Zakee Shariff at Beyond the Valley

Beyond the Valley, London

Written by Sally Mumby-Croft

Zakee Shariff opened Beyond the Valley’s new pop up store last night with the added novelty of extremely tasty cupcakes and lovely illustrations. The abstract design titled ‘Multi Tri’ covered the walls from ceiling to floor, enveloping the viewer into the world of the collection. Earlier this year Shariff designed for the 100% organic, sweatshop free, ethically minded company Pants to Poverty.

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Pop up shops appear to be in fashion of late from Pam Hogg a few months ago, to ON|OFF’s pop up shop opening for London Fashion Week, to the Telegraph’s news of a New York/London boutique happening for one month in Newburgh street.

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The illustration and clothing designs share Amelia’s Magazine’s belief in the ability of whimsical abstract illustrations to convey a sense of happiness with nature and the elements to the viewer. As expressed through Shariff’s decision to name the collection after a song by the Steve Miller Band titled, Fly Like an Eagle:

I want to fly like an eagle
To the sea
Fly like an eagle
Let my spirit carry me
I want to fly like an eagle
Till I’m free
Oh, Lord, through the revolution.
Feed the babies
Who don’t have enough to eat
Shoe the Children
With no shoes on their feet
House the people
Livin’ in the street
Oh, Oh, there’s a solution.

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The lyrics capture and transform Shariff’s illustrations. The eagle, a favourite becomes a symbol of hope for the survival of nature. The song captures her desire for the garments to encourage good temper within an individual. Personally, I think that it would be hard to be bad tempered whilst wearing these delicate, ethereal designs. The eagle print soars and swoops in the imagination, flying through the abstract triangle forest adorning the gallery walls.

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The eagle dress titled Alice, accompanies the Ellie dress that favours a the femininity of the 1940’s.(a key autumn trend). Finally the Jacko cardigan is especially lovely, the wool is luxurious and is big enough to be the perfect winter cardigan for throwing over dresses.

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The pop up shop is open until the end of September, I say, head down before to see these lovely individual designs.

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Beyond the Valley champions new designers, jewelry makers and illustrators. The shop sees itself as a stepping-stone between the workshop and mass production, enabling young designers the opportunity to test market desire first

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