The thing about the changing seasons is it does awaken the desire for a little light shopping. We do it for our wardrobes – a new jumper here, a pair of boots there and, for me at least the desire to change the furniture a little is just as strong. This is the time when I swap cushion covers, change the throws or perhaps add a little something new into the mix and today I want to talk to you about the new Anyday Range from John Lewis, created earlier this year in response to customer demand for just such a thing, but with an element of sustainability woven through the collection.
John Lewis opened in 1864 as a draper’s shop and has grown to be one of the most recognisable brands in the UK today seeing off many other department stores along the way. This is, in part, due to its ability to adapt to changing market forces. While many of the others have simply closed their doors, John Lewis really has managed to please most of the people most of the time.
Its core range remains one that is friendly to traditional tastes – that won’t frighten the neighbours – and you can rely on it for many classic staples, in the same way we all used to rely on Woolworths for affordable basics and things like string and lightbulbs – where do we buy those now) John Lewis will always offer you a classic cushion, a traditional side table and well-priced – and installed appliances.
But there’s no getting round the fact that the home department is huge and it takes a lot of time to sift through everything to see what you might fancy. Especially if you don’t really know exactly what you’re looking for – always the curse of the online shop. So we come to Anyday – the store’s new in-house range which launched to great fanfare last April and has now expanded to include fashion and children.
It’s billed as affordable but also fun and, crucially, full of “easy, top up” pieces that will work throughout your home throughout the year. They sent over the rug, lamp and chair from the new collection for me to photograph at home (it’s all gone back now as it was just a press loan) and I would go along with this idea. The chair was in the library for a few days (mostly while I was summoning the strength to carry it up four flights of stairs) where it looked right at home. The floor lamp hung out in the kitchen where the golden yellow lamp properly brought the sunshine in and the rug – well if it had been bigger I might well have refused to send it back.
The range was a huge success when it launched in the Spring and there are nearly 700 new products to choose from. In addition, at the end of last month 120 Waitrose stores also started stocking some 300 pieces so, in the same way that you can with other supermarkets, you can now pick up homewares along with groceries.
But for me to want to share it with you there had to be a little more to it than that.
So first of all, take a look at this sofa, which is perfect for small space living but also comes with that storage space underneath (not yet online at the time of writing). This would work well in a student house – which was one of the reasons John Lewis first approached me as the 20yo is now in his final year and furnishing his student room. This space under the seating area could just be a place to shove spare stuff (students) but also used to arrange books, or keep spare cushions or even a box of work stuff once the working day is over and we’ve all had to find adaptable ways to WFH over the last couple of years.
In addition to the clever designs for what John Lewis calls the new “hybrid” way of living, we need to mention the sustainability. This from the company: “All cotton is backed by the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). By buying cotton products from John Lewis & Partners, you’re supporting more sustainable cotton farming through this initiative.
“BCI is a not-for-profit organisation which exists to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in, and better for the sector’s future. BCI works with partners around the world such as WWF, Solidaridad and Cotton Connect to train farmers to produce cotton more sustainably. In our fashion collection where possible polyester is 100% recycled and the Viscose is Ecoveraro, the most sustainable form of the material.”
The other point is that we must all take the time to ask if we are going to keep any new things for a decent length of time. When buying clothes, the guide is that you must be able to make at least three different outfits with any new thing you buy. And, I have read, be sure that you will wear it at least 30 times.
You can apply similar principles to homewares – will it work in different rooms? Will it work for teens who might take it away with them? Might you want to use it seasonally? Does it fit perfectly with your personal style? It’s about shopping in a more mindful way basically and asking yourself for a few home truths (as it were) before you add to basket.
Personally I could definitely have found a home for that chair and styling that lamp in my bedroom has turned my relationship with yellow from a light flirtation into a first date with a strong chance of a second. I have created a Pinterest board of some of my favourite pieces and how to style them and you can browse the full collection here.