Walpole, promoter of British luxury, has announced its final line up for 2016's Brands of Tomorrow – 12 handpicked British labels that are pioneering innovation in the luxury sector. In return for qualifying for the final list, each brand will receive mentoring from leaders of Britain's finest luxury labels including Bremont, Rolls Royce and Alexander McQueen, amongst others – providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from the best. The final list includes:
The Fold – A contemporary womenswear label designed in London and made in Europe. Co-founder Polly McMaster has said "Looking as smart as a man in his bespoke suit gives a woman the same level of confidence and gravitas at work. The idea for The Fold came out of that need. We believe that being serious at work shouldn't compete with being interested in fashion."
Blaze – A global urban cycling brand founded in 2012 by keen cyclist Emily Brooke. The brand's flagship bike light has already been installed into London's renowned Santander Cycles and proved a great success. Now, Blaze's latest Laserlight model is also looking to revolutionise road safety by projecting a cycling symbol onto the road 6 metres in front of the bike, giving cyclists a larger footprint on the road alert other vehicles and pedestrians to their approach.
Milli Millu – A London-based luxury handbag brand founded by designer Mireia Llusia-Lindh, who spotted a gap in the market to create a truly multifaceted handbag that could be both stylish, functional and luxurious. Each bag is handcrafted in the south of Spain and features a signature interior designed to fit a laptop and work essentials.
Half Hitch Gin – Produced in the Victorian vaults of Camden Lock (previously a centre for gin making), Mark Holdsworth's multi-award winning Half Hitch Gin is made using a blend of black tea, pepper, English wood, bergamot and English wood. Inspired by the area's rich gin distilling heritage, Holdsworth's gin is proudly local and takes its name from the half hitch rope knot used by those mooring their barges along Camden Lock.
Aurelia Probiotic Skincare – New British skincare brand Aurelia offers cutting-edge probiotic technology combined with 100% BioOrganic botanical formulations to deliver effective skincare. Products focus on managing the level of inflammation within the skin – the main cause of skin aging, by moderating molecules called sytokines. So far the formulas have proved a popular – selected by Net-A-Porter just 8 weeks into trading.
Richard Brendon – A British product designer passionate about regenerating heritage craft industries, Richard Brendon's skill lies in transforming past elements into striking modern designs. Brendon founded his studio in 2012, and has since specialised in design and production of contemporary tableware. All of the designer's fine bone china is made in Stoke-on-Trent, where Josiah Spode perfected the formula for the delicate crockery in the late 18th century.
Monreal London – A British active wear brand founded by Stefani Grosse in 2012, combining high-quality designer aesthetics with technical performance. Grosse has a history in fashion design, working for brands such as Donna Karan and Calvin Klein. Now her brand has acquired celebrity fans of its own, including Victoria Beckham, Pippa Middleton and pro-golfer Anna Rawson.
Cubitts – Cubitts offers modestly priced, handmade spectacles and sunglasses in classic British styles from the brand's home in King's Cross. Voted Start-up of the year by The Guardian, each frame takes its name from a street in or around the local area and the modernist principles of King's Cross station inspire the band's handmade spectacles cases.
Noble Isle – Inspired by the cultural riches of the British Isles, each Noble Isle product contains some of the best ingredients sourced from around the UK, including rhubarb from Yorkshire, perry pears from Gloucestershire and willow from Suffolk.
Penrose Products – This brand has sustainability and quality at the heart of its operation, offering luxury natural fibre bedding made from alpaca and sheep wool. The family run business make all their products in a Nottinghamshire workshop, where ever last scrap of fibre is put to use. All wool is sourced from the UK, and naturally organic and biodegradable.
Solomon & Wu – Applying contemporary aesthetics to traditional design, Solomon & Wu have designed retail spaces for everyone from Christian Louboutin to Alfred Dunhill, as well as residential and hospitality spaces. The brand's contemporary architectural elements include a wide range of custom designs such as mirrors, fittings, and hardware.
Tom Raffield – Out of their workshop in Cornwall, Raffield and his team create handcrafted wooden lighting and furniture inspired by the flowing forms of nature. The designs use sustainable and low-energy processes such as steam bending to create understated, chic homewares with a modern touch.