Brand Focus: Wynken
New in to Scout & Co, Wynken make clothes that kids love to wear. Founder, Elbe Lealman talks us through the collection.
Tell us about yourself and Wynken…
‘I live in Sydenham in London with my husband and children, Fara, 3ó, and Wren, 9 months. My background is in men’s and women’s fashion. I spent most of my career as head designer at Folk and left the day before I had Wren. When I was pregnant with Fara, lots of people asked if I’d design kidswear and I always said a strong “no”. Six months after having Fara, I sat on the sofa and realised I loved choosing her clothes. I couldn’t always find what I liked so I thought I might be able to offer something a bit different. It took time to figure out what Wynken was going to be and how it would look. What you see with the SS18 collection is the culmination of that thought process. It will always develop, but it’s a pretty true picture of me as a designer and Wynken as a brand.’
What’s special about Wynken clothes?
‘I want to design pieces that kids love to wear, so they feel comfy, love the colours, prints or feel of the fabric. At the same time I want parents to enjoy seeing their kids in it. I like seeing Fara in Wynken, it’s often playful but there are pieces which I myself might want to wear. I take care to make and design pieces that will last and be valued. The way the fabric texture works with prints or applications is important – it can’t be flat for me. I like clothes to have life in them, showing off natural fibres or a special embroidery.’
Tell us about your new SS18 collection, 'Greetings From Coney Island’…
‘The inspiration came from old photos of when I did my internship in New York in 1999. We often went to Coney Island because it had this crazy market with old rides and attractions. Seeing the photos brought back a lot of strong memories: I had an amazing experience living in NYC and hope my kids do it one day. The 70s film The Warriors, which is set in NYC and Coney Island, also inspired me. I love the era and the film has amazing clothes so we came up with a Coney Island gang of clowns who wear huge trousers, drink soda, play baseball and listen to music instead of anything too sinister. The phrase “Can you dig it?” is from the film and features on a print in the collection, too.’
What’s your favourite piece from SS18?
‘The Ecru Love Machine Jacket: it’s cool but ultimately playful. That’s what I’m striving for: I want my kids to look good but not like little adults. This jacket with its printed sleeves and embroidery on the front and back has a lovely balance of textures, too.’
What’s the best part about running your own business?
‘When protos (first stage development samples) and print strike-offs come in. Seeing what you have drawn and imagined come to fruition is dynamite.’
What inspires you creatively?
‘With Wynken, it can be song lyrics, films, graphics, my experiences or simply an awesome colour on an old scrap of fabric.’
Do you design with your kids in mind?
‘I think about Fara but as she’s going through the princess phase I’m being selective! We also have ginger hair so some colours suit us better than others. I think about a lot of different boys and girls we know as Wynken needs to suit everyone, particularly the unisex pieces.’
Is Fara a Wynken fan?
‘Fara will wear a lot of Wynken, but there are some inevitable “no” moments. My biggest sadness was buying a pair of amazing vintage cut-off Levi’s that she point-blank refused. I mix up Wynken on her with Maed for Mini, Mini Rodini and, yes, the sparkly leggings that I won’t admit to being one of her favourites.’
What’s next for Wynken?
‘Adding a few women’s pieces is natural given my background (watch out for twinning!) but I don’t want to detract from my main focus: making the most awesome collections that I possibly can.'