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Charlie Kwai: Wonderers

Work / Fashion

Meet the dream team behind kids brand Wonderers (nb. you may recognise most of them)

This year a trio of London-based friends launched kids fashion brand, Wonderers. Kevin King you might know as the founder and curator of annual design exhibition Secret 7”. Verity Onions has worked as a fashion buyer, and is now at the British Fashion Council. Lily Gill has worked in-house as a knitwear designer for Marc Jacobs, McQ and Burberry. Once they enlisted Bruce Usher to do the graphic design and Charlie Kwai to shoot the lookbook, they had established a veritable dream team of creative talent.

The start-up brand came about, Kevin explains, when two things merged: the desire to collaborate on a project of their own, and all three having their first child on the horizon. “Kidswear was suddenly front of mind, and after a little research we thought we could make something different to what was largely on offer, and have fun with compared to mens or womenswear,” he says. It all kicked off last October, with collections launching to buyers in January, which have landed in stores ready for AW17.

For the branding, Kevin says he and the team wanted to celebrate young people’s intrigue, confidence and “appreciative way of interacting with the world”. He asked designer Bruce Usher to convey that wide-eyed view with a bold, positive and fun aesthetic. “Bruce added so much. We’ve worked together a few times before, so I knew it would go well. He’d shut me down when I got too deep in pushing the philosophy behind ‘wonder’ and then distill it perfectly through the design. He helped us get a clear sense of what Wonderers meant to us as the collection and brand came together simultaneously.”

Then when it came to product shots, the trio invited Charlie Kwai to bring his knack for purity and honesty in photography. “We wanted the shots to be unposed, to document a fun day out in London for the kids. It was enjoyable but hard work. What do you do when an eight-year-old refuses to wear something on a shoot!?

“We started in my flat, headed to Hackney Marshes via an old-school sweet shop, and ended up bowling. What was lovely was how the idea behind the brand was naturally present in the day, like the children getting madly excited about going on a London bus, something as adults living here we become numb to the joy of.” One of the models, Edith, even took some of the photographs herself after a quick lesson from Charlie.

Now the collection has been picked up by Liberty, London and Isetan, Tokyo, along with another half a dozen boutique stores in Europe, and the team has already started work on AW18.

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Bruce Usher: Wonderers

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Charlie Kwai: Wonderers

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Charlie Kwai: Wonderers

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Charlie Kwai: Wonderers

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Charlie Kwai: Wonderers

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Charlie Kwai: Wonderers

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Charlie Kwai: Wonderers

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Charlie Kwai: Wonderers

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Charlie Kwai: Wonderers

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Charlie Kwai: Wonderers

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Charlie Kwai: Wonderers

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Charlie Kwai: Wonderers

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Bruce Usher: Wonderers

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Bruce Usher: Wonderers

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Bruce Usher: Wonderers