AUTUMN//WINTER 2018 25 HARRY HAYES, managing director of Evermade, says: What came first – the prints or the products? Evermade started in 2011when I was looking for some art prints to decorate my office. There wasn’t a huge selection of affordable art prints to choose from. I had £250 and a notebook full of ideas. I bought the domain and got talking to some artists that I wanted to collaborate with – the idea being that each print has a short print run, so for each print, there would only be 100 ‘ever made.’ Working with artists and screen prints, things then naturally progressed to clothing and homeware. With stationery, I wanted to create a simple range with a focus on good design. Do the stationery and fashion sectors overlap? In terms of pattern design, yes absolutely. Giftwrap patterns are often very similar to patterns seen in fashion. Illustration is very much in at the moment, so you do see a lot of parallels. With our new iron-on patch cards, there is an overlap between both industries. Although these are technically in the stationery category, cards are often thought of as disposable, so we wanted to create an element that customers could keep. Is there demand from consumers for popular designs to be carried across different product categories? Yes and this allows the same design to occupy different price points. However, there is a risk that the lower-priced products can devalue the higher-value items if they feature the same design. Are you keen to evolve Evermade into a lifestyle brand? Yes, we’re launching our new website soon and evolving our brand to become even more of a design-led yet feel- good lifestyle brand. We like to work closely with artists, putting a lot of time and effort into our collaborations, so we’re excited to build the business based on this way of thinking. KEVIN BOLTMAN, managing director of Montblanc UK, says: Is Montblanc evolving into a lifestyle brand and why? A writing instrument is a tool that is meant to be part of your lifestyle, so it could be said we were always present in this area. And Montblanc has in fact created beautiful leather pieces since 1926. We have of course diversified over the years to craft other products – all of which play into ‘lifestyle.’ We craft products that we feel will be both treasured and useful for our customers. Sometimes those ideas come from our team internally; other times this takes onboard the needs of our clients. For instance we set up a technology division several years ago that looks at our current product assortments and identifies ways to incorporate technology that will enrich the experience of the product for users. Is craftsmanship and innovation central to this? The Maison is driven by innovation. If you think back 110 years, to have a fountain pen that could be filled and carried around without the need for a bottle of ink or the fear of leakage was pioneering. Now in 2018 we have launched Screenwriters to use with smartphones and tablets, Augmented Paper that couples writing by hand with digital efficiency, as well as Summit, the Maison’s first smartwatch for the ‘always on’ generation. Craftsmanship is key to what we do. Our manufacturers are located in centres of excellence – Hamburg for writing instruments, Florence for leather and Switzerland for timepieces – to ensure we leverage the right skills. We want to create pieces that have classic style with longevity. Innovation is key to staying relevant – we have to create products that help people to perform their daily tasks well. How do the new product categories strengthen the original ethos rooted in the culture of handwriting? The culture of writing is the essence of everything we do. Our creative director still sketches when he is in the process of designing new collections. There is permanency in putting pen to paper, a tangible action that is part of both our history and every day. We are known for our writing instruments, the level of care and expertise learnt in this space has been shared across all our teams and manufacturers. EVERMADE.COM MONTBLANC CAROLINE GARDNER, stationery and gift designer, says: When and how did Caroline Gardner evolve into a lifestyle brand? Some of the company’s most recognisable designs, such as Ditsy and the timeless heart print, were developed from cards and giftwrap and then used to develop the first stationery range in around 2007. It was here that our quirky colour palette found its voice. By 2013, with a growing team and a move to larger offices in Fulham, west London, we built on the success of the stationery offering and slowly introduced accessories. Five years on and accessories are the fastest-growing category! Do the stationery and fashion sectors increasingly overlap? Our mantra is that your desk should be as beautiful as your dressing table, and the contents of your pencil case as beautifully designed as the accessories in your handbag! We had an amazing reaction from our customers in the shop to a recent collaboration with the organisers of Graduate Fashion Week, where we showcased the work of two graduate designers. Any more plans for fashion lines? Yes, for AW18 we will be offering scarves and hats, leather and shearling gloves, as well as two new leather handbag styles featuring interesting textures mixed with solid leather colours. Our leopard-print camera bag has been a big hit on Instagram and sold out twice since it launched in February. CAROLINE GARDNER