I went to the Laura Ashley reunion party last week to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the company by Laura and Bernard Ashley and their tiny print works in Pimlico. Ex-employees from all parts of the business met to reminisce and of course find out what everyone was up to.. What was really inspiring was the genuine warmth and enthusiasm we all still felt for the old company, after so many years – something Nick Ashley talked about with great fondness. Times have changed, so has Laura Ashley, but it was good to be reminded of how iconic and influential the brand was in its heyday and to catch up with lovely friends from the past.
I joined Laura Ashley straight after graduating where I worked as a designer in the home furnishing department. I absolutely loved my time there, it was so inspiring and without doubt the experience I gained has had a huge influence on the creative work I have done since – it’s really no surprise that I’m back, in a way, where I began – happily designing and printing textiles.
The Bowes Museum in Country Durham is celebrating the 60th anniversary with the exhibition “Laura Ashley – The Romantic Heroine” which runs until 5th January 2014 . 70 dresses are on show, borrowed from the Laura Ashley archive and the Fashion Museum in Bath http://www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk. If you’d like to know more about the history of Laura Ashley, the book “Laura Ashley” by Martin Wood, published by Frances Lincoln Ltd. gives a great insight into the business as well the designs and of course Laura herself.