With catwalks showcasing the Spring/Summer season’s styles earlier this year, there was one thing never in doubt: ‘floral’ was the word du jour. The new black, if you will. Models were sashaying down runways in front of the rich and not so famous, serving up an ‘eye-popping bouquet of florals’ thanks to the fashion houses of Alexander McQueen, Gucci and the like. From scene-stealing summer party dresses to ‘energising’ Formica prints for office wear, 2017’s fashion optimism began with ‘bold blooms’.
And the nod to floral doesn’t stop there; this year’s ‘bang on’ trend has gone beyond wear, to wares. Interior and homewares – to be precise – have also seen floral patterns being given a contemporary accent. We can’t get enough of the bloomin’ look. Textiles and wallpapers have featured more big, bold and beautiful floral motifs against dark backgrounds while we’ve gone mad for vintage shabby chic through flower-patterned home accessories from mugs and teapots to vases and cushions.
Yet while our gardens may be used to seeing the odd flower or two, there are leading gardening brands such as Briers that have cottoned on to this year’s hottest trend and leveraged the latest look by launching new collections that feature quintessentially British designs by two renowned artists, William Morris and Julie Dodsworth.
William Morris is regarded as the greatest designer and one of the most outstanding figures of the Arts and Crafts Movement, and although he died in 1896, his block-printed wallpaper designs enjoyed a renaissance throughout the 90s as well as other home furnishings such as curtains and cushion covers. His signature style of complex rhythms and movement that capture the randomness and symmetry of nature is recognisable almost anywhere, perhaps now more than ever.
Now Briers has brought to life his designs and perfectly harnessed that connection to nature with two collections. The William Morris Strawberry Thief Collection consists of 18 different products and features gardening accessories from hand tools and herb pots to mugs, a shoulder bag and a walking umbrella. Not only aesthetically beautiful, the products are also practical, built to last and ergonomically designed. The range was a finalist in the Brand & Lifestyle Awards 2016, being only one of six nominees in the category of Best Licensed Brand Home or Garden Product or Range.
All the products are decorated with Morris’ most famous pattern and it goes without saying, is a truly iconic British design. Designed in 1883, the pattern is based on the thrushes that he observed stealing strawberries from his kitchen garden at Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire. It was created using a complex printing technique known as indigo discharge, and was an expensive luxury fabric when first made.
The William Morris Honeysuckle Collection by Briers consists of 14 different products, each adorned with a pattern designed by Morris’ youngest daughter, May in 1883. The design, a realistic arrangement of rambling flowers and entwining leaves, is featured throughout the collection on products such as string in a tin, a cotton tote bag, a set of gift-boxed hand tools and fabric-feel rubber wellington boots.
Thanks to Briers’ close partnership with the William Morris Gallery, Briers has ensured its designs are true to the original patterns and honour Morris’ work, using the latest techniques and technologies to bring old designs to life in the highest quality format, demonstrating the full beauty of the patterns.
Not only do the collections offer gardeners a piece of exquisite history but also beauty, gorgeous style and affordability, that can onlyhelp make gardening more fun and less of a chore. Whoever said gardening was dull?
In addition to this, Briers has launched a further two collections inspired by the renowned artist and industry award winner Julie Dodsworth.
Julie paints and produces her original patterns on Calamity Jane, her canal boat, using a traditional one paintbrush method, mixingwith just three colours to create a simplicity that underpins all her work. This traditional craft has been respectively adapted using a modern design influenced by her canal boat and artisan lifestyle.
The Julie Dodsworth Flower Girl Collection is the larger of the two, boasting 31 different items across 37 products, making it Briers’ largest-ever licensed gardening collection. The range carries a distinct English rose theme that celebrates the beauty of one of the world’s most popular flowers. As a result, gardeners are treated to a design which is perfectly timeless and quintessentially British, and can cherry pick from accessories including secateurs, a kneeler, boot bag and tool belt that will add a splash of colour and style to any garden shed.
The Julie Dodsworth Orangery Collection manages to capture a sophisticated charm thanks to its stylised florals, where Julie’s influences from traditional narrowboat art and waterways’ flora are evident. Key pieces of the collection, which along with the Flower Girl Collection both pride themselves on their affordability, include rubber clogs – extremely handy for light gardening or summer weather – an apron, socks and a garden bag. It also features various styles of gardening gloves to suit all types of gardening work, with one pair in particular worthy of note. The range’s Orangery Leather Comfy Gardener Glove triumphed in the Home, Gift and Clothing category at the Glee New Product Awards 2016, firmly establishing a winning brand partnership between the artist and Briers. Both collections were also shortlisted for the coveted Best New Product Award at this year’s Garden Retail Awards.