In Fashion, Lifestyle by Gemma Tomlinson5 Comments

I (like most twenty something females) have quite the soft spot for Malibu. It’s tasty, easy to drink and reminds me of long summers and one particularly Shakira-filled Spanish exchange to Mallorca. The English showed the Spaniards the way of the Malibu & Coke and they in turn introduced us to Malibu con piña. Ah, the life lessons centred around a shared love – we were the same, but different. Even now when the warmer weather rolls around I whip out the pineapple juice and I could be eighteen again, Shakira optional.

This summer Malibu have collaborated with the very talented Sera Ulger, an emerging British designer who is the perfect fit for the brand. Sera is a print enthusiast and her bright, hand-painted designs were picked to adorn a limited edition bottle of Malibu to capture the spirit of summer. If Malibu is sunshine in a bottle then the print Sera designed perfectly reflects that, with a brightly-coloured eye catching feather design. I headed to London to catch up with the designer during her photoshoot as she prepared for the Malibu launch.


The world of fashion really intrigues me especially the design process. I’ve covered LFW many times and whilst the backstage frenetic action really is a sight to behold, it’s very rare to find out about the creative process that occurs before the makeup artists, photoshoots and flashing lights. The idea of lazy summer days spent with friends is such a loose theme to work with, so I was intrigued to find out more about the inspiration behind the collection and also get to know the lady herself. I discovered that the parrot design and feathers were a natural move for Sera who has been painting all kinds of birds her whole life. When the tropical feel behind Malibu was added to the mix the parrot and feather print came about quite naturally as an extension of that. I was definitely more than inquisitive about the creation process which fascinates me, and I learned that it happens mostly mentally for Sera with inspiration sometimes striking at the most unlikely time. Whilst she may be inspired by a series of memories, emotions or an atmosphere, everything always makes it to paper to allow her to lock down an idea, define shapes and grow the collection from there.


We chatted about social media and how it’s not only shaped the fashion world with the public having the ability to instantly critique work (something that Sera admitted can be nerve-wracking when you’ve poured your heart, soul and time into a collection) but also amplified the opportunities than can arise now for emerging designers, this collaboration being a prime example. Having worked with huge brands like Topshop, ASOS and J Crew in the past her prints have been admired within the fashion world but as a consumer slipping a printed top into your ASOS basket it’s not always easy to know the creative force behind them. This time however Sera’s name is front and centre on the bottle, which is something she’s understandably incredibly excited about. Even as she stood in the middle of her photo shoot giving interviews  it was clear it still didn’t feel quite real to her, and she told me she anticipates a huge freakout out the first time she spots her bottles in person in stores.

Design and print is clearly integral to her capsule collection which features the most amazing structured parrot dress (Sera’s personal favourite and worn by her in the photo above) but the limited edition bottle brings design and a creative element into our everyday lives, adding a bit of fashion to an otherwise ordinary scenario. I wondered if, seeing the world through a designer’s eyes, there were any mundane objects she would love to throw a print on (I personally detest radiators!) but perhaps showing the scale of her ambition in life Sera told me rather than a single object she would love to make over an entire town, injecting a bit of colour into everything from shop fronts to road markings. This ambition has already led to amazing things for the London based designer, and something tells me there will be a lot more to come. Kudos to Malibu for supporting emerging talent and I will enjoy following Sera’s career from here. She really is lovely and it was so wonderful to see the passion for design and the creative force behind something when we so often only see the finished product. She is currently working on a full collection, so watch this space.

The limited edition bottle of Malibu launches on April 14th and will be available for six weeks. You can find out more about the collaboration between Malibu and Sera on their Facebook page which has all the info on the design and Sera’s collection of Malibu-themed accessories along with some rather amazing drink recipes. You can read more about Sera here and will likely be hearing more from her very soon.

*This is a sponsored post in conjunction with Malibu but all opinions (and rum and pineapple fuelled Shakira memories) are my own.