Last Tuesday, we celebrated Donna's first collection of womens knitwear called 'Jumpers & Ice Cream' with a launch party at Couverture & The Garbstore. Couverture was one of the the very first shops to stock Donna's knitted dolls eleven years ago in London, so for Donna, launching her first fashion line with Couverture felt like such a natural thing, like the journey's come full
Here are some snapshots from the launch; we want to thank everyone who made it to the party and send an especially big thank you to Couverture for hosting us! It was such a lovely evening!
We are so pleased to be featured in the newest issue of Oh Comely, one of our very favourite independent magazines. Every page of this magazine is so beautifully laid out and the soft, ethereal images are so carefully shot and curated... flipping through this magazine is like reading a poem through pictures, or discovering your next favourite song - what a treat!
How lovely are these photos?! Thank you Oh Comely!! xxx
p.s. The Raindrop Jumper is available here, and the Woodland House Jumper is available here!
We are so excited to finally share with you our short film which launched alongside our first knitwear collection! To celebrate the first the collection of women's knitwear, Donna commissioned Oliver’s Island to produce a film. Together they take you through the four seasons… on a specially made carnival wheel!
You can watch the film below!
It was a ton of fun making it and we are so very proud of the results!
Please share with your friends!
As you know, we are counting down the days until out first ever womens knitwear launch in just over a week! Here's a little background aout the collection of jumpers and how the womens knitwear collection came about...
'Jumpers and Ice Cream' is a family of five exquisitely soft woolly jumpers inspired by rainy Sundays, mittened bike rides to the circus, and other instances in which unlikely pairings yield magical results. The collection features an array of vibrant colours and playful geometric patterns that feel simultaneously fresh and nostalgic.
With her first collection of knitwear, Donna set out to create wearable garments with the same sense of humour and off-beat charm found in her range of home accessories, the appeal of Donna's work having always been their ability to brighten up the every day.
While designing the collection, Donna envisioned the people who would wear the pieces and the lives they lead:
"I imagined the jumpers on all kinds of interesting people and what they would be doing while wearing them - an abstract artist picking out aubergines at the farmers market, a circus performer taking her tea break, or an accountant wanting to wear something different on the weekend.
"It was important to me that the jumpers felt familiar and friendly, but could also be worn to make a statement. The jumpers are for anyone who wants to wear something special, cosy, colourful, and fun."
"I still remember taking around my first dolls to them when I was still studying at the Royal College of Art. I still think of Couverture as one of the first tastemakers; back then there weren't many curated lifestyle concept stores around and working with them really was the beginning of my business. Launching my first collection of women's knitwear with Couverture feels like such a natural thing, like the journey's come full circle."
A nod to Donna's Scottish roots, and in keeping with the studio's commitment to local manufacturing, each jumper is made in Scotland. All the garments are fully fashioned out of 100% lambswool.
Join us for the knitwear launch party on Tuesday 14th October, 4-8pm at Couverture! We
will be screening our specially commissioned film by Oliver's Island. Enjoy a
whisky tipple and live Scottish music by fiddler Lewis Murray while you browse
And you probably have guessed by now that autumn is one of our favourite seasons at Donna Wilson and it is finally in full swing now in London. To commemorate this lovely season we would like to give away two of our NEW Fox and Balloons Mini Tray.
For your chance to win one of the two mini trays we're giving away, we would like you to tell us what you think our next creature should be, what you would name it, and what its personality traits would be! Please submit your ideas as a comment on this blog or in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. At the end of the month we'll select two lucky winners! And maybe your creature will even be added to our collection!
P.S. The winner of our September giveaway is Loki Gillings!
Today is a very special day as it is Donna's birthday!
Image credit @babettevanpopta on Instagram
In honour of Donna's birthday this month, we are giving away one Cyril,
one of Donna's earliest and most beloved creatures!
For your chance to win your
very own Cyril to take care of, we would like you to write Cyril a short letter
explaining to him why you think he should join you and your family in your home.
Please submit your letters to Cyril in the form of a comment on this blog or as
in email to email@example.com, and we'll pick a lucky winner at the end of
We are also very excited to share that we will be exhibiting
at the world renowned Maison & Objet trade show later this week. Our lovely
Bibi Bear will be joining us on this trip to Paris and we'll soon have some
snapshots to share with you of Bibi enjoying the Parisian lifestyle. Oohlala!
If you'll be visiting Maison & Objet, you are in for a
treat as you will get to see all of the new products we have been working on
for the past few months. We have been working very hard on our new collection
and are excited to finally be able to show you all the new things.
In addition to our Rainy Day Pop-Up Shop in BOXPARK over
London Design Festival, you'll find Donna Wilson at Smug, a long-time friend
and stockist in Islington's Camden Passage.
For LDF, Smug will be offering exclusive knitted fruits from Donna Wilson!
Join us for Islington Design District's kickoff event at Smug,
with the launch of exclusive products including Donna Wilson knitted fruit!
Enjoy fruity cocktails from Kamm & Sons and delicious canapés at Cafe Smug,
and you can even have your fruit portrait drawn by illustrator Ruby Taylor!
For the opening event, an embroiderer from the Donna Wilson team will be at Smug to personalise your knitted fruit!
Exciting news: Donna has finally designed her first collection of clothing for babies and kids for British department store John Lewis! Donna's lambswool cushions and homewares have been available at John Lewis for a number of years now, so the two brands knew they would be a perfect match for creating a fresh, new range together!
We are proud to have been included in the Telegraph just before the collection's launch in John Lewis stores. Click here to see the article, or you can read below!
Children's notebook: practical clothes with homespun charm
by Daisy Bridgewater
It was really only a matter of time before the designer Donna Wilson turned her hand to childrenswear. Since launching in 2003, her company has had at its core a quirky, playful and deeply individualist aesthetic based around a menagerie of bizarre hand-knitted creatures, such as Cyril Squirrel-Fox, a bandana-wearing bear called Bibi, and the oddly proportioned Bruce Monkey. These characters and their friends already crop up across a range of vibrant, folksy homeware, poking fun at mealy-mouthed minimalism and reminding us that good design does not have to be beige. Now this anarchic glee is spreading into the children’s market, with a comprehensive range of clothes for babies up, developed in collaboration with John Lewis.
Wilson has a long history with the department store. ‘They were really supportive when I was relatively unknown,’ she tells me. When one of John Lewis’s childrenswear designers, Beatrice Lubega, contacted her last year to suggest they work on a children’s range together, the timing felt perfect. ‘I had recently had a baby [Eli is now 18 months] and had been focusing on how I wanted to dress him. I had a very clear idea about what I wanted – leggings, knitted jumpers, lots of colour, and nothing too gender-specific – and John Lewis had the expertise to turn it into a reality.’
The resulting collection is a gleeful riot of colour and pattern. Many of her best-known characters and designs have made it into the range – bird feet, clouds and foxes abound – and others have been tweaked for the children's market. Colours are strong and unexpected: emerald green, mustard and dirty-pink knits mixed with monochrome-print cotton jersey with colour-pop patches and pockets. ‘It is lovely to see some of my designs in print,’ she says. ‘When I see the collection now, all ready to go in store, it makes me feel really happy. It feels fun.’
While much of the collection draws on her strong design staples, Wilson also looked to her own childhood for inspiration. ‘My mum was really into Clothkits [the densely patterned clothing kits launched in the late 1960s; clothkits.co.uk], and I will never forget the amazing quilted jackets with pockets for toys. I grew up on a farm in Scotland, and spent a lot of time outside, so I wanted the clothes to be easy to wear and easy to care for. My own son is going through a stage where all he wants to play with is mud and water, so I also know how important it is to be able to put things in the washing machine.’
Avid childrenswear watchers might suggest that this is not the first time that we have seen birds and animals knitted into children’s jumpers or printed on to T-shirts. There has been a proliferation of homely, nostalgic designs finding their way back into a market once dominated by designer labels and their high-street imitations. But it was Wilson’s knowingly folksy homeware that spearheaded this move back to the homespun in the first place: look closely at her clever colour combinations and un-cutesy animals and you will see that she remains the master of her trade. That she has been shamelessly copied is not something that she wishes to dwell on. With prices ranging from £3 for a pair of socks to £25 for a colour-block dress, Donna Wilson for John Lewis is making a small stand for individualism at a pocket-friendly price. Invest in this collection, safe in the knowledge that this time you will be buying an original.
Some additional thoughts from Donna:
Much of Donna's thought process while designing the collection came from her own experiences as a new mum. After her son was born, Donna found herself making jumpers for him out of lambswool scraps and cushions in an effort to make unique clothing in styles she saw during her travels but could not find in the UK.
"I remember seeing a little Icelandic boy with leggings and a woolly jumper and he looked so cute that it really stuck with me. But when I started looking for leggings for boys I couldn't find any. Her collection for John Lewis reflect the qualities she herself seeks out when shopping for her son.
"I always look for something a little unusual for Eli. He wears a lot of hand-me-downs, so when I buy him things I want them to be really lovely pieces that I too can hand down! And I always go for colour. I don't really buy into the idea of 'blue for boys, pink for girls,' so I did my best to design the range for John Lewis in bright and fun colours, and to keep it quite flexible and unisex."
Donna's commitment to local and responsible manufacturing as embodied in her own collection of UK-made home furnishings is also maintained in this collection for John Lewis. Only suppliers based in Europe were used to produce the line.
"It means we can be sure everything is of the best quality and made in fair working conditions."
The collection is available exclusively at John Lewis stores throughout the UK and here.
Mark your calendars!
During London Design Festival this year we will open a week-long installation and pop-up shop at BOXPARK in Shoreditch London!
The space will be transformed into a Donna Wilson wonderland, featuring an overhead installation of hundreds of soft raindrops, murals and panels showcasing Donna Wilson's first ever collection of fabrics, a "selfie station," knitted creatures everywhere, and limited edition products made especially for London Design Festival. A special event will be held each day of the week at the Rainy Day Pop-Up Shop, including an ice cream party, a darning workshop, a film screening, an embroidery service, and a book signing with Donna.
Select products from Donna Wilson's new autumn/winter collections will be available, along with classic pieces from Donna's signature range.
Donna Wilson's Rainy Day Pop-Up Shop
BOXPARK / Unit 26
2-10 Bethnal Green Road
London, E1 6GY Click here for a map.
Get your scissors,
pins, and sewing machines out -
Donna Wilson's first
ever collection of fabrics by the meter is here!
Donna was inspired
to design a range of fabrics in an effort to encourage people to be more
creative and make things at home.
'Forest and Friends'
is a collection of 10 fabric designs in two weights, cotton and heavy linen,
featuring some of Donna's signature motifs: clouds, trees, lakes, and many
other references to her childhood growing up on a farm in Aberdeenshire in the
north east of Scotland.
The fresh and
cheerful prints are perfect for making cushions, curtains, bedding, and even
In keeping with her
commitment to support local manufacturing, all of the fabrics in the collection
are printed in the historical silk town of Macclesfield in the UK.