The English Eccentrics archive is tucked away in the revamped creative hub of London’s King’s Cross, just a stone’s throw from the famous fashion college, Central Saint Martins, part of University of the Arts. The college has a rich and storied history within the industry as well as with our founder, Helen David, who received a postgraduate degree in Fashion Illustration from Central Saint Martins after graduating with a BA in Textiles and Fine Art from Camberwell College of Arts.
As the English Eccentrics story continues into its next chapter, the archive still plays an important role as all previous collections are stored by year until the present day. One of our beautiful new scarf prints, Gaia, dating from 1990, only ever existed as a painting by Helen. This is the first time it has been applied to fabric so this really is from our secret archive. Gaia can now be rediscovered on our website and available for purchase in a lovely range of colours.
The original artwork is often considered ahead of its time, as it focuses on caring for the planet and our natural resources. Pushkin and Tapestry have also been taken from the archive and their supporting runway and sketchbook images provide original records. They are now available for purchase through our online store. Pushkin was a runway only print; it’s now available as clothing for the first time.
As with all of our prints, the themes are timeless and remain relevant across different generations. The designs celebrate skilled craftsmanship, they are inspired by varied concepts including spirituality.
Amongst a vast collection of books on architecture and artists over the centuries, you will find Helen David’s sketchbooks, dating back to 1977 when she was a first-year student at university. The sketchbooks illustrate Helen’s research methods and even act as a diary in recording her ideas and commentaries on each print.
From pocket notepads to huge A2 sized books, our story’s evolution can be followed as it is illustrated through intricate drawings, vibrant paintings and thoughtful collage. The inspiration behind each print is cultivated from multiple sources such as contemporary pop culture and travel and artfully transferred to clothing and accessories with Helen’s signature eye for detail.
From as early as 1977, Helen was noting down her thoughts in terms of taste and documenting her predictions for the forthcoming decade, the era in which English Eccentrics would make their name at the forefront of both textiles design and London’s emerging fashion scene.
The English Eccentrics story weaves its way through diary entries and notes taken on everything from mixing colours for new patterns to meetings with members of the fashion press and deadlines for creating the next print for each season.
With a little searching, you will be able to find rare pieces from the first runway collection shown at London Fashion Week entitled Arctic, from 1985, inspired by a flight Helen took over the impressive Canadian landscape. A replica hat that was originally created for this collection was featured in the V&A exhibition, Club to Catwalk completing a full ensemble alongside two ensembles in other well known prints, Gaudi and Hands.
Remembered for re-presenting the silk scarf and scarf shirt for a new generation, the archive allows visitors to explore these fascinating and important pieces of London and the UK’s fashion history.
The collections and images within the archive have been digitised, allowing decades of fashion historical records from the company to be accessed instantly. For each year English Eccentrics has created prints, they can be found via a tagged and regularly updated digital archive of everything in storage and beyond.
For example, video footage of famous catwalk shows such as Freudian Slips 1987 and War and Peace from 1997 are ready to watch as well as catwalk images of each look. Alongside this, it is also possible to access images of photoshoots and some limited photographs from the English Eccentrics store and its marketing images through different incarnations over the years.
Explore the unique stories behind Pushkin, Gaia and Tapestry on our online store and fall in love with the beautiful prints available to purchase now.