exactly where I start when creating collections for MIRPURI. In the case of our Paradiso Collection, it was provided by the flamboyant plumage of the exotic Bird of Paradise, and a desire to capture the dramatic spread of its elongated tail feathers. With the unisex Epicene Collection, which relies on an evocative rib-cage like central design feature, it came from what is regarded by many to be the original uniter of the sexes - the rib of Adam.

Once the basics are down on paper, the designs are developed into bona fide collections comprising a variety of product categories and ranges. The ultimate goal, as ever, is to offer our customers that all-important element of choice.

Production of MIRPURI jewellery - right from the sourcing of raw materials and stones to the creation of samples and stock - is based entirely in the UK. This ensures timely, quality-controlled and price-competitive delivery to market. Heavy reliance is placed on close working relationships that have been developed over a number of years with a team of professionals and reputable vendors - each has been hand-picked for their wealth of industry experience and reliability. Together, and by drawing on a combination of computer-aided technology as well as hand crafted techniques, we bring MIRPURI designs and collections to life.

Exhibiting at International Jewellery London 2011 proved invaluable in securing new stockists for MIRPURI’s debut collections. The show provided a timely platform to introduce the brand to a wide variety of UK-based buyers, as well as the industry’s press communities.

How do you think your brand has developed?

Being relatively new, this remains a formative time for MIRPURI in terms of brand identity. However, judging by the reviews received from style editors, who describe our jewellery as having a “versatile, contemporary feel which will appeal to a range of consumers”, I feel that we’re on the right track.


Paradiso Bold Smoky Quartz-Set Earrings

What do you hate most about your job?

I’m not too keen on the constant polishing & re-polishing, wrapping & unwrapping, packing & unpacking involved in exhibiting our jewellery at shows and to prospective clients. If only MIRPURI had its own high street store!

What are your main achievements and what do you aim to achieve now? Past, present and future?


To be tipped as a promising new British design talent and to have been selected to exhibit MIRPURI’s debut collections at International Jewellery London 2011 as part of the British Jeweller’s Associations-supported KickStart initiative, is something that I’m extremely proud of.


MIRPURI continues to enjoy widespread exposure in the trade press and now has its debut collections in the windows of several high profile London-based jewellery boutiques such as Mayfair-based Nude Jewellery and Greenwich-based Autumn and May.

With three solid sterling silver collections under MIRPURI’s belt, I plan to broaden the appeal and marketability of our designs further by introducing more precious metals and stones to the 2012 collections.

What advice would you have for anyone starting out?

Learn your craft by getting your hands dirty - you can’t design jewellery without knowing your way around a workshop!

You’ll need to adopt a sponge-like quality which allows you to to learn from every one of your successes and failures along the way.

Don’t fall into the trap of trying to please everyone - design with your end customer in mind, but retain you creative individuality.

Unless you’re starting off with lots of money behind you, be prepared to become a jack of all trades - you’re going to need to turn your hand to many new and unfamiliar tasks such as web design, photography, marketing, PR, cost management, etc.

The industry is small so make sure that you don’t burn any bridges along the way.


Paradiso Simple Pendant Necklace is proud to work with British designers, why do you think British design stands out?

British designers tend to march to the beat of their own drum, the uniqueness of their designs reflecting a wealth of inspiration that exists within Britain’s evolving, multi-cultural society.

New British designer Samantha Jayne of Fabryan on making coveted silk scarves!

Friday, November 11th, 2011

How do you describe to people what you do and your design style? 

I am a new independent designer who is self taught and my brand is called FABRYAN; designing womenswear and accessories.

What sort of comments do you get about your designs? 

I get a lot of lovely comments about my scarves. How bright they are and also how soft the silk used to print the scarves is.

What is your background?

Digitally Printed Silk Scarves from Fabryan

I studied Business and I later worked in web and graphic design before starting my fashion brand.

Why did you start doing what you do?

I have always wanted to do something that I enjoyed and had passion for. And fashion was it. So in September 2010 I launched Fabryan.

Which designers do you rate highly and why? (Who are your peers?)

I highly rate all designers because its a very competitive industry so it takes alot of guts to go for it.

Tell us about your design process from concept, production and to the shelves...

I drew inspiration for my Psychedelic collection (Scarves) from the beautiful and exotic flowers in Kew gardens. Designed on the computer and digitally printed in the UK, using eco friendly inks on organic silk fabric. Once this is finished, they are cut individually, rolled and hand sewn giving each scarf a clean and neat finish around the edges.

Design & Inspiration Mood Board

How do you think your brand has developed?

I am hoping we will design more accessories and evolve with each collection.

What do you hate most about your job?

I guess being a business owner you have to take the good and bad days. But I am very content with my job.

What are your main achievements and what do you aim to achieve now? Past present and future

Starting Fabryan is an achievement, I am pleased with the progress the brand has made since its launch a year ago. But I think the best is yet to come.


Fox Glove silk Scarf

What advice would you have for anyone starting out in (your field)?

I am still relatively new to be giving advice but I'd say that success is achievable with hard work and self belief.

Why do you think British design stands out on the global stage?

We have many talented British designers who are creative with unique designs, with that they stand out in the big world of fashion.