British brand Toast is now turning its attention to the home, having traditionally concentrated on womenswear during its 22-year history. Thanks to the recently appointed head of home, Judith Harris, there’s a renewed focus on beautifully made, rich textiles, cookware and dining table favourites, as the brand builds new relationships with skilled craftspeople and artisans around the world.
‘I think storytelling is what sets us apart,’ explains Harris. ‘We encourage a considered, slower approach and our collection is full of unique pieces.’ Their tales are transportative: indigo-dyed Shiburi textiles made into cushions by a small, skilled community in China close to the Himalayan Plateau; handheld fans crafted from bamboo in Cambodia; lightweight Finnish wool blankets and rumpled heavy linens from Lithuania.
As well as looking far afield, Toast will also be championing homegrown talent – it has selected five emerging British creators and will be selling their handmade products in stores until December. The chosen few are (pictured, above from left) architect-turned-sculptor Nicholas Shurey, whose furniture and objects – carved with wood from Copenhagen’s forests – are part functional, part fantasy, and Ali Hewson, who uses slip trailing – a clay decorating technique – to create her hand-thrown ceramics, which are all expressive dashes, dots and looping lines.
Then there’s husband and wife duo Takahashi McGil (third from left and far right), who are growing a reputation for blending new and old, crafting rice spoons and bowls from local hardwoods using time-honoured Japanese traditions alongside contemporary methods.
House of Quinn (aka Julius Arthur), meanwhile, brings traditional quilting techniques up to date with bold, sculptural lines and sustainable fabrics. Each of the designs from his collection ‘En Tir’ – Cornish for ‘of the land’ – are one-of-a-kind.
Finally, there’s Blue Firth, a Nottingham-based artist who turns her talents to crafting everything from screenprints to stoneware, creating bowls featuring abstract, feathery marks.
Work by these new names will sit alongside pieces by existing favourites – think pottery by Pip Hartle and studio Arran Street East. ‘Customers will notice much more space in our stores dedicated to homeware,’ says Harris. ‘Part of our vision is to take pleasure in the things we do on a day-to-day basis, rather than have things that are too precious.’ toa.st
This article first appeared in July 2019 issue of Elle Decoration
Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.