Zara Afflick is the founder of Box of Prints.
Tell us about Box of Prints!
Box of Prints specialises in creating uniquely printed fabrics. We help people bring their stories to life through print design. Our motto is ‘prints with a purpose.’ We produce in-house prints for interior or fashionwear fabrics made from quality silks or cottons.
We encourage others to get creative and design their own prints, from concept all the way to final piece. Our print workshops give customers a taste of the many fabric-printing processes.
Recently we introduced Design and Earn which gives upcoming designers, who have a collection of designs ready, a 20% commission on their print if it’s bought via our website.
Who do you work with?
We work with everyone but our main customer base is women and children. Children can be really creative, they want to make, they’ve got designs, and mothers love seeing their children turn their drawings into something beautiful. We’ve also worked with graduate designers to produce fabrics for their early collections.
Which printing techniques do you use?
We do batik (Indonesian wax printing), sublimation and traditional screen-printing. We print up to three metres in-house and for higher volumes we work with a cotton mill in Bradford.
What’s your relationship to Tottenham?
I grew up in Islington where the culture is completely different. My parents are Jamaican and since being in Tottenahm, I’ve felt a greater connection to my culture. There are no Caribbean food shops or black hairdressers in Islington! Tottenham’s the home place for my business, and in a weird way, I feel like it’s my home too.
How do you feel print and design can tell a story?
There’s the emotion of colour and there’s the emotion of imagery. It’s like therapy. When I sit down with someone who hasn’t got a design but they’ve got a story, I simply ask, ‘How are you feeling now? What colours do you see?’ Of course there’s the obvious ones, people will often say ‘red for anger’, but sometimes it’s not red, sometimes it’s blue. ‘Why do you see blue?’ Perhaps they remember waking up and the sky was blue at the time they were angry. It’s bringing the feeling and what you see together. Certain colours or shapes evoke different emotions and lead to a more striking print design.
Can you tell us about your first in house collection, Lost Memories?
Lost Memories is my reflection of my experience of seeing my grandmother suffer with Alzheimer’s disease. She passed away eight years after her diagnosis. It’s a sad thing, but I never got connected to my own self and emotions in that way before. I’d never really had time to reflect on it. It was only afterwards, when I travelled to Jamaica and did some research, that I began to understand the disease and how it truly affected my grandmother.
My grandmother would start naming towns in Jamaica, which I couldn’t relate to at the time, and when I got there I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, Higgin Town is real. This is what grandma was talking about!’ I got to learn more about my own history. I took the time to really get to know my grandmother’s life journey. This helped me to feel more connected to her. I want customers to have that same connection with their print – I want them to love it!
The success of Lost Memories has allowed me to donate 10% from its sales to the Alzheimer’s Society.
What have you got coming up?
At the end of November, I’ll be introducing Print & Prosecco Nights in our studio at the 639 Enterprise Centre. It’s a two and a half hour session including bottomless prosecco for £25. Participants will print items such as a tote bag, apron or cup. It’s a fun and interactive way to get creative.
This December, you’ll see our new collection The Falling. It’s inspired by the different patterns snowflakes make. We use colours that aren’t usually seen at Christmas: lilacs, purples, blues, but you’ll still get the feeling of Christmas.
We also want to continue to run workshops to inspire others to create prints with a meaning.
This article first appeared in the Craft issue of Discovering Tottenham which was released in November 2018.