Are cool quirky prints your thing? Well East London design brand Alfred & Wilde should be right up your street! Following our feature on Wolf & Moon and hearing about their collection with Alfred & Wilde, we thought it was time we did a post on the brand themselves! Designing everything from homeware to graphic prints from their studio in Hackney, these quirky and distinctive pieces are inspired by London's architecture, Hackney's distinctive vibe and Scandinavian design! With his latest collection, Platonic Solid's featuring gorgeous geometric shapes and 9ct gold mugs, we just had to catch up with the designer and artist Simon Mitchell to find out more!
Why did you decide to start your brand?
I studied Fine Art at university but, by the time I finished, I’d decided I didn’t really want to be an artist. Instead I started working in marketing for a charity (which I still do part-time). I soon realised that I still craved being creative and was always drawing in my spare time, so I decided to put my marketing skills to use and start my own design brand.
Where do you get the inspiration for your pieces from?
My first set of prints and cards were inspired by the modernist architecture of London. I combined my drawings with bold, simple graphic designs and typography, which is similar to the work I produced when studying Fine Art. I have since created a collection based on the ‘Platonic Solids’. These are a series of geometric shapes named after the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. They have a unique set of mathematical properties that have mystified people for millennia. I love the history of the shapes, but they also look really contemporary and fit my graphic design aesthetic.
How does having your studio in Hackney influence you?
I definitely draw loads of inspiration from East London, and Hackney in particular. There are hundreds of cool art studios, shops and galleries, and people from all over the world, so the energy and style is always evolving and pushing the boundaries. It means I’m always striving to create something new and interesting.
Do you have a favourite piece from your current collection?
I love my Platonic Solids mugs! The 9 carat gold printed mugs still excite me when I see them on sale in shop. And the jewellery range made in collaboration with Wolf & Moon – also based on the Platonic Solids – is really cool. Hannah, who set up Wolf & Moon is incredibly talented and has been a pleasure to work with. I think my favourite jewellery piece is the large Icos Necklace.
What do you love most about having your own brand, what's been the highlight so far?
I love being able to take a design from concept, right through the development and manufacturing stages, and eventually seeing it for sale in shop. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some lovely retailers and buyers and it is always great fun checking in with how they are doing. One of the biggest highlights was probably being stocked in Selfridges this Christmas, as it was so high profile – people from all over the world were suddenly seeing my products and commenting on Instagram and Twitter.
How would you describe an Alfred & Wilde customer?
A design-savvy, home-maker. Possibly with a love of London, and often found in Stoke Newington.
What's next for the brand, what do you have planned for the future?
I’m currently working on loads of new art print designs to be launched in the autumn in time for Christmas, which I am pretty excited about. In the longer term, I hope to be able to grow the brand more internationally. I have a couple of stockists in France and Germany, but it would be great to go even further. Of course, my studio will stay in East London!
WORDS BY: Sarah Maxwell