Over the past year our home in Upperlands has seen some significant changes; the beginnings of our factory expansion, hiring a new creative director and a state of the art digital printer. A vision that is now becoming real with this week’s launch of our new contemporary soft furnishing brand Earthed.
Earthed is a brand rooted in this land and worked out through the technology of the future. It represents the pioneering spirit that exists at the core of our company’s genetic makeup. Combining 300 years’ worth of linen expertise that is unmatched anywhere else in the world with new thinking to deliver collections as captivating as the land surrounding it.
At Earthed’s helm and directing this thinking is our new creative director Duncan Neil. Born in Scotland, Duncan has trained and worked throughout the UK creating patterns and producing prints for Vivienne Westwood, Marc Jacobs, Andrew Martin and Marks and Spencer. Duncan brings with him a natural fascination and curiosity for how materials and patterns combine.
Earthed is the combination of a number of interests; nature and colour. Inspired visually from the natural world surrounding us, not just as we first see it aesthetically but also how we interact with nature and study its elements. Colour will always be at the fore throughout the collections, with a central focus on the emotive feelings that colour evokes. Duncan speaking earlier this week gave us an insight into the brand’s vision-
I love the power that colour has to change our mood and central to our ethos are colours that excite, inspire or relax. A large part of the vision for Earthed centres around UK textile manufacturing. Textile production throughout the UK and Ireland was once at the forefront of global trade and it is saddening to see how much industry has been lost, and most importantly the skill sets that are fading. Creating quality, beautiful prints is far from easy as there are so many variants; from the fibres used in the base cloth, to the bleaching and preparation, to the chemistry required for printing, to the steaming to fix the dyes to the washing and softening- each part is pivotal to the outcome of the final product.
Earthed is different to other furnishing brands on the market, emerging within William Clark puts Earthed in quite a unique position. We have a team of highly skilled workers with years of experience working with these processes and this expertise has been instrumental in allowing us to create quality digital prints.
This was a major thought in how we launched our collection. We wanted to honour our worker’s craftsmanship. By creating a bespoke book that would help distinguish us from other brands on the shelves; it can be quite daunting walking into an interior designers or fabric showroom and seeing the huge selection of pattern books available to browse – where to begin can be hard to know. Our beautiful wooden books are made from Black Frake which is a durable African hardwood. The grain of the wood is stunning and the wood is responsibly and ethically sourced – at Earthed we appreciate the natural world and love to work with it but realise the importance of using our world’s resources in a responsible manner. We found a great partner to work with in the UK to produce the book cases. Laser cutting is a process I love to work with so we played with cuts on the wood using our beautiful logo (by Pale Blue Dot) to give us a striking window through to our designs.
Our first print collection, ‘The Upperlands Collection’ represents where we have come from, we really wanted to celebrate the history of our company. As this is very much a new aesthetic look for William Clark and our history is truly compelling. The idea of Earthed was in the ether before I joined William Clark. When I joined the company and read ‘Linen on the Green’ by Wallace Clark I was blown away in the first pages by the dedication;
‘To the Clady River which has fed and cloth us all in Upperlands for 240 years.’
It struck me that the concept of Earthed was at the heart of William Clark, the company exists because of the natural resources on this very site that has allowed the production and finishing of linen since the 18th century. Water has been at the heart of our processing for over three centuries. So the Upperlands Collection was born – a celebration of nature supporting humanity.
Follow us on our social media channels as we start our journey. There are many interesting projects lined up for Earthed over the next year. We will be launching two collections in Spring 2017 which will involve working with some new faces which we are looking forward to. We are also looking to explore what processes we can develop within the existing finishing production here at William Clark to create some exciting products. The visual direction and inspiration is under wraps for now, so you will have to wait and see.
You can find the Upperlands Collection arriving in stores across the UK over the next number of weeks. We will be updating the stockist section of our website regularly, so keep checking back to find the dealer closest to you. If you are interested in any of our designs in the meantime you can order samples on the Earthed Website.
We are excited to reveal Earthed and the ‘Upperlands Collection’ to you and hope that you will love this collection as much as we do.