A love of souvenirs
A thing that is kept as a reminder of a place, person, or event.
There is just something about bringing back a souvenir from your travels. Whether it be something you purchased or something you found. From that just the right side of wrong tourist t-shirt to the perfect shell from a favourite beach, somehow these objects are imbued with everything you felt and experienced on that trip. When you see them the memories come flooding back.
I love collecting holiday souvenirs and many inspire creatively. As a result I thought I would look back at the origins of this favourite pastime of mine.
A brief history of the souvenir
The first travel souvenirs are believed to be a collection of amber beads, which were originally from Scandinavia, and were found in Ireland. These date back as far as 980BC.
Between 500-1400AD souvenirs were centred around religious relics and shrines. They ranged from pilgrims chipping off pieces of buildings and statues, collecting holy water, through to what could be described as the first mass produced souvenir, the pilgrim badge.
During the mid 1600s all the way up until the mid 1800s young wealthy travellers embarked on what was known as the Grand Tour of Europe. The main purpose of this coming-of-age trip was to see works of art from classical antiquity and the Renaissance. There was also the chance to hear certain forms of music that might not otherwise be possible where they lived. As part of this cultural experience travellers would collect souvenirs along the way. These consisted of paintings, clothes, and sculptures.
In the 1950s as prosperity increased travel became more affordable. As Nicky Albrechtsen and Fola Solanke state in their book ‘Scarves’ souvenirs during this time became not only mementos “of the holiday destination itself, but also of the mode of travel”. One item that particularly leant itself to being a versatile blank canvas was the headscarf, which at the time was a vital part of a woman’s travel wardrobe.
These days one could say the equivalent would be the tourist t-shirt. Both often feature catchy slogans and images of local scenery. They can be easily transported back home in a suitcase and act as advertisements for the country or location.
My take on the travel souvenir
I have always been drawn to the idea of travel souvenirs for my designs. My love of tourist t-shirts runs deep, and I am always on the hunt for a gem whilst on holiday. And to me the silk scarf acts as the perfect canvas to capture those picture postcard memories.
The Es Vedrà t-shirt
The Es Vedrà t-shirt is my take on the tourist t-shirt. It features one of my drawings, a sketch of a young woman wearing a wide brimmed sunhat gazing out toward the mythical island at sunset. Beneath the image sit the coordinates for Es Vedrà. It is screen printed on a lilac base using vivid pink and orange, key colours from the collection.
Greetings from Ibiza scarf
I see the silk scarves as artworks, which will form part of an ongoing series called ‘Greetings from’. This first one in the series takes its’ inspiration from Ibiza. The design celebrates the landscape, architecture and nature of the island. It depicts the Mediterranean Sea, a sunset, rustic finca, cactus and the famous flamingos.
The vivid colours represent the islands’ energy, but also compliment the colours used in our Island Dreams collection. The two female characters reflect both the contemplative side to the island and its' more hedonistic one. And of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a dreamcatcher to symbolise Ibiza’s more free-spirited mystical side.
Shop the Greetings from Ibiza scarf.
Shop the Es Vedrà t-shirt.