Squid aims to bring colour into peoples lives by designing practical yet fun colour changing rainwear that tickles everyone’s imagination.
Squid is an award winning international colour changing rainwear brand for adults and children. All products magically change colour in the rain!
Co-founders Viviane Jaeger and Emma-Jayne Parkes met at the London College of Fashion. Their idea and inspiration was colourful interaction with the rain, inspired by the artist Jackson Pollock and his incredible colour explosions. They thought ‘How cool would it be to walk down the street, it starts to rain and your clothes change colour?!” This idea initially translated into an umbrella as they saw the umbrella as a blank canvas upon which Squids colourful explosions could magically emerge. The umbrella was coined the ‘Squidarella’.
The duo saw a gap in the market for an independent rainwear brand to create fun and practical rainwear with great designs. Market research showed that due to the amount of rainfall not only in Britain but Europe and globally that umbrellas were a necessary product but also make a great gift.
The product development phase was one of the most important phases alongside the market research. The pair were sponsored by an ink company in England and managed to develop a range of different inks to interact with different mediums. Interaction with water was always the route the duo wanted to take but every designer knows you have to explore other avenues too.
After Graduation in July 2008 the duo got to work. January 2009 saw the first soft launch of 100 Squidarellas at Spitalfields Market. Within that week they sold out. The soft launch was to test the market and peoples reaction. So far everyone who saw it, loved it.
The following week it was decided the route for Squid at that stage was museums and art gallery shops. The Squidarella was a walking piece of art, a blank canvas, anything was possible.
Tate Museums was always a favourite haunt for inspiration and knowledge. How amazing would it be to design a bespoke design just for Tate? Super Amazing. Picture this. Crispy February morning, a curly red head and a slim brunette decide they are going to be having a meeting that day with the head buyer at Tate, although the head buyer has no idea about this ‘meeting’. As the duo enter the building and nervously walk up to the reception and politely ask for Helena, to which the receptionist states she has no meetings booked, they assured her that she did. As Helena approached apologising for forgetting, the duo said “not to worry” and launched in with their idea and a whole portfolio of possible designs and of course a Squidarella, just for her. The duo left quite chuffed, she definitely liked the idea. The next day the phone rings – they love it and would like Squid to design an umbrella to go with an art exhibition called ‘The Colour Chart’ arriving from MoMA (Museum of Modern Art NYC) in May. BOOM*. Needless to say it was in the top 10 sellers for over 3 years. Important fact – Squid are still stocked in Tate with other products – seven-year reign so far.
This started a love affair with museums and art galleries. Squid continue to have their range stocked in many museums internationally; MoMA NYC, Kunstmuseum Basel, KunstHalle Berlin and Colette in Paris. Creating bespoke designs is an integral part of Squid. The British Museum is in the process of having its second customised umbrella. Other collaborations include, Nordstrom, Wellcome Collection, Centre Pompidou, Accessorize and Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
2010 saw the first SquidKids prototypes, children’s rain wear. Clothing was always the end goal but investment in clothing stock is very different to accessories. The official launch of SquidKids into Hamleys and subsequently 25 other countries was a huge success. The Squidkids range currently comprises of colour changing jackets, wellington boots, umbrellas and drawstring bags. Being the first children’s colour changing rainwear brand ever! Squid have many fun ideas in the pipeline, watch this space.
Before Squid was launched there were no colour changing with water rainwear brands on the market. Subsequently due to Squids success other brands are jumping on Squid-Boat. However, Squid is proud to be the original innovator of the idea and the original colour changing rainwear brand!!
Squid is currently stocked in 25 countries with over 150 stockists.
Emma-Jayne Parkes and Viviane Jaeger, Creative Directors and Company Owners
*Squid hope this true story speaks volumes about how passionate and go-getting the co-founders and their business ethos is.