Alfred & Wilde is an East-London based design brand producing art prints, stationery and homewares featuring bold metallics and cool graphics.
Founded by artist and designer Simon Mitchell in 2013, Alfred & Wilde draws inspiration from the architecture and history of London (and beyond), using geometric shapes and typography to create beautiful printed designs. From modernist tower blocks in East London to cabinets of curiosity in the Science Museum, hand-pulled screen prints, textiles, stationery and jewellery bring you a touch of luxury with sumptuous metallic inks and foiling.
We caught up with founder Simon Mitchell in his East London studio to find out more about him and the brand.
What’s your story? Can you share a brief history of how you’ve got to where you are now?
I studied Fine Art at university at London, but decided to leave the art world afterwards and ended up working in marketing for a charity. But after five years of office life, I was desperate to get my creative juices flowing again. I originally conceived of Alfred & Wilde as a project I could do in my spare time, to give myself a creative outlet and make some extra money. But I am now full tim e Alfred & Wilde and braving the world of self-employment.
Is there a story behind the name?
The name is inspired by Oscar Wilde and his secret lover Lord Alfred Douglas. I didn’t think my own name sounded good enough!
How would you describe your style?
Bold metallics and cool graphics.
Was there ever a point where you questioned if you could do it? How did you get through it?
I am full of self doubt as most artists are. I think handling the accounts and bookkeeping side of the business regularly tests my limits. But it all feels worth it when your designs sell or you meet a happy customer.
What was the first piece of work you ever sold? What was it and who did you sell it to? How did you feel?
I remember vividly. It was a Hackney Empire tea towel to an online customer and I rang my mum straight away!
Where does your inspiration come from?
I’m inspired by London; the fashion, architecture and design is so iconic and exciting, and always changing . I try to channel that into my designs.
What are you currently working on?
I have just finished a collaboration with the Science Museum where I’ve produced a range of cards, mugs and tea towels. I am now working on some new collaborations with other big retailers.
What challenges are you facing right now?
I have set myself ambitious financial targets this year, and I am working out whether I need to get a part-time staff member or a paid intern. They would be a big financial commitment.
What/Who would be your dream design gig?
I’m not sure I could top Science Museum really! I am a bit of a science geek. Perhaps Natural History Museum next?!
Looking ahead what are your major goals for the next couple of years?
I would like to reach a size where I can sustainably employ staff, and start having some time off.
Quick fire question round!
Who’s your favourite designer? Can I say a brand? If so, then HAY, or Darkroom.
How would you describe your brand in 3 words? Metallics, colourful, geometric
What are you reading at the moment? I just read I Am Pilgrim. It was unputdownable, but quite intense.
What are your favourite hobbies? I like running, and going to festivals (if going to festivals a hobby? I think so)
What’s your most treasured possession? Sadly, it is probably my Macbook. I’d be totally screwed without it!
Simon Mitchell studied Fine Art in London before working in marketing for a charity for 5 years. In 2013, he set up East London-design brand Alfred & Wilde in his spare time. He now works full time on Alfred & Wilde producing a range of art prints, stationery and homewares featuring bold metallics and cool graphics. Alfred & Wilde products are now available online and in independent shops and boutiques across the UK and Europe. He recently completed a collaboration with the Science Museum in London producing a collection of Christmas cards and homewares for their gift shops.