Illustrated Girl

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The AW13 line from British heritage accessories brand Radley is championing this country’s young design talent, as this season presents not one but two up and coming illustrators. A graduate of the Chelsea Art School, Emma Cowlam has designed a beautiful and iconic capsule entitled ‘Parklife’ in collaboration with the brand.

Chatting to the designer, whose designs were showcased alongside a red letter box at the press day, we discovered that we shared a mutual friend in addition to our joint love of fashion. Cowlam has already seen her work adorn the pages of Britain’s fashion press, including Elle, Elle Decoration and Glamour, and in September 2011 she produced a bespoke collection for the Victoria & Albert museum. Continuing her success, February 2012 saw her illustrations launch at the crème de la crème of London retail, none other than Liberty of London, and a few months later her latest collection was unveiled at Somerset House during the September shows for London Fashion Week.

Returning to her current collection for Radley, similarly to fellow illustrator William Grill, Cowlam has taken her inspiration from the British capital which is of course the essence of Radley’s DNA. Placing quintessential and iconic London fixtures into her designs, from the traditional Royal Mail red post box to bench scenes from Regent’s Park and the timeless form of the historic lamppost, Cowlam has captured a sense of nostalgia and celebration of what makes London special.

Applying delicate hand-stitched and hand-drawn line illustrations onto umbrellas, holdalls and totes, her pieces are accentuated by pops of bright colour picking out certain features of each drawing. Cowlam presents familiar London scenes, though all with a modern and unique twist that comes of her innovative sewing technique using black cotton on paper and the combination of traditional drawing and sewing skills manipulated to fit the current digital age.

Prices range from £25 to £109.

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