Article: Creative Director, Vicky, shares creating the XV ranges.

Article: Creative Director, Vicky, shares creating the XV ranges.

Hello Take X readers, I'm Vicky, the creative director at XV.  Meeting Izzey and having the opportunity to work for XV stripes has just been amazing!

This project has brought all of the things I enjoy together. We’ve created a product which I absolutely love am proud to have on the market. Izzey has equally become a dear friend to me.  She has inspired me so much in a business sense. Izzey is quite an incredible lady. When XV was about to launch, it was super exciting. We really hope you see the passion that has gone into our collections and enjoy reading the stories of how we got here.

How we created XV Cowes ranges

Sharing with you the process of how we created our printed items, is similar to how we would create beskpoke pieces for customers.

In May 2019, we had the most gorgeous day exploring the Isle of Wight. It was my first time. My mum was visiting that week, and Izzey invited her along too! We got the fast ferry over to the island and met Izzey at the dock. We had a full itinerary:

  • tour of the marina, ogling the magnificent boats.
  • visiting local rigging shops, understanding old and new equipment
  • walk around Cowes
  • vintage sailing shops and venues
  • lunch in Yarmouth
  • drive around the island.

Izzey shared sailing stories and history of the island. I took lots of photos as we walked through places and towns. My favourite boat was ‘Ursula’ which appears in our designs. This name stood out as it is one of my bestselling styles from my wedding dress business, it was also a particularly stunning boat.

There was so much inspiration and so many ideas discussed during the day. The plan for the eventual collection was to:

  • have a nostalgic feel of Cowes and the Isle of wight
  • have illustrations to really reflect this day
  • bring a strong nautical feel to the designs
  • have hand-drawn detail, to balance the bold blue stripes
  • have a personal touch.

We passed this really sweet second-hand shop that sold vintage shipping charts. We bought a few of these, which feature in our final designs. We visited a sailing club where there was a gorgeous old wooden helm and an abundance of sailing club flags, all included within our designs.

All of these little things we found and photographed, to add depth to the designs. It had to have a really personal touch in my opinion.  It is important at the start of a project to explore your subject. Get first-hand experience. When my mum looks at all the design now, she says ‘It takes me right back to that day’.

Finding inspiration for cushions and wallpaper

We drove around the island, Izzey showing us her favourite spots. One of mine was this cute little cove surrounded by wooden holiday homes. This little enclave of water had scattered little boats around it, with a boat house that overlooked the ocean. There was something about this spot I really loved. This scene features in both our Cowes Mural Wallpaper as well as our cushions. 

We had an amazing lunch and glass of wine at ‘The George’ in Yarmouth. It overlooks the waters edge. Then we explored the marina. It was the day before a regatta, for old boats, commonly known as ‘gaffers’. There was a lovely feeling in the air. The marina was full of these beautifully restored boats covered, in tiny multicoloured flags. Several of these feature in our prints. We chatted to this lovely old gent who invited ust onto his boat and told us all about it.

From inspiration to designing

I came away from this day overloaded with ideas of how to turn this beautiful part of the world into a piece of art. I love old toile de jouy wallpapers, and this was the style I wanted to achieve. Then we went through the hundreds of photos taken that day:

  • helms
  • flags
  • boats
  • rope
  • lobster catches
  • chains
and selected images that conveyed the story we wanted to tell.

    Over a couple of months I drew all of the elements with a fine liner pen. Each drawing to be an exquisite work of art. None of our artworks are digital. Everything is created by hand; it's what ensures our products are unique and quite special.

    After drawing all the elements, they were scanned into Adobe Photoshop, to create the layouts. Whether that be for our wallpapers, lamps or cushions. Every detail is VERY important to us. We worked on all of our layouts for several weeks until we were completely happy. Every element was perfectly placed.

    For the Cowes Mural Wallpaper, we developed a couple of different colour ways. One where the pen-line and background colour is inverted. The other where I painted a watercolour overlay. I’m thrilled with the outcome of the designs and hope you like them too.

    Should customers decide to commission a bespoke design with us, the process would be similar. Whether we meet you in person or virtually, understanding your world through pictures, colour, feel, your direct input will be key to creating a unique product. Whatever your request, we will work with you on a one-to-one-basis, to ensure that your bespoke piece has the same quality as our XV ranges.


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