California Dreaming with Alice Allum

If you’ve visited our Gertrude Street store any time in the last month, you can’t have missed the illustrations adorning our shopfront. This season, we’ve been lucky enough to work with Alice Allum — a London-based textiles designer and illustrator, whose unique snapshots of classic Californian landscapes have met their perfect match with our summer collection.

From London to California, and now Fitzroy’s Gertrude Street, Alice’s Desert Print has totally transformed HANDSOM’s glass facade. Alongside the Postcard Prints, sent to us from three of her favourite landscapes along the West Coast of the United States, our collaboration balances the vibrancy of a Californian summer with easy-wearing and relaxed pieces that are made for the Melbourne sun.

When living in the US for 6 months with her husband, Alice found herself drawn to the Californian coastline. Never missing an opportunity to escape to the countryside or coast, the Postcard and Desert Prints became a way to ‘work on something different to what I saw in my everyday life’, Alice says.

Travelling with both her sketch-book and camera, Alice produced a collection of photographs from across California, only to reflect upon them with immediate nostalgia when returning home to London.

Alice chose three locations to develop into the Postcard Prints — Palm Springs, Joshua Tree and the Big Sur — because of how truly iconic they are. ‘You don’t have to have visited any of these places to know where they are in the world’, she says.

The reminiscent nature of a postcard is, as Alice puts it, both ‘timeless and fun’. Using classic HANDSOM design, that’s exactly what we wanted the Postcard Tees to be.

‘I like the idea of a postcard being a snapshot in time or a little window into a holiday’, Alice says. The Palm Springs Print is her favourite, as it does exactly that.  ‘I can remember the moment I took the picture so well. I was in our motel and I felt like I was on a Wes Anderson film set — everything around me felt so visually pleasing’, she says. 

Like all of Alice’s work, the illustrations are abstract, with wavy lines and brush stroke-like textures. Combining her use of pastel colours and sketchy mark-making, Alice has maintained the softness of her signature style whilst accurately depicting the dramatic aesthetic of each landscape. By adjusting the tones to suit our palette, and incorporating signature silhouettes, HANDSOM has adapted the prints in a way that ‘feels quite Californian in itself’, she says.

For Alice, the most exciting thing about this collaboration is the new life it gives to her illustrations. ‘To see my work come alive on pieces of clothing is so exciting — especially when it’s for a brand I love, like HANDSOM’ she says. ‘It gives the artwork tactility and movement’.

Choose your favourite Postcard Print and send it to a friend, or shop our Desert Print summer favourites. Limited sizes are available now, in-store and online.

Words by Victoria Hermitage