A trip to the Cornershop; we grabbed creators Lara, Micaela and Ryan to discover the stories and structures behind this growing London based clothing brand.
Photography by Edinburgh-based Connor O'Sullivan and Fernando Mosler.
Models: University of Edinburgh students.
Amongst the growing numbers of street instagrammers with their rose- embroidered Gucci and limited edition Supreme tees, you will find the colourful account belonging to The Cornershop. The pictures capture young adults in crisp relaxed tees, popping with screen- printed colour and embroidered doodles. In a fashion scene filled with brand hoarding teens and profit fuelled young labels, The Cornershop is a breath of fresh air. The brand, created in 2014, began with the London based trio Lara, Micaela and Ryan procrastinating whilst studying for A-Levels. Each providing equally useful skills to bring to the new idea, they have since brought out collections of t-shirts featuring bold screen prints and Micaela’s funky doodles.
We first met Lara when she began at the University of Edinburgh last year, having since helped educate the Lux dream team with her website knowledge and brand promotion. Often seen in a bright hue of yellow (a fantastically cheerful jacket), Lara can be described as a photoshop whizz machine who churns out designs and ideas just hours after you’ve hinted at them. Micaela has since travelled up to Edinburgh and can often be spotted doodling in a corner in an amazingly tinged turquoise co-ord, or experimenting with various face-distorting Snapchat filters. Currently studying Film and Television production at New York University, it’s Ryan’s professional photos of youthful people in slouchy tees that will catch your eye. The brand is growing, with the threesome managing to juggle university and an increased demand for their brand.
We grabbed them for a chat about the secrets of the trade…
What // Where do you study?
All originally from London.
Micaela: Fine Art (Newcastle University)
Lara: Business Studies (University of Edinburgh)
Ryan: Film & Television Production (New York University)
"As the sun started to go down, along with our blood sugar levels, one of us suggested it as a plea for a chocolate run while the other took it as potential name."
When did you first begin to entertain the idea of starting up The Cornershop?
The Cornershop started in 2014, with just two of us (Micaela and Lara), out of procrastination and boredom with the uncreative world of hoop jumping/ A-levels. We wanted to make something playful and bold which was more genuine than what was already in the market. As we had to learn everything from scratch (screen-printing, Adobe editing, our ABCs, coding), the whole premise was that we were just picking things up as we went.
Ryan then joined a couple of months later (after taking one look at our poor photo skills). Having a team with various creative backgrounds and styles allows us to run The Cornershop as an experimental and collaborative project, which was the ultimate intent when we started it.
In the beginning, we allocated a whole day to coming up with a name
that showed people who we were as a brand, whilst also being catchy and accessible and relaxed. As the sun started to go down, along with our blood sugar levels, one of us suggested it as a plea for a chocolate run while the other took it as potential name.
We love the intricacy and random assortment of the doodles. Why did you settle on this style of design?
We usually start from Micaela’s sketchbooks and then Lara and Ryan spend quite a long time reworking and doing mock-ups on Photoshop/ Illustrator. Often we have a few designs going at once, which we then ask our friends to rank and give input on.
For example, with the embroidered pink doodle shirt, we thought it would be fun to have a shirt which brought a lot of separate doodles together as a collective. Otherwise, the style of our screen-printed designs is primarily a result of the limitations of the DIY screen-printing process (clean, thicker lines and a small colour palate).
Favourite doodle? Favourite piece you’ve marketed/sold?
Micaela: The TCS Dancer design! I recently drew an angler fish which didn’t get chosen but there are plenty more fish in the sea, look out for him in the future maybe... I personally love the jellyfish top, so comfy and the colour goes super well with the design. Also, the long sleeve is good for keeping us warm up north...
Lara: Depends on the occasion… if I’m feeling jazzy I’ll wear the Striped Tee but the Doodle Tee has a special place in my heart, since I spent a ridiculous number of hours editing and cleaning up the designs.
Flicking through your Instagram, Tumblr and website, we see informal, relaxed portraits of ‘Friends of The Cornershop’ with light hues and relaxed stances. Do you enjoy being able to make one item of clothing that can create this image of a relaxed, young person?
L: Yes! We feel this is so important because we wanted to assemble a collection of photos of our friends bringing their own vibe to the designs. We want to put out shirts which our friends and others can inhabit and make their own. Since TCS prides itself on the group of people that surround us and the ever growing Cornershop Collective which continues to evolve and create new collaborations.
Are you enjoying beginning to market outside of London in Edinburgh?
It’s been strange to introduce TCS to people who haven’t seen the entire progression of it but everyone has been so lovely and welcoming at each of our Uni’s. Although, we are still learning how to juggle it from 3 different cities and 2 time zones, we have met so many friendly people in these places to spread The Cornershop word!
We are yet to break the 7 continent barrier (someone from Antarctica
holla at us). Otherwise, Australia or Japan is probably the furthest? Apologies if you do actually order from there – Royal Mail takes their own sweet ass time (3-4 weeks) to deliver!
Ryan: Every time we're about to release a new design, or when a photographer sends us an amazing shoot. Waiting for creative response from Lara and Micaela on some new design mock-ups I think are going in the right direction. Making a whole bunch of sales in succession, or seeing someone wearing one of our shirts!
What’s been the most exciting moment for you in the creation of The Cornershop?
Micaela: For me it has to be when we first launched The Cornershop. The feeling of putting out there something you are proud of and have worked really hard at, watching it developing into something big with your friends/workmates has been really exciting!
Lara: It has to be the first time we got an order from someone we didn’t know. It seemed so shocking that our little project had gotten out of the North London bubble since the internet/ social media is such an endless abyss.
Ryan: My favourite will be the next line we're going to start work on. We are beginning to expand to more than shirts and that's very exciting and we can really experiment with it.
We noticed Jessica Anne Woodley follows your Instagram page. How does it feel to know that someone famous follows you and sees your work?
We are delighted to see that she (/anyone) likes our stuff! We love her style and are excited to keep spreading the word :)
Can you take us through the process of coming up with an idea for a tee to selling it?
We cross the Sahara desert on Shetland ponies until we see a mirage and then print the shirts using our hope and hot sand as ink and then we get back home just in time for tea (a magician never tells his tricks).
Sssh... grab 20% off now with the code LUXMAG online
PS. Check out the Lux x The Cornershop limited edition stickers we’ll be handing out for free around campus! Keep watching our Instagram and Facebook for info.