Monday, 28 January 2013

The Liberty Best of British Open Call 2013

Since I was very young I have loved visiting Liberty in London. It isn't only the most beautiful shop, with gorgeous architectural details and a wonderfully serene atmosphere but it also has a bedazzling array  of luxury designer merchandise in its many different departments. It is food for my creative soul just to visit and to wander.

Even when I have been almost broke its been such a treat to buy a little something scrummy and take it home in its distinctive, gold lettered, purple bag.

So after many years of admiring the work of the other designers I thought I'd register to show mine! Being BRAVE remember!

I registered in the summer last year and before Christmas I got a letter inviting  me to join the other 2,000 designers and artists to show my work to one of the panels of experts from Liberty. 

January 12th arrived! The day  for The Liberty Best of British Open Call 2013!

It was a freezing cold winter's day. The doors opened at 10am but people were queueing from about 6am. By the time we got there at 10, the queue reached around 2 sides of the store.  We would waiting for hours in the chilly British weather so we wrapped up well. We were asked to bring only what we could easily carry and to have protection from the rain.

I took my DH with me for company. He is such a great support but he hates queueing! However, it was lucky that he promised  not to complain as we eventually had to wait  for 5  1/2 hours!! (2 hours outside, the rest going up 4 flights of stairs and in the waiting area) We did get to go away and have lunch at a lovely little patisserie for a treat though. 

The great thing that made the time go faster was that there were so many interesting people to watch! All kinds of artists, all ages, all kinds of products. It was fascinating to see some of them practising their pitches, revising their prices and talking about their inspiration.

We did get a peek at some of their designs: Gold jewellery, screen printed scarves, and lots of different designer cushions.

I took 3 different kinds of things and was registered to see the buyers of the Home department. When I got into the room where I would be doing my 3 minute pitch I was so thrilled to be told that I would be seeing Julie Hassan the Senior Buying Manager for Home, and Harriet Patterson the Style Director of Living Etc Magazine.

The lovely thing about the Liberty Open Call is that although they only take about 10 out of the 2,000 designers they see on the day, everyone is treated so nicely. It isn't scary like Dragon's Den at all!  The staff are so friendly and helpful throughout the whole process.

This is a real chance to have your designs seen by some of the top professionals in the industry and get an honest and constructive appraisal of your work. They were so interesting to talk to and gave me some great feedback. I was there for longer than 3 minutes because they asked me lots of questions but it went like a flash! What a great experience and well worth waiting for.

The youtube video link below will show you Liberty's own clips of the day.



  1. Really interesting recollection of your day. Fascinating Paula! I looked at the Liberty video as well, and then (as you do) saw another which was about their Autumn 2012 fabric collection
    That's worth a watch as well!