Launched in 2016, East London Parasol Company produces fabulous parasols, complemented by a range of matching bases, cushions, napkins and decadent handmade rattan chairs, beautifying outdoor spaces with colour and elegance.
In India, the parasol was considered a symbol of royalty, shading a Maharajah from the hot, tropical sun as he rode proudly in his bejewelled howdah high on an elephant’s back. Thanks to East London Parasol Company the ornamental, traditional parasol is flourishing again.
Patterns range from contemporary chevrons to William Morris prints, ornamented with key tassels or shaped valances. The bases are equally decorative and designed to complement the parasols. The carved wooden bases for the round canopies can serve as small cocktail tables, while the octagonal canopies require sturdier sandstone bases, made by seventh generation stone carvers in Rajasthan, India.
With outdoor entertaining reaching its zenith thanks to the pandemic, 2021 was a successful year for the company. Parasol-shaded setups brightened celebrations, parties and gatherings, transforming reunions into memorable, colourful occasions. Social media is testament to their popularity, with 60 per cent of their Instagram feed comprising photos from happy customers.
Last year, East London Parasol Company began manufacturing in the UK, working with local carpenters in Hampshire who had previously been making stage scenery and needed to diversify in Covid times. The beautifully crafted frames are made from sustainable FSC-certified ash wood and the brass fixtures, pulleys and fittings are bespoke designs.
Each parasol is a labour of love. The handmade elements of the parasols are an essential part of their appeal. Balinese artisans take six months to make the bamboo parasols using traditional methods, and the William Morris pattern is printed using 24 separate screens.
Founder, Lucy Ferguson, strongly believes in giving back, and has partnered with One Tree Planted, a not-for-profit charity with a mission to help global reforestation. The company plants a tree in India and Indonesia for every parasol sold.
2022 is set to be an exciting year with ground-breaking designs inspired by 1970s spirograph patterns, ikat weaving, Slim Aarons and Regency style. Expect to see a kaleidoscope of polka dots, stripes and pastels as the range expands. They have also collaborated with British artist, Harriet Popham, to create a design inspired by willow pattern and chinoiserie.
The ornamental parasol is a royal tradition reimagined for today. ‘My aim was to make something full of joy to put a smile on people’s faces and make them feel fabulous,’ says Lucy. ‘I wanted to inspire people to embrace colour and theatricality. And what is more cheerful and fabulous than a flamboyant sun parasol?’