A new wave of artists have been channelling their work through the world of fashion, giving their images a new lease of life by transferring them to new mediums, and in this case, it’s scarves. Emma J Shipley is among these artists. An illustrator with an imaginative and colourful vision who, after graduating for The Royal College of Art, has stepped boldly onto the design scene, Emma’s incredible scarves are a winter fantasy-scape in their own right. Setting our eyes on her work for the first time, we were taken in by the playful, sweet and startling worlds that she creates.
From a polar bear viewing the Aurora Borealis, cracked ice under its feet, to a hot air balloon floating in a sky of deep blues and purples, Emma’s scarves are unique, each telling a tale of their own. We love the contrast of marching penguins on an expedition, with a sky of glittering lights. Emma’s latest work, The Polar Collection, takes reference from the Artic and the early scientific studies made there, with Norse Mythology, hand drawn maps, Antarctic animals, the great expedition of Scott, Shackleton and Peary and polar skies making up a thrilling pool of influence.
Emma’s designs are warm in heart and wholesome in subject matter, exploring surreal fantasy, the imagination and evolution. Through irregular patterns and parallel scenes, they celebrate deep thought and storytelling, something to be celebrated in a fast-paced consumer culture that generally values style over substance.
Spun from the finest Italian fabrics, Emma’s work fuses both style and substance. The fluidity of these materials allows her prints to become distorted, gradually revealing more intricate detail with movement that is dependent on how the scarf is worn. She works by drawing in pencil, and then printing her artwork onto the fabrics which are then finished by hand.
Recognised as a true champion of design, Emma has many accolades to her name, including the 2013 Emerging Fashion Brand prize from WGSN and the CFE 2013 Fashion Venture Award for Fashion Pioneer. She’s collaborated with Nicholas Kirkwood, Camira Fabrics and Graham & Brown, and has just moved into her own London studio.
After lovingly studying the alchemy of Emma’s work, we’ve decided it’s the bold colour, intricate detail, and magical subject matter of her work that fuse in a very specific way to please the eye so well. We want to wrap ourselves up in her prints, hang them on our walls, and stare at them all day long. Emma launched her label at London Fashion Week 2012, and having established her name so effectively in just two years, we can’t wait to see what’s next for her and where she’ll look to for inspiration next.
Words: Daniella Golden | @DYGolden