The epitome of luxury, British label Yolke was launched in 2013. Designers and friends Anna and Ella take simple silhouettes and create garments only from the best silks and cottons. Since I first encountered Yolke at LFWEnd earlier this year, I have loved their beautiful jumpsuits, well-tailored trousers, and luxurious pyjamas. When I had the chance to interview them and discover more about what drives then and Yolke, I jumped at the chance.
The interview is below the cut – enjoy!
I love the Yolke aesthetic – the clean lines and fine fabrics all help to create practical and beautiful collections. Where do you draw inspiration from?
Our inspiration comes from all over the place. It may be a book, an exhibition or a piece vintage clothing for example. Often Ella will wake in the middle of the night with a print in her head so it can be an almost subconscious process sometimes!
The well-tailored simplicity of your collections speaks of the confidence you have in your designs. However, has there even been a pressure to conform with many designers and add frivolous embellishments to your garments?
Although we are very feminine in our colours and approach to prints we have never sought to be ‘girlie’. All our designs are print led rather than shape led and the simplicity and tailored nature of our styles comes from both of our personal taste and aesthetic in what we like to wear.
Your Winter 2013 collection is one of my favourites. What was your inspiration behind this collection?
The key to this collection was the rich colour palette. The inspiration was jump jockeys and the wonderful rich coloured silks they wear. The Jockey Silks have now become a regular fixture and are being repeated for the next few seasons as the shape has been so popular.
Do you sketch your designs on paper or on a tablet?
A mixture of both. Everything stars on paper in general and then prints are moved onto computer to work out repeats and send to our printers.
All of Yolke’s fabrics are ‘Made in England’ and this distinguishes you from many other companies. Was this something you always wanted to do?
All our homewares fabrics are made in England which we’re very proud to continue and we wanted to support local production as far as possible when we launched. The UK is competing well with other countries in wool and silk weaving for example so it’s great to able to produce here and still have a product that isn’t inflated on the marketplace because of it.
As a small business in London, what have been your main challenges?
As a small business almost all parts of the business face some sort of challenge at one point or another. Probably the main challenge is promoting the brand and getting as many people knowing about it as possible.
I was first introduced to Yolke at London Fashion Weekend. What kind of feedback do you receive from events like that?
Events like London Fashion Week are fantastic as they offer an opportunity to meet thousands of potential new customers and have direct and immediate feedback.
Your homeware products have an equally timeless and contemporary feel about them. How does the design process for your homeware line differ from your clothing collections?
The process is very closely linked but the homewares and what we choose to make is fairly organic in that we decide piece by piece what we feel would compliment the collection. With homewares there is a slightly more freedom as you’re not so constrained by seasons and trends. So we can decide to do a new run of cushions or candles in June for example rather than being tethered to the fashion cycle calendar.
Your current collection for Summer 2014 has a wonderfully fresh and crisp feel to it and like every other one of your collections, it stands out because of its well-tailored simplicity. How did you go about creating this collection?
As always we started with the prints, of which the Heartbreaker was the first which was designed for Valentines pyjamas first. After a very rich AW we wanted it to feel as light as possible so the prints were relatively soft in comparison. There is a lot more cotton than we’ve done before and this came from wanting to bring in some less precious pieces that you can throw on at the beach or wear to work but still be looking chic in a standout print.
A huge thank you to Anna and Ella for taking the time to answer my questions!
Image credit and copyright belongs to Yolke Ltd, and a big thank you for allowing me to use them.