a new floral dress print to save our bumblebees


by Camilla Ridley

Chelsea Flower Show is back on again and we've launched a uniquely sustainable new floral print to help save Britain's endangered bumblebees


The beautiful new Bumblebee Story floral print designed by Emma Mawston has been created to raise funds and awareness for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. (Right) The new Celeste maxi dress featuring the beautiful statement floral print. 

Here at Ridley London, we passionately believe that fashion has a big role to play in building a better future for everyone. Design, is not only about helping people to look and feel great about themselves, or giving individuals the confidence to go out there and achieve great things, it’s about working together to try to solve endemic problems, change behaviour and improve outcomes for the wider world. And also about raising awareness and inspiring change on an altogether larger level. 

We’ve teamed up with award winning fabric designer Emma Mawston and the amazing British made accessories label Will Bees Bespoke to create an extraordinary new fabric and a collection of products to help raise awareness and crucial funds for habitat conservation and restoration, bumblebee population monitoring, ongoing education, and the other vital areas of work that The Bumblebee Conservation Trust carry out. 


The very talented Emma Mawston spent time in 24 different gardens around the UK creating hand drawn studies of bumblebee friendly flowers to incorporate into her print. Each flower was then hand inked, cut and assembled ready for colour to be added

over the last 80 years bumblebee populations have rapidly declined In the UK, with two species now extinct, and 8 on the extinction watchlist. Bumblebees (not to be confused with the bees that make honey) are prime pollinators and key components in our natural ecosystem. If this decline continues, the high cost of pollinating plants ourselves could lead to rapidly increasing prices of fruit and vegetables, not to mention an accelerated deterioration in natural habitats and a further increase in the rate of climate change. According to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, the cost of hand pollinating British crops alone has been estimated at £1.8 billion annually. 

Emma's new Iris Print is a celebration of 24 gardens, allotments, balconies, yards and pots full of flowers, promoting planting to help the survival of the British bumblebee. Specific flowers were chosen from each green space by the inspirational gardeners who own them. The design was created with over 50 hand-drawn, hand-cut and hand-painted bumblebee friendly flowers each scanned in individually to create the final digital repeat for bespoke fashion and interior accessories. 


Emma individually hand painted each flower in her London studio and assembled the individually elements together to create the graphic print. 

This floral adventure started off and was inspired by the far South West of the United Kingdom and finishes in the Scottish Highlands. 24 growing spaces in all shapes and sizes were chosen to represent the 24 species of British Bumblebee. Each gardener chose flowers that they either felt represented their garden or they loved the most and are loved by bees. 

The design has been printed on viscose velvet and silk satin using the latest cutting edge sustainable techniques and machinery in a state of the art facility in Italy, where many of the iconic fabrics Emma designed while she was at Liberty were printed.


The new Bumblebee Story fabric was printed in a state of the art facility in Italy using the latest sustainable techniques and technology

The velvet is an interior velvet so is basically heirloom and will last forever. 

The print is being launched at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year and is being worn by some well know Chelsea faces including BBC presenters Arit Anderson and Rachel de Thame as well as the social media gardening superstar Tom Leonard AKA the Drag Queen Gardener. Ridley London are donating a percentage of sales of dresses featuring the bumblebee prints to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Celebrate your individuality and help save our bumblebees with a unique dress, skirt or top that's individually crafted to flatter from the stunning new floral Iris print. Ridley London's new collection of statement summer dresses is available to purchase online and in Ridley's Barnes store. Or call us to arrange a virtual fitting.

Ridley London, 82 Church Road, Barnes, London SW13 0DQ T: 01730 823097

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