May 26 2011
Random Retail – an e-commerce site selling crisply graphic, hand-screenprinted cushions, tote bags and other homeware – is something of a misnomer. In fact, its collection is highly focused and coherent. “Our original idea was to sell an eclectic mix of things,” explains Joy Jolliffe, who co-founded the site with husband Steve in 2007. “But our printed cushions proved so popular we decided to concentrate on original screenprinted textiles.”
Steve and Joy – who studied graphic design and fashion respectively at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art – are based on the Isle of Wight. Aptly, their current collection of cushions and bags in various colourways, called New Morning, has a strongly maritime, summery flavour. The cushions (first picture: Alfie & Maud cushion) cost £35 each, the bags £25 each.
Most are printed on cream calico (making them look all the more airy), although one bag – described as “commodious and perfect for beach clobber” – is made of stripy, vintage deckchair fabrics (second picture).
Another calico tote pictures 1950s, Enid Blyton-esque teenagers larking about on a beach, while the cushions feature similarly retro motifs: folksy paisley shapes or letterpress typefaces recreating, say, a poster for a house auction in local village Sea View. (The Jolliffes are obsessed with quirky graphics on signs and posters found in junk shops.) There are also cushions with an avian theme – emblazoned with a graphic of an ostrich from an old French cotton sack containing semolina or a sparrow reminiscent of retro, currently very hip, tattoos.
There’s something appealingly logical about the fact that these quaint motifs are hand-screenprinted – and also that Random Retail has a sister website, an e-emporium touting vintage kitchenalia and books (£4 to £35), called www.theokcorral.co.uk.
Both sites sell lashings of homeware for lovers of all things retro, pretty and practical.