Making Magic

by Rachel Ashwell

Ever since my daughter was a little girl, she has had a very specific point of view of what she wanted to wear, including her love of overalls.

 A couple decades later and Lily has her own clothing line, Lily Ashwell,  it’s been quite the journey, as any company is, especially when run by a creative mind.

"I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap for the favor of the kings of the world" - Thomas A. Edison

I know, only too well, that it is a challenge to keep the balance of creativity with a responsibility to a healthy business, while keeping values and the mission of a brand.  For Lily, that is to design a collection of modern, wearable staples, inspired by delicate vintage pieces, and always made in the USA.

A few weeks ago, Lily had a photo shoot for her Spring/Summer 2016 Collection and the launch of her Bridal/Custom Collection.  She had a lot to shoot in a small amount of time, so creating a timeline of shooting was step number one.

She found a location to shoot - Industrial, clean with magical light.  From time to time I mentor her behind the scenes, where I am able.  Although I don't have all the answers, I am able to share the ups and downs of my Shabby Chic journey.  Some of which applies to her and today’s world, and some, not so much.

In this instance, I helped with some logistics (packing her truck) and some styling.  At 6am, her U-Haul rolled into my driveway and we loaded her collection, along with some props and flowers.  My years of flea market loading and packing trucks came in handy here… I can be quite nifty with the bungee cords.

I have used my vintage floral hats a million times over in my world of styling and even though her vibe is more modern and edgy than mine, her Bridal/Custom Collection is simple and beautiful and for some shots Lily thought it would be fun to use a couple of hats to add some whimsy.  I have so enjoyed watching Lily evolve and perfect her craft as a designer and business owner. She has her own beautiful sense of style, and while influenced by growing up in the world of Shabby Chic, she has a very specific vision of which now inspires me.  For this shoot, she asked me to make some floral bouquets.  I knew she wouldn't want anything formal, so I gathered my ribbons and went to the flower market where I decided upon mainly, baby's breath, yellow roses, and dahlias.

It was a truly magical day for me, watching Lily and her little team focused, executing her story and respecting the budget of time she had set for herself, without compromising her vision… 

 Her collection can be found in her little store in Venice or at lilyashwell.com


5 comments


  • How great to see the Ashwell creativity take new form in the work of Lily. Congratulations to both of you!

    Elizabeth Newton on

  • Lily, I love your clothing collection. It’s about time someone made something that is comfortable, with such beautiful colors, feminine and with ageless appeal. I will be ordering when items are back in stock. You have really matched the style your mother has made such a success with. I live in California so these clothes will work all year, Best wishes, Sharon Fox Haller

    Sharon on

  • I love Lily’s style and her aesthetics. Beautiful work. Thank you for keeping your integrity and keeping the beauty of modern vintage flourishing.

    Elaine Cubbins on

  • I love Lily Ashwell’s clothing line . It reminds me of the Laura Ashley clothing line from years ago. I love the fact that according to the article , her clothing is made in the U.S.A. . She has my utmost respect and for giving back. Thanks!

    Theresa Alcamo on

  • I applaud Lily as a woman entrepreneur to follow her passion. I was, however, disappointed to see her bridal collection was the exact copy of my nightgowns from the 1970’s.

    Colleen Martin on

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